Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => Routes => Topic started by: circlespinner on October 10, 2021, 10:53:21 pm

 
Title: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: circlespinner on October 10, 2021, 10:53:21 pm
I'm looking at the Northern Tier #4 section in Bicycle Router Navigator (just downloaded) and was surprised to see a 13 mile section on i94 between New Salem and Glen Ullin in North Dakota  The NT route uses i94 to avoid a dirt/gravel section on County Rd 139 and rejoins 139 after it returns to pavement.  One question and one suggestion. 

1) Anyone out there ridden on County Rd 139 to bypass this section of i94 and have thoughts on its rideability with a touring bike?

2) It would be nice if the ACA maps offered dirt/gravel road alternatives to interstate highways whenever possible.  High vehicle speeds and on/off ramps make these inherently dangerous roads for cyclists worth the inconvenience of a little dust between your teeth.

Thanks
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: John Nettles on October 11, 2021, 12:11:16 am
I have not ridden that section but I would say the traffic is really not that bad.  The ND DOT shows the traffic count as 6000 AADT (vehicles per day).  That is ~3000 in each direction.  Add a dual lane and full shoulder and that really is not that bad when you consider it is based on a more 24-hour basis versus the usual traffic 18-hour of non interstate roads.  I personally would not worry about the traffic.

That said, ND gravel county roads are usually pretty good.  If you are determined to avoid the interstate, CR-139 should be doable. 

As an FYI, you will have more interstate in western ND where the traffic is even less, i.e. under 4000 AADT.  Definitely rideable. 

Tailwinds, John
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: staehpj1 on October 11, 2021, 06:24:55 am
It is a judgement call when/where to use the Interstate vs some particular alternative.  I'd be inclined to choose based on how far out of the way any alternative may go and what the condition of that alternate route may be.

I have not generally found the places where AC uses the interstate to be particularly dangerous.  None of the places I have been where they used I designated roads had especially high traffic counts and the shoulders were always nice and wide.  I would actually be inclined to use the interstate a little more often than the ACA does myself.

I wonder if there could possibly be a legal issue caused by listing an alternate.  I have read that in many western states the law says that it is okay to ride the interstate when there isn't an alternate route.  Listing one might be used later as a disqualifier in court.
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: circlespinner on October 11, 2021, 09:28:06 am
Thanks for the responses John and Staehpj1.

Good to know the traffic on i94 in that area is so light.  Checking the DOT is a good step for any future concerns I have.

Also, I did eventually find details on the alternate gravel route in the Bicycle Route Navigator included in the "Riding Conditions" text for the map section.  I'll now know to look there with other map sections.

Keep Pedaling...
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: staehpj1 on October 11, 2021, 10:07:21 am
Good luck on your trip and I hope you find the best route for your preferences.
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: John Nettles on October 11, 2021, 11:15:21 am
I have read that in many western states the law says that it is okay to ride the interstate when there isn't an alternate route.  Listing one might be used later as a disqualifier in court.
Many moons ago I used to know the actual law code in a few states.  As you imply is that the law always said something to the effect of "unless there is a reasonable alternative route available." 

The legal kicker is what is "reasonable"?  To a person on a mountain bike, a washboard gravel road might be a reasonable route but to a person on a carbon fiber bike with 20mm sewups, it would not.  What if the alternative is 10 miles extra.  That may easily mean an extra hour of riding.  Is that "reasonable"?  Would transportation officials require a 1 hour detour for cars unless it was absolutely required?  What if the alternative was actually worse, i.e. fewer cars but still heavy traffic but no shoulder?  Luckily, I have never been told to get off the interstate by law enforcement the couple of dozen I have ridden them.


To me, if there is a paved service road next to it (that doesn't dead end), I would think that is reasonable and usually preferred. 
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: staehpj1 on October 11, 2021, 11:27:46 am
I have read that in many western states the law says that it is okay to ride the interstate when there isn't an alternate route.  Listing one might be used later as a disqualifier in court.
Many moons ago I used to know the actual law code in a few states.  As you imply is that the law always said something to the effect of "unless there is a reasonable alternative route available." 

