Author Topic: TA - Kansas US 54  (Read 3316 times)

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Offline mattdwyerva

TA - Kansas US 54
« on: December 10, 2023, 06:08:11 pm »
Looking at street view of US 54 thru Kansas as I plan our 2024 WB tour, and I see it often features the horrible rumble strips in the middle of the road, which make trucks and cars pass too close, imo.   Speed limit is 65mph.   On street view, I see some areas have large gravel shoulders which may be rideable instead of the paving.   Our bikes are set up for gravel roads, and we are used to them as well.   Of course, we could detour more difficult segments as well, moving onto parallel gravel roads and then coming back for services.  Or I can just suck it up and ride it, unhappily, but not sure my wife can do it safely for very long, which may be a problem. 

Street view - https://www.google.com/maps/@37.9202313,-95.5243375,3a,90y,124.18h,92.68t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1ssICuodDNA5B-jkxl2On1iA!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?entry=ttu

Conditions vary of course, for example...
some gravel shoulder: https://www.google.com/maps/@37.8103858,-96.4036432,3a,75y,297.89h,87.21t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sB6JjS9GgnSRtZ_3lTt2CWw!2e0!6shttps:%2F%2Fstreetviewpixels-pa.googleapis.com%2Fv1%2Fthumbnail%3Fpanoid%3DB6JjS9GgnSRtZ_3lTt2CWw%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D0.33314514%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i16384!8i8192?entry=ttu

I am currently routing us via Katy Trail to Iola and then US54 to the TA.   So about 80 miles on 54. 

If you have ridden this, let me know what you think. 

Matt

Offline John Nettles

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Re: TA - Kansas US 54
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2023, 09:23:30 pm »
If this helps, here is a collection of routes that I call the "Katy Cutoff" which were created due to numerous requests I received for route guidance to connect the TransAm to the Katy Trail at both ends. 

I currently only have Katy Cutoff in the eastbound direction but planned on adding a Katy Cutoff collection of westbound routes.  The eastbound Katy Cutoff: https://ridewithgps.com/collections/57717?privacy_code=7Hz7hdyP1cntdBrT

If you think you will be riding all or parts of this collection, let me know and I will try to get the westbound routes done quicker.

All that said, I would not be too bothered by US-54 as the traffic count is less than 2k a day with good lines of sight. I was more bothered by US-54 between Eureka and Rosalia as the traffic count can be as high as 3,600 with the same rumble strips.  As a side note, I prefer the center rumble strips over the side ones when no shoulder is present because then I can here the bzzzzz when the move over.  The side makes me ride in the lane more which just aggravates the situation.

Whatever you chose, I wish you a wonderful trip!

Tailwinds, John



Offline John Nelson

Re: TA - Kansas US 54
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2023, 12:20:02 am »
I find that center rumble strips have some advantages, like the one John mentioned. Most cars aren’t afraid to cross them, and the noise alerts you to their presence.

But I find gravel shoulders annoying, and slow going. I generally won’t use them.

Offline mattdwyerva

Re: TA - Kansas US 54
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2023, 07:59:05 am »
Thanks for the feedback, gentlemen.  I will review the Ridewithgps route links, thanks very much. 

I don't like either rumble strip location.   One shrinks the shoulder to a dangerously narrow strip and the other discourages cars from giving you the lane. 

I did see the 2022 traffic count looks to be about 2500 vehicles per day west of Eureka (https://www.ksdot.gov/Assets/wwwksdotorg/bureaus/burTransPlan/maps/CountMaps/Districts/countmap2022.pdf). 

Line of sight is long there, but I don't trust driver judgement at 65 (80?) mph. 


I street-viewed the segment and colored yellow the ones that we likely won't ride https://ridewithgps.com/routes/45140978 if possible.   

Everyone has different comfort levels, of course, and my comments on that link are only based on possibly street view images (no experience on road).   
« Last Edit: December 11, 2023, 08:02:14 am by mattdwyerva »

Offline John Nettles

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Re: TA - Kansas US 54
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2023, 10:12:05 am »
I don't like either rumble strip location.   One shrinks the shoulder to a dangerously narrow strip and the other discourages cars from giving you the lane. 

I did see the 2022 traffic count looks to be about 2500 vehicles per day west of Eureka (https://www.ksdot.gov/Assets/wwwksdotorg/bureaus/burTransPlan/maps/CountMaps/Districts/countmap2022.pdf). 

I street-viewed the segment and colored yellow the ones that we likely won't ride https://ridewithgps.com/routes/45140978 if possible.   

The traffic count rises to above 3,600 in the area of yellow near Rosalia on your RWGPS route.  You should note that it is not uncommon to get a flat on Kansas gravel roads in this region due to the flint rock in the soil.  Sharp little buggers. 

As you said, there are different comfort levels for everyone.  You might  consider riding the Eastern Express as, overall, it probably has less traffic and is flatter.  If you do, I have a some suggestions on how to make it better (less traffic and more scenic).

Tailwinds, John

Offline mattdwyerva

Re: TA - Kansas US 54
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2023, 11:54:23 am »
Golly, all the Unbound youtube videos I have watched for amusement, and I totally forgot about the sharp KS flint.   Thanks for the reminder.   Currently, we use 40 mm tubeless gravel tires, but I may add inserts and/or use something like the new Schwalbe tubeless Marathons.  Not a lot of bike shops on rural western roads. 

