Cycling Pharmacists Using Pedal Power in Upcoming Ride


Pharmacists will provide first aid and over-the-counter treatments along the RAGBRAI route, which stretches more than 400 miles across Iowa.

When thousands of bike riders pedal a route across Iowa for the 46th annual RAGBRAI cycling event, a team of pharmacists will be among them. Wearing custom, white coat cycling jerseys, the 20 members of the Iowa Pharmacy Association (IPA) Foundation’s RAGBRAI team plan to assist other participants and promote their profession as they ride.

Founded in 1973 by the Des Moines Register newspaper, RAGBRAI (the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) is intended to be a celebration of Iowa. The ride annually averages about 468 miles, beginning at the state’s western border and ending on its eastern border. The route changes each year, and is designed to take 6 days to complete.

RAGBRAI participant and Editor in Chief of Pharmacy Times, Troy Trygstad, PharmD, MBA, PhD, said RAGBRAI is not a typical bike ride. “It’s tens of thousands of folks of every shape, size, and proportion riding all the way across Iowa, from the Missouri River to the Mississippi River,” he said. “It has about 20,000 to 30,000 folks on any given day, and it’s a bike ride that helps highlight rural America.”

The ride provides opportunities for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy students to truly demonstrate their talents to the public. For the fifth year, the IPA foundation’s team will provide first aid and over-the-counter (OTC) treatments along the route.

The foundation team members are typically outfitted with individual fanny packs containing OTC items, such as sunscreen and pain relievers. These riders will be accompanied by 2 bicycle-drawn buggies full of pharmacy supplies that can be distributed along the way. Members anticipate tending to common cyclist discomforts, such as scrapes, sunburn, sore muscles, and skin chaffing.

“This is a unique opportunity to tangibly showcase the medical expertise of pharmacists in delivering care beyond dispensing medications,” said Anthony Pudlo, PharmD, MBA, vice president of professional affairs for the IPA, in a press release. “As health care continues to evolve, it is important that Iowan’s understand the resources, and expertise that is readily accessible to them at their pharmacy.”

Trygstad, a member of the IPA cycling team, said RAGBRAI riders know pharmacists are among them, and that they can turn to the foundation team for assistance. “They’re known as the people that will help you with OTC products, and any advice along the way,” he said.

RAGBRAI’s itinerary features overnight stops where riders can relax, and enjoy community festivities with fellow participants from all 50 states, as well as foreign countries. This year’s route will take riders to 8 host communities, where pharmacists are planning to meet more of their professional peers.

“Community and hospital pharmacies across Iowa are doing great things for their patients, and we are excited to see it first hand,” said Pudlo, in a statement.

Editor in Chief @TroyTrygstad is getting excited for the upcoming @RAGBRAI_IOWA ride! In this clip, he explains how he'll be riding with @IowaPharmacyIPA and stopping at some great pharmacies and hospitals along the way! #RollinRX #PTRidesRAGBRAI

— Pharmacy Times (@Pharmacy_Times) July 20, 2018

Check out RABRAI by the numbers!

Also, check out our Twitter page to view Troy's interview with fellow pharmacist and RAGBRAI participant, Ben Urick, as they discuss some highlights of RAGBRAI.

Editor in Chief @TroyTrygstad discusses the best parts of the upcoming @RAGBRAI_IOWA ride with fellow rider and pharmacist Ben Urick #RollinRX #PTRidesRAGBRAI

— Pharmacy Times (@Pharmacy_Times) July 19, 2018


Iowa pharmacists ride RAGBRAI to provide care, promote profession [news release]. July 22, 2016: Des Moines, IA; Iowa Pharmacists Association website. Accessed July 12, 2018.

About RAGBRAI. RAGBRAI website. Accessed July 12, 2018.

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