Author Topic: Ride across Nebraska route advice  (Read 2982 times)

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Offline Bclayden

Ride across Nebraska route advice
« on: October 22, 2013, 10:57:25 am »
Hello everyone.

This site, and specifically the Routes forum, has been super helpful to me during planning of my Pony Express Route solo ride...Sacramento, CA - St. Joseph, MO.    I have broken the 2000 mile ride into 3 X one week segments to ride 1 segment each year.  Sacramento to Salt Lake City last year and SLC to Scottsbluff, NE this past July all went very smooth thanks to the careful planning and a bit of good luck.

I am planning the final phase of this trek for next Spring and looking for any good advice as to Nebraska riding conditions, good roads and roads to avoid.  I am not camping but traveling Credit Card style so anybody with info about where to stay or not stay is also helpful.  Currently in the initial planning stages so my route can be adjusted a bit but to stay true to the original Pony Express route it looks something like this:

Day 1- Scottsbluff, NE -Julesburgh, CO   
Day 2- J'burgh - N. Platte, NE            
Day 3- N. Platte – Kearney            
Day 4- Kearney –Nelson      
Day 5- Nelson – Marysville, KS         
Day 6- Marysville – St. Joseph, MO   

Thanks in advance for your input.


Offline John Nettles

Re: Ride across Nebraska route advice
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2013, 11:32:36 am »
Try reviewing these Department of Transportation sites for Nebraska and Kansas.  You may have difficulty with accommodations only due to the lack of population thus the lack of services.  However, you may be doing high mileage??? so can adjust the mileage accordingly.


Enjoy the ride!
Happy trails and may the wind be at your back!

Offline rondickinson

Re: Ride across Nebraska route advice
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2013, 04:56:18 pm »
If you are riding in the spring, you should anticipate high winds.  15 to 30 mph out of the South are typical.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Ride across Nebraska route advice
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2013, 09:39:36 am »
You might try contacting the ride organizers of B.R.A.N., which is a long-running annual event in Nebraska.

In fact, last year's route passed through N. Platte. and Kearney:

Offline litespeed

Re: Ride across Nebraska route advice
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2013, 09:32:21 am »
Your biggest problem will be goathead thorns flatting your tires. Make sure you stay on the pavement to keep punctures to a minimum. And have good, thick tire liners.

I crossed Nebraska E to W a few years ago on 34, 30 and 26. Plenty of south winds and usually good shoulders on the main roads. I had no trouble finding accomodations - plenty of campgrounds and motels - and meals. Very friendly people. I got a flat near Lincoln and four cars stopped to offer help, including a trooper.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2013, 09:33:55 am by litespeed »

Offline jamawani

Re: Ride across Nebraska route advice
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2013, 01:13:46 pm »
I've ridden across Nebraska many times - 1st time on Hwy 2.
US 26 / US 30 ain't exactly the most scenic -
But you want to retrace a specific route which, not surprisingly,
became a major transportation corridor - trail/railroad/highway/interstate.

The section between Kearney and Marysville can be very pleasant -
Provided you stay off the US highways as much as possible.
In Nebraska Hwy 74, Hwy 4, and Hwy 8 are all quite nice with low traffic.
North-south highways have more traffic than east-west ones - esp. US 81 and US 77.

Diagonal roads in the Great Plains are very rare.
You will have to zig and zag to follow the actual Pony Express route.
There is a short section of unpaved road between Powell and Fairbury
Which follows the Little Blue River - then Hwy 8 goes on to Rock Creek Station.

Old Highway 36 in eastern Kansas is great for cycling -
But the stretch between Marysville and Hiawatha has pretty heavy traffic.
Most of it has wide shoulders, but about 20% does not - narrow & gravel.
Plus the the topography is rolling with limited sight lines.

Traffic map for NE:

Traffic map for KS:

Fun image from Google in southern Nebraska:

Offline Bclayden

Re: Ride across Nebraska route advice
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2013, 12:36:58 am »
Great stuff.  Thanks all for your input.  Yes, I experienced the goat heads in July coming down the slope from Wyoming and into western NE.  3 flats one day near Casper.  Goat heads a problem in May too?  Not sure.  Then there's the extreme NE weather to work around in May but that's a different story. 

Jamawani....great info.  I will follow your route advice.  My quest to follow the Pony Express route is of the semi-casual variety.  I would much rather lose the route for a day or 2 to enjoy a quiet country road than stick to the route and end up with thick traffic.

The route so far from California to western Nebraska has had limited route options often with only one road available for many days. Having a choice of routes will be refreshing.