The legal kicker is what is "reasonable"?  To a person on a mountain bike, a washboard gravel road might be a reasonable route but to a person on a carbon fiber bike with 20mm sewups, it would not.  What if the alternative is 10 miles extra.  That may easily mean an extra hour of riding.  Is that "reasonable"?  Would transportation officials require a 1 hour detour for cars unless it was absolutely required?  What if the alternative was actually worse, i.e. fewer cars but still heavy traffic but no shoulder?  Luckily, I have never been told to get off the interstate by law enforcement the couple of dozen I have ridden them.


To me, if there is a paved service road next to it (that doesn't dead end), I would think that is reasonable and usually preferred.
I have ridden some interstate that had an alternate that most would consider reasonable just for directness and better grading over a pass or hilly terrain.  Cops drove by and never batted an eye.

Once we crossed from a state that it was legal into one where it wasn't and a cop pulled us over.  He said he got a complaint or he wouldn't have bothered us.  We asked him what a good alternate route would be.  He said there really wasn't one and to just keep going.  He gave us his name and said to tell any other troopers he said it was okay.  We looked at the map and there was a great road that was perfect running parallel to the interstate so we took it.
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: jamawani on October 11, 2021, 03:26:18 pm
FYI -

Interstate riding is generally legal in the West and illegal in the East.
East is everything east of the Mississippi plus the 5 states just west - MN, IA, MO, AR & LA.
There are a few bridges in the East - like I-495 in MD/DC/VA - that have bike lanes or permit bikes.
But, in almost all cases, bikes are not allowed on controlled-access highways in the east.

The history of the construction of the Interstate Highway System differs east and west.
In the East, there is almost always the parallel "old highway" - not so in the West.
Because of difficult terrain or cost savings, the Interstate was built on top of the old highway.
Usually a parallel 2 lane segment with shoulders - then upgrading the old route to interstate standards.
So, there is no nearby paved highway. Or the old highway was allowed to deteriorate to rubble.
(Route 66 / I-40 in most of northeast Arizona, Old US 10 / I-94 in eastern Montana)

In the West, bikes are allowed in all states except Kansas & Nebraska.
And there are plenty of paved, adjacent roads in both of those states.
In states where interstate riding is allowed, bike are prohibited on most urban/suburban interstates.
But there are lots of paved alternates - and who wants to ride on urban interstates anyhow?

The iffy western states are California and Colorado.

In Colorado you can ride some rural interstates -
I-76 east of the Denver metro
I-25 south of Pueblo and short segments between Front Range cities (why?)
I-70 in eastern Colo. and west of Glenwood Spgs.
You cannot ride I-70 between Denver and Glenwood Spgs.
There are bike trails generally paralleling I-70, but you have to go over Loveland Pass on US 6.

California is another story - The default law is that cycling on freeways is prohibited.
That certainly makes sense in L.A. and San Francisco. But not for miles of rural interstate.
Also, California - like most western states - built rural Interstates on top of the old roads.
Almost 1000 miles of rural interstate have been designated for bicycle use, but - - -
many local police and state patrol personnel are not aware of that distinction.
Bikes are allowed on some - not all -  of the Bay Area bridges.


https://dtdapps.coloradodot.info/bike
https://www.cabobike.org/touring/freeway.htm
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: ray b on October 11, 2021, 10:49:24 pm
Well summarized.

In general, interstates offer good pavement in exchange for wind, sun, poor quality air, and an opportunity for conflict at every on- and off-ramp.

That said, out west, they are at times, the only option for pavement, and in many cases are far preferable to busy, tourist-ridden, shoulder-less, two-lane routes that now seem to be the rule in places like central Colorado and NW Montana.

And to keep the thread on track, still waiting to hear from someone who's recently done Morton County Road 139 west of Salem..., though of course, it only takes a few weeks or a few big fast trucks to change the nature of a gravel road.

(Looking at the map, I agree with those who recommend trying it out. Looks like there is ample opportunity to bail to the highway if needed.)
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: adventurepdx on October 12, 2021, 03:18:15 pm
My guess is that ACA would not route onto a freeway unless it was legal to do so.

