Author Topic: MidWest Route info  (Read 5112 times)

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Offline MrBent

MidWest Route info
« on: June 29, 2007, 07:49:05 pm »
Hey, Cyclotourists:  I'm riding across the country this summer, starting in Aug. in Maine.  I'm following the N. Tier route as far as Muscatine, Iowa, but then I need to put my own route together to get down to Manhattan, KS, to visit with a relative.  From there I'm heading south a bit to hook up with the standard TransAmerica route through KS and into CO.

Here's my route (first draft) based on AAA maps to get me from Muscatine to Manhattan:

In Iowa:
S. and W. on Rt. 92
To S. on Rt. 1
To W. on Rt. 2
Turn south at Centerville on Rt. 5 to enter Missouri.

In Missouri:
S. on Rt. 5
To SW on Rt. 6
S. on Rt. 13 at Gallatin
W. on Rt. 116 to Atchison, KS

In Kansas:
SW on Rt. 59
To W. on Rts. 116/16
S. on 13/113 to Manhattan (Phew!)

Does anyone have information on the riding conditions of these roads?  Any contra-indications, things to avoid? Any advice/experience greatly appreciated!

Cheers and safe riding,



Offline MrBent

MidWest Route info
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2007, 07:53:52 pm »
Follow up question on my choice of routes:

I just looked at the Katy Trail:  Would I be much better off taking the Great Rivers south to the Katy and using that to cross Missouri?

Cheers,

Scott


Offline John Nettles

MidWest Route info
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2007, 11:38:31 am »
I don't know about Iowa, but both Kansas and Missouri have websites showing cycle friendly roads.  Do a search and you can locate them.  You might want to do the Katy trail as you mentioned also.


Happy trails and may the wind be at your back!

TulsaJohn

Offline RussellSeaton

MidWest Route info
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2007, 10:23:38 am »
"Here's my route (first draft) based on AAA maps to get me from Muscatine to Manhattan:

In Iowa:
S. and W. on Rt. 92
To S. on Rt. 1
To W. on Rt. 2
Turn south at Centerville on Rt. 5 to enter Missouri."

I've ridden most of the roads you list above.  Highway 2 in the mid 1980s was OK for bikes.  Now, you likely won't get killed on Highway 2, but it has plenty of traffic.  The section of Highway 1 you list from above Washington to below Keosauqua is heavily traveled except for the last 15 miles or so.  Highway 92 also has plenty of traffic.  I would not choose your route to get from Muscatine to Manahattan Kansas.  At least not the part in Iowa.  The part of the state you are biking through in Iowa is rolling hills and plenty of turns in the roads and plenty of trees.  So visibility of cyclists by speeding cars may not be that great.  Best to stay off high traffic roads like 92, 1, 2.

Get a state map, a real paper map, not the less detailed Rand McNally.  Pick out any of the more rural roads and you will be fine.  Stay off the main Highways like 92, 1, 2, 34.  Of course that kind of leaves you with not many roads going west across Iowa since it seems only the main highways go straight west-east across the state.  Can't really give you a recommendation of which roads to take, just the ones not to take.


Offline litespeed

MidWest Route info
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2007, 11:53:22 am »
If I were you I would avoid Iowa altogether. The state generally doesn't put paved shoulders on their highways - just heavily graveled shoulders that are really not usable on a touring bike or even a mountain bike. Crossing Iowa on US34 was some of the worst bicycling I have ever done.

By all means scoot south and get on the Katy Trail. It's a delightful way to cross Missouri. Get a copy of "The Katy Trail Guidebook" by Brett Dufur.


Offline SP

MidWest Route info
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2007, 06:43:00 am »
 "The state generally doesn't put paved shoulders on their highways - just heavily graveled shoulders that are really not usable on a touring bike or even a mountain bike. Crossing Iowa on US34 was some of the worst bicycling I have ever done."

+1




Offline RussellSeaton

MidWest Route info
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2007, 09:57:15 am »
Good or bad, Iowa does not have paved shoulders for the most part.  I say good or bad because if there are shoulders on roads and bikes use them, then car drivers expect bikes to ONLY use shoulders and NEVER use the actual road as a legitimate vehicle.  Shoulders reinforce and promote the idea that bikes do not have a legal right to use the road.  And thus are not treated that way by law enforcement personnel or other car drivers.  Not a perception I like to give out.

As for taking Highway 34 across Iowa?  Why would you do that?  Every map of Iowa I have come across shows Hwy 34 as a large main road through the state.  Do bicyclists besides me get maps and find the most heavily traveled roads and choose to ride them?  I always look for the smaller roads on maps and ride on them.  Biking is more enjoyable that way.  Hwy 2 about 20 miles south of Hwy 34 is less traveled than Hwy 34 if you have to have a direct east-west route across Iowa.  I'd still choose to find a more meandering route than either 2 or 34.

As for taking the Katy trail across Missouri.  I grew up on gravel roads as a kid and biked on those gravel roads.  No thanks.  Choosing to ride 300 miles on a gravel road.  Not my idea of bicycling.


Offline MrBent

MidWest Route info
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2007, 10:46:51 am »
Thanks for your replies, everyone.  For someone who has never traveled in this part of the country, it's hard to know what the level of traffic is like.  I've been reading good things about the Katy trail, and I understand, unless there has been a heavy rain, it's pretty smooth and hard-packed.  I'll be riding with 1.5" tires with a wee bit of tread, so that should be fine. Also, my recumbent has suspension. The idea of all those car-free miles is too good to pass up.  I'll be taking the Great Rivers route south, which sounds quite nice according to the ACA map--generally very light traffic loads.  Also, I've received the Kansas state bicycling map and worked out my route.  My only puzzle at this point is working out how to get out of Manhattan and onto the trans-America trail without back tracking.  I need to look into using route 18 heading west.  Anyone ridden this section?

Cheers,

Scott


Offline litespeed

MidWest Route info
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2007, 05:56:42 pm »
The Katy Trail is very hard packed and bicyclable with any type of bicycle. It's the longest rail-to-trail in the country. I have done most of it (Clinton to Dutzow) and recommend it highly.