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Old 08-01-09, 09:51 PM   #1
Jaraldo
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Interstate Riding

So today I made the trek from my hometown of Lincoln, NE to Denver, CO (I drove the car). I believe that Nebraska state law prohibits bicycle riders from riding on the interstate, and I had always thought that it was a pretty common ordinance nation wide.

Once I-80 turned into I-76 and I got into Colorado I noticed signs along the interstate instructing bicycle riders to keep to the far right. That surprised me quite a bit...

Do any of you ride on the interstates??? How common is that???
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Old 08-01-09, 10:10 PM   #2
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Go here: http://www.dot.state.co.us/BikePed/maps.htm

Download "State Map" and "Legend".

The general rule is: Where there is no alternative way to get from Point A to Point B, bikes are allowed on the interstate.
e.g. in the Genesee area, bikes can use I-70 between exits 252 and 254, so I've done it a couple times.
The paved berm is as wide as a traffic lane, so it is a h*ll of a lot safer than most roads.
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Old 08-01-09, 10:41 PM   #3
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What Shimagnolo said is generally true in the states west of Nebraska. I know that in Az and Ca the rule is that bikes are allowed on the shoulder *unless* there's a sign on the ramp indicating that they're prohibited. In urban areas and most places where there are alternates the ramp will have such a sign. But there are some exceptions even where there are good alternates. E.g. I-5 is bike-legal from the Bay Area (Kasson Rd. outside Tracy) for about 375 miles to Santa Clarita outside LA although alternatives exist along most of that stretch.

But the small sharp wires left over from tire belts when the debris disintegrates is a problem for bike tires - puncture resistant models are recommended.
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Old 08-02-09, 08:13 AM   #4
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Ditto the above....

I've ridden parts of I-5 in Oregon -- it actually shows up on brevets there from time to time. It sucks because of the noise, the debris, and exit/entrance ramps, and the general lack of scenery. Personally I'd never ride an interstate if there were a reasonable alternative route. In some parts of the country, though, the interstate is the only game in town. (In Nebraska, there's another road (US highway?) on the other side of the Platt, if I recall from driving and riding out there a few years ago.)
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Old 08-02-09, 01:24 PM   #5
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Riding interstates sucks, the sides of the road are not usually in good condition, you have to dodge bottles, shredded tires, rocks, sand. Plus there is a good chance of picking up wires from Semi tires and getting flats (not even my gatorskins stop the wires.

I'd avoid riding them at all costs.
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Old 08-02-09, 01:44 PM   #6
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I ride Interstate 5 from Vancouver, WA to Olympia, WA quite a bit. I like the wide shoulders most of the way, the direct nature of the route and the mellow hills. Already mentioned dislikes are the noise and the dirty shoulders.

Silver lining of the noise/traffic is that it makes me ride faster for some reason, adrenaline rush, the wind from vehicles pushing me down the road perhaps, I sometimes pray for more double trailers to come by and help pull me along.

Mr. Tuffies in the tires have kept me flat free in the debris field that is the e-lane for about 600 miles, knock on wood.

The earlier on a weekend morning you can start the better. A 4am-10am Sunday morning century wouldn't be too bad traffic wise. I always start late, big ol breakfast before hitting the road at 7 or so, then take pretty long lazy breaks at 35 and 75 miles, so only the first couple hours are light traffic for me.
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Old 08-02-09, 08:39 PM   #7
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I believe all of Oregon's interstates are legal for cyclists . . . at least, that's what the legend on the map I looked at implied.

I haven't tried it myself. I'm pretty sure it would scare the living <expletive> out of me. I saw one guy doing it once, and he looked like he was going pretty fast. I imagine there's a nice drafting advantage with that much traffic combined with the opposite traffic being across the median.
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Old 08-02-09, 09:01 PM   #8
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I believe all of Oregon's interstates are legal for cyclists . . . at least, that's what the legend on the map I looked at implied.
I-5 is only legal south of the I-205 split, IIRC. You don't really want to ride the freeway as you approach cities with many on and off ramps, anyways.
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Old 08-02-09, 09:19 PM   #9
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I used to ride on I-84 in Utah very frequently. It was the easiest way to get a good workout in a short period of time.
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Old 08-03-09, 11:42 AM   #10
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Coming from the East Cost, all of the interstates here are illegal to ride on. I would positively never ride on one anyhow -- I have a fear of getting frightened and falling over a jersey barrier.
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Old 08-03-09, 11:47 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
I ride Interstate 5 from Vancouver, WA to Olympia, WA quite a bit. I like the wide shoulders most of the way, the direct nature of the route and the mellow hills. Already mentioned dislikes are the noise and the dirty shoulders.

Silver lining of the noise/traffic is that it makes me ride faster for some reason, adrenaline rush, the wind from vehicles pushing me down the road perhaps, I sometimes pray for more double trailers to come by and help pull me along.

Mr. Tuffies in the tires have kept me flat free in the debris field that is the e-lane for about 600 miles, knock on wood.

The earlier on a weekend morning you can start the better. A 4am-10am Sunday morning century wouldn't be too bad traffic wise. I always start late, big ol breakfast before hitting the road at 7 or so, then take pretty long lazy breaks at 35 and 75 miles, so only the first couple hours are light traffic for me
.
Yeah I think the wind from all the vehicles does speed you up a little for sure; I was cruising at 25-30 mph once on I-90 on the Pacer, not my normal speeds!

I've ridden I-90 from North Bend to about Ephrata, and the scenery was nice going up Snoqualmie Pass, though after that not much is going on, and the bridge crossing at Vantage really sucks (no shoulder). Legally rideable, but that bridge kills the I-90 experience for me.
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Old 08-03-09, 11:55 AM   #12
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As for the fear factor of freeways, it's really not that bad. I feel MUCH safer on a freeway in a 12 ft e-lane than in a 5 ft. bike lane on a busy 40 mph highway or arterial with uncontrolled intersections with cross streets and driveways every 10 yds or so.
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