What you need to do before taking your bike out for RAGBRAI

Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 4:49 PM CDT
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - In just 46 days, the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa returns to its roots.

The 50th edition of the cross-state ride starts in Sioux City on July 23. Back in 1973, riders pedaled out of Sioux City on the very first RAGBRAI ride. This is the eighth time Sioux City will host the ride.

For some riders, they’ll have to dust off their bicycles for the ride. The experts at one local bike shop say it’s important to make sure your bike is ready to go.

Before you hit the road for RAGBRAI, technicians at Albrecht Cycle Shop, in Sioux City, say it’s important to make sure your tires are pumped full of air. If your bike spent the winter in your shed or garage those tires are probably a little low. Also, make sure the parts of your bike that could move around, like handlebars and pedals, are straight and tight. Make sure your brakes are tight too and test the gears to make sure they cycle through smoothly.

“If you have mechanical knowledge, you certainly can work on it yourself,” said Ian Adams, Service Manager at Albrecht Cycle Shop. “But you can always bring it into a shop too, and they generally will be a little quicker and do it pretty well too.”

Right now, Adams said each technician at Albrecht is handling 10 to 20 repairs a day. The wait time is close to two weeks to service a bike. They expect they’ll be even busier as they get closer to RAGBRAI. Even out-of-state cyclists need help. It’s not uncommon for them to ship bikes to local shops before the big ride.

“Yesterday we took 4 calls and there were 5 calls the day before of people making appointments to have their bikes shipped here from, I mean, I’ve got Washington, Alaska,” said Adams. “I don’t think we have anybody from out of the country, yet, but we had a couple last year too.”

Along with making sure your bike is ready to go, Adams said you also should make sure your body is ready for the long ride.

“Having a good meal beforehand will definitely help,” said Adams. “Having snacks during, because you know you’re going through a lot of carbs, you’re burning a lot of carbs. And then, just have plenty of water and staying hydrated will make all the difference for sure.”

Riders pedal out of Sioux City on July 23 on day one of RAGBRAI. After dipping their tires in the Missouri River in Sioux City, the bicyclists will pedal through Kingsley, Washta and Quimby before making it to their first overnight stop in Storm Lake. On day two of the journey, the riders will pass through Early, Lake View, and Breda before rolling into Carroll. The 7-day ride will finish at the Mississippi River in Davenport on July 29.