Originally Posted by thook
Dude, you are brave taking that route. All the time I've wondered if there was a safe way to cycle up to Eureka. I love hanging out up there. My dentist is in Holiday Island, so driving on the way up there I've studied the routes. It's not looked promising.
Have you ever made as far south as West Fork or Winslow?
Its a better route than 62 through Gateway. For the safest route, take 412 to 23 and then up. 412 is high traffic, but there is a shoulder for most of it. 23 has some narrow shoulderless areas to the south, but its a nice road to ride, for me anyway. There are a few cyclists in the Fayetteville area who ride to Eureka. Not sure what routes they take.
Never done the 71 classic, have ridden the route though, past Winslow. Most of the time when I am going south(mostly to Little Rock) I take 23 down. Also 21 down to the Buffalo, crossing at Boxley. There are some rolling hills and serious granny gear climbs. Mount Nebo and Petit Jean are great climbs that cause some burn!
Funny thing, met a group of kids cycling across the country, they had come from Harrison to Eureka that day, forty miles. One of the girls was crying, saying that it was the worst day of the trip, and they had crossed the Appalachians. Its was the hills, and the lack of shoulder that the group said was really taxing. I have ridden that way a lot, and found it to be average for the area. But there are lots of areas like this, and people ride them and worse.
If you really want to be brave, ride to Eureka on Bikes Blues and Barbeque weekend. Did that once a couple years ago, and will never make that mistake again. 40,000 bikes make the same trip that weekend, and a lot of them are drinking. Plus the noise! That is about the only time I will not ride anywhere.