Heather Rutledge, a Cedar Rapids cyclist, is lucky to be participating in RAGBRAI this year. On St. Patrick’s Day, she was the victim of a hit and run while biking home from the festivities in town.
“A driver came into my lane and ran into me,” Heather said. Fortunately, Heather’s injuries were not life threatening. She tore some small ligaments in her knee and spent nearly two weeks on crutches. The tears in her knee healed without surgery, but Heather lost over a month of valuable RAGBRAI practice time.
Heather said she had to ease back into the practice routine. “I wrapped my knee and purchased a brace to help stabilize the knee,” Heather said, “and made sure my bike ride was short so I did not end up hurting the knee even more.” The first time she rode her bike after the accident, her knee was sore. However, she slowly worked her way to recovery, and feels grateful to participate in her third year on RAGBRAI.
Heather rides with Team WASP, which is based in Cedar Rapids. She is excited that Cedar Rapids has the chance to showcase its variety of local businesses during the overnight stop and morning festivities. “Many businesses have struggled to come back since the flood, and many have taken the chance of opening businesses in areas that were previously flooded,” Heather said. “This is a great opportunity to show how our community has come back and is thriving.”
The RAGBRAI overnight stop is also a chance to showcase the caring nature of Cedar Rapidians. “RAGBRAI is a great opportunity for cyclists to show that we are respectful riders and proud of our community, and also the perfect time for non-cyclists to show their respect and support for not only a healthy and fun activity, but also the Iowa tradition that RAGBRAI is,” said Heather.
Heather asks novice RAGBRAI riders to remember the following basic safety rules: “Wear a helmet, make sure your bike has enough lights, and make sure you’re always calling out proper road signals and instructions not only for your safety, but those riding around you.”