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  1. #1
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    Biking on US 50?

    Out a wondering of thought (and an idea of doing the whole thing) does anyone know this the whole road is legal to ride on or only some sections? also if anyone had road on it what are the road conditions like and what are some things to watch out for.

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    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    There are numerous areas where US 50 is concurrent with an interstate highway. Not likely to be legal the entire way.

    Though, it is legal the entire way in Colorado, even the section at the far west edge of the state concurrent with I-70.

    Curious, why US 50?
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    I wouldn't want to ride on U.S. 50 in CA. Actually, you can't ride it until a bit past Sacramento, but the freeway portions would be the least of your worries. Lots of Yo-Yo drivers, limited or no shoulder with some tight curves and descent inclines would be a recipe for road pizza with you as the topping.

    If you were looking into U.S. 50 because of its length, maybe you should try U.S. 20 (starts in OR). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_20 Except for the gap in Yellowstone, it apparently goes coast-to-coast, although there appear to be a few freeway issues on it too.

  4. #4
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Clue: this is a world wide forum. Though "US 50" is probably in the US, most of us don't know even what state you're in.
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    I think he's asking about riding route 50 coast to coast. It extends from CA to MD.

    OP, I've driven many parts of it. It is concurrent with at least one interstate as noted above and illegal for bikes in some other parts like going across the bridge over the Cheaspeake Bay. You would have to do a lot of planning and find non-interstate alternatives.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

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    I would just go with one of the Adventure Cycling routes. The thought of constant noise from cars and trucks for over a month just isn't something I could tolerate.

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    Randomhead
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    I moved this to touring because I figure there are likely to be more people here that know about routes

  8. #8
    The Rock Cycle eofelis's Avatar
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    Several years ago on a bike tour in western Colorado we were riding a section of Hwy 50 (heading west) and stopped at a picnic area in Cimmaron, CO (near Montrose). Another bike tourist pulled in there. He was on a 'bent pulling a Bob trailer. He was riding Hwy 50, though I don't recall where he said his endpoints were. We all had a fine lunch together and each went on our way.
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  9. #9
    mev
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    Wulf Berg has maintained a US 50 site for a while as well as a newsletter with periodic email updates: http://www.route50.com/ I was getting his email updates for a while because I'd cycled parts of US 50 in the "loneliest road" part of Nevada and let Wulf know. The general impression I have is that like a lot of roads, there are parts that are fine as a major US routes and other parts where US 50 becomes a major highway with busy, high-speed traffic and few shoulders. So, trying to ride all of US-50 would be an awkward choice at times.

  10. #10
    Calamari to go cc_rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mev View Post
    Wulf Berg has maintained a US 50 site for a while as well as a newsletter with periodic email updates: http://www.route50.com/....
    Interesting site. I've lived and/or worked along the northern Virgina stretch of route 50 for most of the past 33 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by mev View Post
    ....and other parts where US 50 becomes a major highway with busy, high-speed traffic and few shoulders....
    Yep. That's the route 50 I know.

    I've thought about driving it coast to coast. Never thought about biking it.

  11. #11
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by savagethespian View Post
    Out a wondering of thought (and an idea of doing the whole thing) does anyone know this the whole road is legal to ride on or only some sections? also if anyone had road on it what are the road conditions like and what are some things to watch out for.
    Look here for a general route description. While US 50 occasionally follows some Interstates, riding on the in the West is legal. While noisy, the shoulders are very wide and not really a problem to ride. The section from Kansas to through Colorado is very ridable and parts of it are quite scenic.

    In La Junta, CO, make sure you do the side trip to Bent's Fort and visit the Koshiri museum in La Junta proper. Also take time to see the Royal Gorge. There lots to do there and lots to waste your money on.

    Big Horn Sheep Canyon (aka the Arkansas River Canyon) can be narrow and has some traffic but I've been seeing lots of tourists along the river lately so it's gaining in popularity.

    Take time to visit the Black Canyon outside Montrose too. Colorado National Monument and Rabbit Valley are worth the diversion too. That takes you out of Colorado and I can't help much past there.
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    Senior Member boomhauer's Avatar
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    hwy 50 in Nevada was hands down my favorite part of my cross country ride.
    Sleep anywhere you want.
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    Ate breakfast with a prostitue in Ely, NV.
    Rode it end to end in Nevada.
    I-80 (to the north) sucked all the traffic away from this road.
    Perfect for a bike.
    However, it's a major traffic route in most other states.

