Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Frisco, CO
Bikes: '93 Bridgestone MB-3, '88 Marinoni road bike, '00 Marinoni Piuma, '01 Riv A/R
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I spent a few summers working in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks (1988-92), I had a Marinoni road bike with me that I logged a lot of miles on. Back then the roads were crappy and the RV drivers were terrible, but I had a great time anyway. I used to ride the "Grand Loop" every so often, using the Norris Canyon road to make a figure 8 and covering about 140 miles in one long day. The East Entrance road is also fun and lightly traveled. If you have a car, drive out to Cooke City (NE Entrance) and ride the Beartooth Highway from Cooke City to Red Lodge and back (126 miles round trip, or you can just go to the top of the pass and back).
Wildlife: I never saw any bears on the roads, just in the back country. A couple of times a herd of bison were grazing on both sides of the road and walking back and forth across the road. I waited for a car to come by and asked the driver if I could motorpace him through the herd at 15-20 mph. Bison have such bad eyesight that they thought I was part of the car, and the bison don't pay any attention to cars.
Roads: Back then the roads were crappy. Lots of narrow, shoulderless stretches, lots of broken pavement. I just dealt with it and had a good time.
Traffic: The RV drivers were truly scary back then, and I'm sure they still are. Rule of thumb, the bigger the RV, the older and worse the driver. They're not out to get you, they just don't know how to drive. I'm sure you know that driving an RV doesn't call for a special driver's license, even the great big ones that are the size of a Greyhound bus. People in cars and rented RV's were no problem, it was the retirees in their gigantic motor homes that scared me. The one point in your favor is that everybody is out of their comfort zone on those roads, so most people are extra careful. Old Faithful is a pretty crowded area of the park, so you'll have to be extra careful.
Before Memorial Day and after Labor Day the park will be pretty quiet, and the roads will be more pleasant to ride on. It can get very cold at those times, though, so bring warm cycling clothing. I remember getting caught in a snowstorm in mid May when I was just out on a day ride from Old Faithful.
In spite of the rotten roads and scary RV drivers, I had a great time riding my bike in the park, and I hope you do the same.