Luis Rodriguez started his very first RAGBRAI with a flat tire.
Rodriguez was one of numerous cyclists whose bike tires were claimed by the railroad tracks on the way out of Leeds, RAGBRAI’s first town stop, Sunday morning.
In the town just six or so miles after the traditional tire dip in Sioux City, cyclists felt a thud and looked down to see a flat tire after riding over two sets of railroad tracks.
Rodriguez, of Sioux City, and friend John Greuniesen, of Onawa, were joined by dozens of other bikers who set up a mini bike repair area under the trees just after the railroad tracks.
But, like many of the riders, they were prepared with tools and positive attitudes.
“We’re bikers,” Greuniesen said. “So we know to being repair stuff with us.”
Tom Nelson was also slowed up by the tracks, but by only about 10 minutes. He knows to carry levers and a spare tube.
Other bikers were lucky enough to get help from a man who lives right by the tracks.
Deric Allen saw bikers getting tripped up by the tracks, and offered to run air for them to pump their tires.
“I’ve been doing this all morning,” Allen said. “It’s actually been kind of fun.”
Some bikers who didn’t have repair materials walked their bikes back to the main area of Leeds, where some were grabbing breakfast or playing life size Jenga.
The cyclists fortunate enough to bypass a flat tire still didn’t get past without an “oww,” “Man that was a big bump,” or “Oh my gosh, my arms.”
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