Cyclists gear up for 2022 RAGBRAI
ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Cyclists all across the region are gearing up for the 49th RAGBRAI in Iowa. This year 17,000 participants are expected for the world’s oldest, largest and longest multi-day bicycle touring event.
With the ride only days away, many Rochester bike shops have been busy helping cyclists get their bikes ready to travel long distances.
“If your tires are old, wearing down, they’re unlikely to last the length of RAGBRAI,” Rochester Cycling Owner Matt Hawkins said.
Cyclists say being aware of your surroundings is a good way to stay safe on the road.
“Keeping your head up and paying attention is probably the number one thing,” Hawkins said.
In Rochester, dozens of cyclists travel down to Iowa for the ride every year riding in buses with their RAGBRAI teams.
With distances ranging between 40 to 100 miles a day, some have spent the past few weeks getting prepared.
“We go for rides. Probably 30 miles at a time. Douglas is perfect. It’s a nice flat, fun ride,” five-time RAGBRAI cyclist and Rochester’s Jackhammer RAGBRAI team member Michael Bee said.
Another crucial member of any RAGBRAI team is their support members who feed, drive and look after the team.
“They sit on the bus for an hour, sometimes two hours, take a nap, sometimes they’re there for ten minutes and then they’re on their way. They all ride at their own pace,” Rochester’s Return of the Robin RABGRAI team’s head support Jamie Arthur said.
Anything could happen along the path, so it’s important that cyclists get prepared for anything.
“I didn’t get a tune-up this year, but we’ve got plenty of bike geeks on the bus, so we’ll be okay,” Bee said.
There is even a bike maintenance crew who participates in the ride in case something happens to one of the cyclist’s bikes.
“Sometimes it’s hot, and there’s a big line, but it’s a really nice thing to have. You feel like you’re in good hands the whole way,” Bee said.
“Just about every part on a bike is required to maintain those shops,” Hawkins said.
Although days can get long, the excitement the RAGBRAI community creates keeps its cyclists going.
“When you get down there, you get really excited and you wonder what’s around the next corner, so it keeps you going,” Bee said.
“It’s like going to Vegas. What happens in RAGBRAI stays in RAGBRAI,” Arthur said.
And don’t be mistaken, RAGBRAI is not a competition.
“It’s not a race. It’s a ride. If you got first, you lost,” Bee said.
Team Jackhammer and team Return of the Robin will both be taking off Saturday morning to Iowa. The actual ride kicks off on Sunday at Sergeant Bluff where cyclists will travel more than fifty miles to Ida Grove.
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