As Jamawani points out, in the majority of Western states it is legal to ride a freeway outside of metro areas. Here in Oregon bikes are banned from Interstates in the Portland Metro (I-5/I-405/I-205/I-84) and a section of I-5 in Medford is also off limits to bikes. (Interestingly enough, you can ride on the freeway section of US 26 west of the Jefferson St exchange, and that's pretty urban. OR-217 is also open to bikes and that's all urban.)

I'd rather ride a gravel road that parallels an interstate as long as the gravel road isn't horrible. I'm guessing that ACA still weights towards interstate shoulder over gravel because touring bike tires used to be fairly narrow. Nowadays many people tour with wider tires that can handle gravel/unpaved OK, but ACA may still think in that old paradigm.
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: staehpj1 on October 12, 2021, 05:14:33 pm
My guess is that ACA would not route onto a freeway unless it was legal to do so.
I think we all can agree to that.  I mentioned legality only to surmise that just maybe mentioning an alternate route just might be used by someone to undermine the legality of riding on interstates.  I may have been looking for a problem where none exists, but I know that there is a lot of anti cycling sentiment among some of the state legislators out west.

Quote
I'd rather ride a gravel road that parallels an interstate as long as the gravel road isn't horrible. I'm guessing that ACA still weights towards interstate shoulder over gravel because touring bike tires used to be fairly narrow. Nowadays many people tour with wider tires that can handle gravel/unpaved OK, but ACA may still think in that old paradigm.
That trend toward wide tires isn't universal, some folks are touring with ultralight gear on road bikes with skinny tires or touring bikes with not so wide tires.  I might choose different tires depending on the tour, but I have fairly recently gone coast to coast camping and cooking with 25mm tires (actually started out wth 23mm until they wore out).  The guy I rode with was on similar tires.  Neither of us regretted our choice.  I didn't pay too much attention, but I think most of the people we met were running the old standatd 32mm tires.

I have run fat tires when I planned a mixed surface tour.  They were great for that type of trip.

The thing is that when they map a road route the probably should make an effort to stay on paved roads unless it is billed as a gravel tour, maybe with gravel options.  At least that is how I see it.

All of that is based on my experienceunsupported and with various camping styles, but you also have people moteling it or van supported so they may be carrying little to nothing and want to ride performance road bikes.
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: zzzz on October 12, 2021, 08:40:20 pm
Not to be a scold and it’s not an interstate per se, but Ca 58 as your nearing Tehachapi is part of the Sierra Cascades route and it is a major 4 lane highway at that point with as much traffic as any interstate. And as soon as you get on it there’s a big sign “No Bicycles on Highway”. Your only on it for 5-6 miles and I was passed by a police car during that time who apparently felt he had better things to do then hassle a cyclist. I only bring it up as the ACA maps are not always a guarantee that it’s legal to ride every mile of the route.

And speaking of interstates and the Sierra route, most of the little stretches of Interstate I’ve been on have been fine, however I-84 between Cascade Locks and Hood River Oregon was pure misery.
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: adventurepdx on October 12, 2021, 08:44:39 pm
That trend toward wide tires isn't universal, some folks are touring with ultralight gear on road bikes with skinny tires or touring bikes with not so wide tires.  I might choose different tires depending on the tour, but I have fairly recently gone coast to coast camping and cooking with 25mm tires (actually started out wth 23mm until they wore out).  The guy I rode with was on similar tires.  Neither of us regretted our choice.  I didn't pay too much attention, but I think most of the people we met were running the old standatd 32mm tires.

I wonder if it's a generational thing. Folks my age or younger seem to be into bikepacking with wide tires. Sure, there's a few people who might tour on a road bike, but it's rare. Then again, most people bikepacking are going to stick with bikepacking routes, so it doesn't matter that much to them that ACA routes are 99% pavement. For me, I like to do a mix of gravel and paved, so I'll use things like ACA routes where I can.
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: adventurepdx on October 12, 2021, 08:48:50 pm
Not to be a scold and it’s not an interstate per se, but Ca 58 as your nearing Tehachapi is part of the Sierra Cascades route and it is a major 4 lane highway at that point with as much traffic as any interstate. And as soon as you get on it there’s a big sign “No Bicycles on Highway”. Your only on it for 5-6 miles and I was passed by a police car during that time who apparently felt he had better things to do then hassle a cyclist. I only bring it up as the ACA maps are not always a guarantee that it’s legal to ride every mile of the route.

