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Staying connected

Here in the midwest we are a long way from peak, so I'm assuming even my modest plans for a long weekend in Chicago are shelved, and the "world's largest independent bike ride" Registers Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa scheduled for July, has just been canceled. I just realized today that Wednesday is administrative professional day. She and I are still working a few staggered half days. Looks like last year I gave her a couple of jumbo candy bars (we are simple people) I could mask up and find something at our little grocery store 😬 but I've decided I'm just going to wrap up a brownie mix from my pantry and let her enjoy later.

Long preamble. I see reports of work

groups doing virtual happy hours, etc. Those of you who AREN'T
retired... how are you maintaining
contacts with coworkers??

Posted by
8832 posts

Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa scheduled for July, has just been canceled.

If maintaining the 6 ft distance guideline cannot be done riding a bike across Iowa, we are in worse trouble than anyone has imagined!

Posted by
6005 posts

My Company is currently Google based, so for our team, we do daily "Hangout" meetings just to chat, and have started sharing funny videos and such. For person to person we use Google Chat. But a few of us are trying to work out having beers together.

For what it is worth, not sure if the working from home thing is as productive, too many distractions for me, to many things around the house I should do. At least when I went to work, I was focused on one thing, and even before all this, nearly all of my job I could do remotely, except stuff I had to do at Suppliers (though now that is not happening as much)

Posted by
1277 posts

Indeed Joe. It's the pie stands run by church ladies and evening beer gardens run by Jaycees that are the potential problems. RAGBRAI Is a huge money maker for towns on the selected path as there are lots if folks who make it a part of their summer vacation. I'm a little freaked that they are canceling July events already.

Posted by
5696 posts

Two posts prior was a post from the Administrator requesting that all future posts be travel related. Sorry, but this isn’t travel related.

Posted by
6005 posts

If maintaining the 6 ft distance guideline cannot be done riding a bike across Iowa, we are in worse trouble than anyone has imagined!

Surprisingly, most of the ride is in closer proximity than you would think, 10,000 riders or so (They have to cap the number, demand exceeds the safe limit), 50 to 100 miles per day, then the parties at night probably exchange more viruses than is recommended by local health authorities.

Posted by
8832 posts

Two posts prior was a post from the Administrator requesting that all future posts be travel related. Sorry, but this isn’t travel related.

I disagree.

Noting that a State wide Biking event has been cancelled is travel news. It alerts those who may have wanted to participate or observe, that the event is cancelled.

Posted by
222 posts

@Jennifer,

Au contraire, you need to cut some slack to these cyclists. In addition to the Giro, Tour de France and Vuelta, the local ride has been abandoned. Gut wrenching stuff. First time I have heard of this annual get together. I may even consider the Iowa ride for next year.

Jennifer your observations are technically correct, but a little latitude to allow for local humour in these unique circumstances maybe in order. Surely humour is an essential element of travel?

I enjoy your posts.
Regards Ron

Posted by
1277 posts

Ron, come on up, as Paul has established, you will truly have the chance to live as a temporary local.

This is also a reflection on how even small Town pie bakers are impacted by loss of tourism dollars

Posted by
1277 posts

J M, welcome. My neice and her family live in Johnson county, so I have been white knuckling the steady climb there.

How many days does it take the average cyclist to complete this ride? Do the cyclists prebook rooms at the hotels/motels in the towns they cycle through? Sounds like this event takes some training and planning.

Posted by
1277 posts

Hey, Sun. Its eight days, Sunday to Sunday, and like paul says there are shorter days and 100 mile days. Hotel space books fast, others do tents, campers, or call up the sister of that old college roommate. Slightly different path each year to spread out the burden and benefit. It was founded by two writers for the DSM Register in my childhood

Posted by
5648 posts

Coworker connections, per my husband, employee of the essential US Postal Service, is business mostly as usual. Some people are not wearing masks, or keeping their 6-foot distance very well. And little by little, some are testing positive, so are subsequently staying home. As for travel, everyone’s been issued a letter by the postal headquarters V.P. explaining that they are going to/from an essential job, and/or traveling in conjunction with official duties, in case the local constabulary stops them during sheltering or stay-at-home orders. Lots more e-mailing going on in administrative offices to communicate, but mail sorting clerks and letter carriers are having to deal with unavoidable close quarters. Stressful times.