  13. #13
    sharrn
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    Do check out Austin NV if you do this trip. It's a cool little town. There's a small restaurant on the left side of US 50(if your looking west) that has great food. I can't remember the name of it. I used to go there every time I passed through. From the junction of US50 and Hwy 376 there's a good climb up and up and up to get to Austin. From 376S and US50 the elevation there is 6028ft according to Google Earth. The peak is 7487ft. Austin sits at 6630ft. I spent about 12 years living in Northern NV, I'm familiar with almost all of the state except the southern portion of the state south of US 95. US50 through NV would be a good route, but the car's you do see will be doing 70+ typically. I'm not even sure how many times I've driven the whole NV part, but big rig's were never a problem. I remember one time I drove it, I saw 7 cars and one RV across the whole state.

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    I've only ridden US-50 through western Missouri, but it was fine. Four lane divided highway, but with shoulders most of the time, it's the easiest (read: no turns to miss) way to get from Kansas City to Sedalia. A lot of truck traffic, but also ran into a few cyclists who regularly use US-50 for training rides who were very helpful in advising about which parts of the highway had no shoulder - though of course I plowed straight ahead without heeding those warnings.

    Beyond those 60 or 70 miles, though, I have no idea.

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    Unless you have some specific reason for wanting to bike one road from end to end, it's generally better to pick and choose roads looking for traffic, road surface, etc... We cycled the "Pan American Highway" but really weren't on the actual PanAm all that much - mostly we chose other roads that were more suitable for bikes.
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

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    Neil_B
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    Probably not a good idea in WVa. Steep hills, busy fast truck traffic. i wouldn't want to ride it on a bike.
    I'm just trying to be the person my dog thinks I am.

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    LHT v Randonee?

    eofelis: Not to hijack this thread, but I see you list a Surly Long Haul Trucker and a Novara Randonee in your stable.
    Would you care to compare and contrast those two?
    Thanks in advance.
    -NJgh

  19. #19
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    I've ridden on US 50 in Indiana and West Virginia. It's not a pleasant place to ride. I was only on it for a short time to get to quieter roads.

    Even where US 50 is legal to ride on, some of the bridges over rivers and what not may not be. I'm not sure.
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    Thanks for all of the advice and im hearing a lot more negative then positive, anyone know anything about HWY 20

  21. #21
    Fat Guy Rolling dcrowell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by savagethespian View Post
    Thanks for all of the advice and im hearing a lot more negative then positive, anyone know anything about HWY 20
    What is your reason for wanting to riding US Highways? Why not plan a route mostly parallel to the highway on more rural roads. My short time on US 50 was only to get to a rural road. I've never ridden US 20, but I'm familiar with the portion in northern Indiana. It's not horrible, but is busier than parallel roads, then it goes into Chicago. That does not sound like a fun ride.
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  22. #22
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by savagethespian View Post
    Thanks for all of the advice and im hearing a lot more negative then positive, anyone know anything about HWY 20
    I know a little bit about it. One of the ends is nearby, and there is a great Italian restaurant a few miles away. I think after some twists, turns, ups and downs it will take you far away.
    mmmm coffeee!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dcrowell View Post
    What is your reason for wanting to riding US Highways? Why not plan a route mostly parallel to the highway on more rural roads. My short time on US 50 was only to get to a rural road. I've never ridden US 20, but I'm familiar with the portion in northern Indiana. It's not horrible, but is busier than parallel roads, then it goes into Chicago. That does not sound like a fun ride.
    It not that im apposed to back and rural roads I just like the idea of finding a main and direct rout where there is always a main road that I can deviate from as I wish but I still am able to have a point of reference.

  24. #24
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by savagethespian View Post
    It not that im apposed to back and rural roads I just like the idea of finding a main and direct rout where there is always a main road that I can deviate from as I wish but I still am able to have a point of reference.
    I would consider the US highways to be the back roads, for the most part. Most all of them parallel interstate highways. Sometimes they share the road bed with interstates but they really aren't main routes anymore.
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