I heard that when ACA planned the Sierra Cascades Route, they hired the guy who originally wrote the Pacific Crest Bike Trail book, which came out around 1990. But he didn't actually bike the route again, just used a car to do recon. Don't know if it's true, but I can believe it, as some choices on the SC didn't make a heck of a lot of sense. Or when they provided a "gravel alternative", it was practically unrideable (if you didn't have at least plus tires) loose pumice.

And speaking of interstates and the Sierra route, most of the little stretches of Interstate I’ve been on have been fine, however I-84 between Cascade Locks and Hood River Oregon was pure misery.

I've ridden that section numerous times. I wouldn't call it "pure misery", but it's not a lot of fun. It's at least fast to get through. They're hopefully going to complete the section of the Historic Columbia River Hwy bike path through there in the near future, so you won't have to ride that anymore.
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: zzzz on October 12, 2021, 09:12:25 pm
The trouble w commenting with anything one experiences on a route like this is your sample size is 1. I will defer to you as a local that I-84 at that stretch doesn’t always suck. The morning I was there it was nose to tail heavy truck traffic and the shoulder was covered in debris and the wind was howling out of the east. It’s not a long stretch but riding into a 30 mph headwind it wasn’t “fast” to get thru.

I actually really liked the SC route, it was one of my favorite tours but it’s not for everyone. And I presume you're referring to the alternate route near crater lake, I did not take that.
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: adventurepdx on October 12, 2021, 09:19:01 pm
The trouble w commenting with anything one experiences on a route like this is your sample size is 1. I will defer to you as a local that I-84 at that stretch doesn’t always suck. The morning I was there it was nose to tail heavy truck traffic and the shoulder was covered in debris and the wind was howling out of the east. It’s not a long stretch but riding into a 30 mph headwind it wasn’t “fast” to get thru.

In this case it's more about tolerance to traffic. I can deal with busy like this in small bits, so 84 through here doesn't faze me as much as it would others. But I wouldn't choose it if there was a better alternative (and better than WA 14 on the other side, even though it's a two lane state route, shoulders are infrequent and truck traffic is high.) I will say that the shoulder of I-84 is often debris-strewn, and having to ride it into a headwind would not be fun (and yeah, I have done that too.)

I actually really liked the SC route, it was one of my favorite tours but it’s not for everyone. And I presume you're referring to the alternate route near crater lake, I did not take that.

Yep, that's the part. I planned on using that alternate, and once I found it unrideable I had to go to Crater Lake "the long way". This made me have to cut a day of riding on the tour, as I was on a tight timeline.
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: BikeliciousBabe on October 13, 2021, 01:15:24 pm
From what one can see on Street View, CR 139 looks like decent gravel.  The surface looks comparable to unpaved roads I suggested for the portion of the Tram Am route between Sheridan and Laurin, MT in order to avoid 8 miles of shoulderless MT 287 that has some sort of aggregates business that produces some trucks traffic.

Also, you have the Interstate close buy and there is not really anything out there on CR 139, so I would not expect much in the way of truck traffic, if any.
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: jamawani on October 17, 2021, 10:42:28 am
PS - Bentonite

Don't know where you are from, but there is a soil type called "bentonite" in the High Plains.
It's what they make absorbent kitty litter out of.
It is clay-based and turns into a slimy mess when wet.
You can't even stand up - let alone ride.
And it get's on all moving parts of the bike - nearly impossible to get off.
Most dirt road cyclists in the High Plains / Rockies have encountered it.
I have. The stuff of nightmares. 1950s horror movies.

I don't know whether the road in question has bentonite.
Rain totally changes the equation on dirt roads.
But bentonite is another story altogether.
You can expect to find pockets of bentonite west of the Missouri River.

Just FYI.  https://bikepacking.com/routes/maah-daah-hey/
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: Westinghouse on October 28, 2021, 04:57:01 am
On the southern tier, going west out of Baton Rouge on 190, you can connect with 90 into Houston. Here you can follow interstate 10 on the service road and 90 to San Antonio. Here you can take I - 10 all the way to Casa Grande, AZ. You must take alternate routes where available and they go along I - 10.You pick up I - 8 at Casa Grande as far just west as Yuma, AZ. From there the highway from hell will deposit you onto highway 78. Very much of it can be cycled on interstate highways. West of Ocotillo, CA you are on I - 8 again, and that to hysterical highway 80 and Pine Valley and San Diego.
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: TCS on November 02, 2021, 01:37:54 pm
Here you can take I - 10 all the way...