Posted by
1277 posts

Cyn, God bless yr husband and his co workers. My local post mistress reports an uptick in first class mail, I know I'm mailing more because no one is coming by my office rt now. I'm surprised how much stuff I'm selling and therefore shipping from my Ebay store

Posted by
5648 posts

As for RAGBRAI, we did that epic ride in 2011, a very southerly route, which i understand was the hilliest of all time. Iowa is by no means a flat-as-a-pancake state, although you will pass mile after mile of cornfields. As mentioned, the exact route changes each year, so every corner of Iowa gets the spotlight every so often, but it’s always done from west to east. The wind is, theoretically, always at your back. Don’t forget your rain gear, although you won’t get as wet as if you were in Ireland.

As mentioned earlier, 2 reporters from the Des Moines Register back in the ‘70’s planned to spend their vacation pedaling across the state on kind-of a whim, and invited any readers to join them. A handful did, that first year. It became an enormous event, and although riders are supposed to be registered, I understand that poachers join the route some days, especially close to bigger towns. Stay on the right side of the road; people have wedged skinny bike tires in the small gap along the center of some roads, at speed, with tragic consequences. Roads are generally blocked for the route each day, to minimize traffic conflicts. People are supposed to give each other space, but cluster pelotons develop. Riders are supposed to obey all road rules, stop signs, railroad crossings, etc. but that doesn’t necessarily always happen.

The most memorable experience (sorry, I don’t recall the town, so shame on me), was arriving in one town, with Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts lined up for several blocks, high-fiving riders as they entered town, making their way to local food stands for lunch. Pork sandwiches, pie of every kind, corn that was just picked that morning, like nowhere else!

Just as Rick Steves tours make travel easier for many, we signed on with Pork Belly Ventures. They streamline the registration process, provide a campsite for each night (rent their tents, which they set up and take down, or set up and sleep in your own), they shuttle your clothes and camping gear to the next town, arrange for post-ride massages each day - a lifesaver - have beer and entertainment , and made RAGBRAI the best experience possible. They will also bus you back to your starting point at the end, or will bus you to the starting point at the beginning, if you came from the east. So, travel tip for RAGBRAI: go with Pork Belly Ventures. They also offer sag wagon services if you don’t ride every mile, but they can’t do your pedaling for you, so do some training, and get your posterior ready for the ride!

Posted by
7692 posts

As for staying connected with co-workers: we are working remotely, so emailing back and forth.

I am grateful my boss is not haranguing us with video calls — we do one a week with the leadership team. I think he is in several a week.

Then a few texts/WhatsApps « behind » the scenes to get across a quick question or more timely information.

I did go into the office two days last week and saw a few people — it was heavenly!!!

Posted by
13673 posts

Doric, as the cancellation of RAGBRAI is indeed travel related, what about editing that into the headline for this post?

Side note: I was born and raised in Iowa, not all that far from Iowa City/Johnson County. RAGBRAI has been an annual big dang deal for a long time now! I've not ridden that one but have done some 2-day 150's for charity and understand the inability to acceptably distance on these sorts of large-group rides.

Posted by
5630 posts

For 15 years, I was a very avid cyclist, biking about 5000 miles a years. I have done the Bike Ride Across Georgia 8 times as well as similar rides in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.

None of these rides every included 10,000 cyclists, but we usually had at least 1,000. Hard to believe, but in my opinion, it would be impossible to maintain 6ft separation from other cyclists. Sad that the great Iowa ride was cancelled, but I can clearly see why. There's always next year.

Posted by
6509 posts

I'm a little freaked that they are canceling July events already.

This is not at all unusual. Many countries are canceling annual events even through the Autumn, and the US has canceled some large events during the early Summer. The issue is that even though individual countries and some US states may start incrementally opening their economies by allowing some businesses to reopen, large public gatherings of any kind will most likely still not be allowed until the virus is totally under control, including mass testing to get a real handle on whether it is or not - and that's not likely to happen until at least the end of Summer, if not closer to the end of the year. I hope I'm being pessimistic but I have a feeling I'm not.