Author Topic: Mojave Desert Touring Conditions  (Read 1245 times)

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Offline MrBent

Mojave Desert Touring Conditions
« on: January 15, 2017, 04:14:40 pm »
Hey, Cyclotourists:

This is probably old info. here, but I just got back from a driving trip that covered areas I've toured and thought I'd report.

I've done a bunch of touring in the Mojave, and I've got some good news for anyone heading out there.

1) The super fabulous Kelbaker road from Baker on I 15 in the north to I 40 in the south has be repaved! I've pedaled this a few times, and I think it's on the Furnace Creek 500 route. The last time--2015--we vowed to never do it again the pavement was so bad--HUGE holes, unbearable rough, cobbles the size of your fist. Utter crap. Well, that's a thing of the past. The paving is the--sigh--expected chip seal, but it's vastly better. The long descent from Granite Pass is still rough underneath, but overall, this route is vastly improved.

2) It is now (since when?) legal to ride the shoulder of I 40 between Barstow and Needles. I saw a bunch of "Share the Road" signs along the way. This is key because Old Route 66 on that section has some of the worst pavement on the planet, and there seems to be zero motivation for fixing it. Also, once past Fenner, I 40 is by far the safest route down to Needles. There are some bridges under reconstruction west of Fenner, so be warned, but touring cyclists should be down in the Amboy region on Route 66 anyway--much more scenic and quiet.

Ride on, you desert rats.

Offline JHamelman

Re: Mojave Desert Touring Conditions
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2017, 09:16:39 am »
2) It is now (since when?) legal to ride the shoulder of I 40 between Barstow and Needles. I saw a bunch of "Share the Road" signs along the way. This is key because Old Route 66 on that section has some of the worst pavement on the planet, and there seems to be zero motivation for fixing it. Also, once past Fenner, I 40 is by far the safest route down to Needles. There are some bridges under reconstruction west of Fenner, so be warned, but touring cyclists should be down in the Amboy region on Route 66 anyway--much more scenic and quiet.

This happened just before the Bicycle Route 66 maps were published in February 2015. See SOLUTION: Bicycle Route 66 Concerns blog post. Since that time, bridges have been repaired and technically I-40 is only open to cyclists from exit 23 to 50. Of course, this can change with the next major thunderstorm bringing rains that turn into flash floods in the desert.

Jennifer

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Jennifer Hamelman
Assistant Director, Routes & Mapping
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Adventure Cycling Association
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www.adventurecycling.org

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Offline MrBent

Re: Mojave Desert Touring Conditions
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2017, 09:35:34 am »
Thanks, Jennifer.  It's nice to see some rational decisions for cyclists!

Scott