Some cycle tourists' idea of heaven.  Some cycle tourists' idea of hell.
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: Westinghouse on November 04, 2021, 06:34:21 am
Here you can take I - 10 all the way...

Some cycle tourists' idea of heaven.  Some cycle tourists' idea of hell.

I am not sure it is hell anywhere, but there are reasons to take routes other than the side lanes of interstate highways. Some lengths are bumpy. There can be a lot of traffic noise. Ear buds with music or ear plugs can cancel that out. Services can be spaced out, and are posted on maps. You are much less likely to meet other long distance cyclists. I crossed the continent four times using interstates and saw only two. The conditions of the side lanes are the main problem in many extents. However, there is usually always much more than enough space for safe cycling. Often it is 8 to 10 feet. I liked it just fine except for the bumpity bump which was bad in New Mexico.
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: John Nelson on November 04, 2021, 12:22:50 pm
In my experience, you are much more likely on interstate shoulders to get flats from the wires from exploded truck tires. They are common, nearly impossible to see, and seldom stopped by even the best tires. Besides, nothing interesting ever happens on the interstate, and interesting things happening are one of the best reasons to tour. Few people do a bicycle tour just to get from point A to point B.
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: BikeliciousBabe on November 04, 2021, 01:12:52 pm
In my experience, you are much more likely on interstate shoulders to get flats from the wires from exploded truck tires. They are common, nearly impossible to see, and seldom stopped by even the best tires. Besides, nothing interesting ever happens on the interstate, and interesting things happening are one of the best reasons to tour. Few people do a bicycle tour just to get from point A to point B.

“Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.”--Charles Kurault

As an aside, Kurault, who was already married, had a secret, nearly-30 year relationship with a woman from from Twin Bridges, MT, which is on the Trans Am route and home to the fabulous Bike Camp.  He eventually bought property overlooking the Big Hole River and later moved a dilapidated old schoolhouse there for renovation.  (The schoolhouse was located on the Trans Am route between Dillon and Twin Bridges.)   After his death, the portion of the property that had not already been deed to his mistress was ultimately awarded to her after litigation.
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: John Nelson on November 04, 2021, 01:51:28 pm
“Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.”--Charles Kurault

Thanks for the quote. It's a good one (for those of us old enough to remember Charles Kuralt, who, IMO, was the highlight of the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite).
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: Westinghouse on November 26, 2021, 01:21:54 am
On one trans continental trip east to west, Florida to California, using Schwalbe marathon tires, I had eight punctures total. That was using the interstates. There was a road that must’ve had many of those little wires on one trip because I had five or six punctures within 5 miles but that was a different matter. That was not an interstate highway that I remember. When it comes to noise, earbuds with music and earplugs eliminate that. When it comes to pollution it is a matter of which way the wind is blowing. If you are going west and the wind is blowing from the north to the south you get no pollution. If it’s blowing from the south to the north then you have to breathe it in. If you are going west and the wind is behind you you will probably not get much pollution at all. And the traffic is not really all that thick and fast until you get nearer the cities. I’ve used interstate Highways quite a few times. They are OK.
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: HikeBikeCook on November 26, 2021, 07:23:06 am
“Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.”--Charles Kurault

Thanks for the quote. It's a good one (for those of us old enough to remember Charles Kuralt, who, IMO, was the highlight of the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite).