Here is my current plan, and I would appreciate any critiques.    https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1VP_APUp-1y4RvLA9WHMeYDnVX-k4hC0&usp=sharing

Each segment is about a week (about 300 miles), until life happens of course.  I show hotels not CG, because my wife has a Spec. Vado SL ebike  to charge (w/spare batts), and I removed Warmshowers locations because this is a public copy and I don't want to dox hosts.  I show mile markers every 60 miles under the theory that we will ride about 50 miles per day with one rest day per week.   I have mileage to motels noted from start of week.  I generally save weblinks in points of interest since way easier to use website for updates vs phone until day of arrival.   If I have no internet, I can't make a phone call either.  Once upon a time I used a paper Mobil East Coast map to ride from ME to VA, keeping an eye on the sun for direction :),  but times change.

Most of the route as pretty easy to lay out, although I have 4 other WB alternates for the Annapolis to the C&O trail portion, and I am not crazy about any of them.  I am showing with the 4 lane stroad option there, sigh. 

I have ridewithgps maps for these if someone wants to see them, but I would have to clean them up by removing warmshowers host locations, and I am still tweaking.   On shorter tours (e.g, DC-Pittsburgh), I use daily ridewithgps routes, but not sure I will keep things up to date on the road for months.   

fwiw,
Matt

Offline mattdwyerva

Re: TA - Kansas US 54
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2023, 08:44:17 am »
Trying to create a route makes me appreciate ACA routes, with convenience stores, food stores, restaurants, etc all identified.   

Routing is a lot more than just traffic and lodging. 

Offline John Nettles

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Re: TA - Kansas US 54
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2023, 11:52:01 am »
Routing is a lot more than just traffic and lodging.
Amen to that!  People ask me weekly for route advice saying I want to go from X to Y. I am usually happy to help if I can but it can take a while in which case some get mad at me that it may take a month or two to get to them. And I do it for free.  I have over a thousand routes in various stages of development and have learned it takes about an 3 hours on average to come up with 10 miles of a cue-sheeted route (less west of Mississippi River, more to east). 

In order to do a decent route, you have to research: 
- Traffic counts (compare to state AADT maps, Strava heat maps, etc.) 
- Road conditions (shoulders, rumble strips, line of site, bike lanes/trails, etc.) 
- Services, including but not limited to campgrounds, restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, convenience stores, dollar stores, points of interest, major climbs, major bridges (if safe to cross), paved route vs. mostly paved but saves a bunch of miles, entertainment, laundry, major general merchandise stores (Walmart), bicycle shops, airports, trains, car rentals, bus stations, hospitals, etc.

Once that is all done, you have to put it onto a GPS (I use Garmin's BaseCamp) and then write up a cue sheet for each direction and then put it onto RWGPS.

ACA maps are a bargain if you wanted to plan it yourself. A lot of people contact me mid-tour saying they have been following someone else's route but realized that person has a much different outlook on what makes a good route, i.e. they want the shortest paved route even if lots of traffic or conversely they want no traffic even if much much longer. Or perhaps the original route was for a person who only used hotels vs the follower wanted camping.

Unless you are going to go somewhere already unmapped, I suggest people buy a map from ACA (even if used on eBay).

I will now get off my soap box.

Tailwinds, John
« Last Edit: December 12, 2023, 11:53:50 am by John Nettles »

Offline mattdwyerva

Re: TA - Kansas US 54
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2023, 11:59:46 am »
Thanks for all your efforts!




Offline eorogers

Re: TA - Kansas US 54
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2023, 02:19:35 pm »
Routing is a lot more than just traffic and lodging.
Amen to that!  People ask me weekly for route advice saying I want to go from X to Y. I am usually happy to help if I can but it can take a while in which case some get mad at me that it may take a month or two to get to them. And I do it for free.  I have over a thousand routes in various stages of development and have learned it takes about an 3 hours on average to come up with 10 miles of a cue-sheeted route (less west of Mississippi River, more to east). 

In order to do a decent route, you have to research: 
- Traffic counts (compare to state AADT maps, Strava heat maps, etc.) 
- Road conditions (shoulders, rumble strips, line of site, bike lanes/trails, etc.) 
- Services, including but not limited to campgrounds, restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, convenience stores, dollar stores, points of interest, major climbs, major bridges (if safe to cross), paved route vs. mostly paved but saves a bunch of miles, entertainment, laundry, major general merchandise stores (Walmart), bicycle shops, airports, trains, car rentals, bus stations, hospitals, etc.

Once that is all done, you have to put it onto a GPS (I use Garmin's BaseCamp) and then write up a cue sheet for each direction and then put it onto RWGPS.

ACA maps are a bargain if you wanted to plan it yourself. A lot of people contact me mid-tour saying they have been following someone else's route but realized that person has a much different outlook on what makes a good route, i.e. they want the shortest paved route even if lots of traffic or conversely they want no traffic even if much much longer. Or perhaps the original route was for a person who only used hotels vs the follower wanted camping.

Unless you are going to go somewhere already unmapped, I suggest people buy a map from ACA (even if used on eBay).

I will now get off my soap box.

Tailwinds, John

Exactly right, but you forgot that the day after you made this great route they closed the main road you so carefully avoided and directed all the traffic to detour onto the little travelled backroad you chose :-)

Eric

Offline John Nettles

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Re: TA - Kansas US 54
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2023, 04:26:36 pm »
Indeed, that does happen.  For me personally, the weather overall and especially the wind, play a fairly major roll in my tour direction.  I base all climate data on 30-year historical averages (I have a massive book that lists this).  Well, the average weather (or what I was expecting/hoping for) seems to always be the week before or after I am in an area.  The "wow, it has never been like this before" occurs when I am in the area.

Offline eorogers

Re: TA - Kansas US 54
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2023, 07:39:46 pm »
Yep - I always figured "He's never done that before" would be great on my tombstone :-)

Eric