That was back when there was actually news on TV. I have not watched TV in several years now, nothing but opinions and crappy TV shows. Today news is shot on someone's cell phone and the news cycle is 2 hours and not 24 hours. "Newspapers" are only handy for puppies and parakeets, if you catch my meaning  ;). Like Ben Franklin said ''Believe none of what you hear, and half of what you see'' and he did not know at the time we would have TV.  I will add to that "and none of what you read in a newspaper."
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: Westinghouse on November 26, 2021, 09:23:25 pm
Kuralt's emotionalism lamenting the demise of small towns bypassed by interstate highways has its place in American nostalgia. Considering the tangible realities of the matter places it opposite of fact. Consider interstate 10. I have bicycled it a few times between Florida and California. Highway 90 west out of Beaumont runs near it. Many small towns are there to see and visit along the way. The I-10 service roads and 90  and other roadways can be cycled all the way from Huston to San Antonio. There are many towns along the way. I-10 going northwest out of San Antonio, TX goes through many small towns. There are hills and mountains and broad vistas, and very wide shoulders in many or most stretches. The climbs are gentler because the road cuts through the hills and does not go over their tops. Look at the map. You will see many interesting small towns along the way. I-10 also takes you to larger cities--- Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, Las Cruces, Tucson. I-8 going west from Casa Grande, AZ has wide shoulders and excellent scenery. You must exit 8 approaching Yuma, AZ.

Going due west from Yuma, unfortunately, puts you on the highway from hell. It is terrible for quite a distance. I did not measure its decrepitude but whatever its distance, it is too far. It smooths out and runs you alongside I-8 to Ogilvy or Ogilby Road. It takes you north to highway 78 where you again go west. Follow my route and you get to Ocotillo, CA. Before getting to Ocotillo there is a worse road from hell. And even along this route there are quite a few cool little towns and agricultural communities.

Going west from Ocotillo, I-8 is a long steep climb to where you must exit to hysterical highway 80. 80 is hilly and a bit rough in places. It is a super highway compared to the fore mentioned roads from hell. It runs along the I-8 corridor. On 80 you can visit a gambling casino. There is the town of Jacumba with hot springs if you can afford it. You will go through the very pleasant little town of Pine Valley. Here is a small restaurant of American nostalgia. I love looking at old photos from the past and memorabilia. Get ready to climb a bit. When you get to Alpine you can get an espresso at Starbucks if it is still there. It on the side of the road in plain sight. After a while you enter the megalopolis and thread your way into San Diego.

When Charles Kuralt said taking the interstate you will see nothing at all, it should be understood for what it was, an emotionalism.
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: jamawani on November 27, 2021, 12:02:24 am
Different strokes for different folks - but for the life of me,
I have never understood why people would choose to bike tour on an interstate.

Kinda like -
A Big Mac at McDonalds vs. a fresh meatloaf sandwich at a mom & pop cafe in Beatrice.
Or a room at the Motel 6 just off I-95 vs. a little cottage on the Maine coast.
Or 45 minutes of muzak on hold with Verizon vs. a funky zydeco club in Lafayette.
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: Westinghouse on November 29, 2021, 12:48:08 am
McDonald's? Motel 6? Muzak? Those are irrelevant to cycling the interstates on the southern tier. McDonald's only in emergency or coffee. Never slept in a motel 6. As for music, each to his own. As for privately owned restaurants, plenty are to be found. Mom and pop for the homey connotation. Nutrition is nutrition. Far better getting it at a real-food store. The interstate route is quite good. It is not perfect. In a world built for motorized transportation, what roads are ideal for cycling safely? Interstates are safer than back roads, highways and byways. Are there drawbacks? Of course there are. Everything has positive and negative values. Personally, I do not allow for being routed onto narrow two-lane roads with trucks and cars tearing along at break-neck speeds. If I had to use such roads I would, but I would not seek them. They cause stress after a while. On an interstate highway with wide shoulders, the chance some distracted motorist would veer into you at the precise point of your location would be almost nil. There were twelve cyclists in Texas recently who might see the point on that. And so would many others if they were alive. I never had any traffic stress on an interstate. I think that is perhaps a main advantage. It is stress-free.
Title: Re: Interstate Alternatives
Post by: Westinghouse on November 29, 2021, 01:06:46 am
In my experience, you are much more likely on interstate shoulders to get flats from the wires from exploded truck tires. They are common, nearly impossible to see, and seldom stopped by even the best tires. Besides, nothing interesting ever happens on the interstate, and interesting things happening are one of the best reasons to tour. Few people do a bicycle tour just to get from point A to point B.

A truck tire exploded in front of me once. It blasted shrapnel wires everywhere. It made one hell of a noise. It was about 200 feet away.