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  1. #1
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    Los Angeles to Las Vegas by bicycle in January

    Dear Knowledgeable Friends,

    Would love some input on how to get from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in January 2013.

    I've seen conflicting opinions regarding using I-15, but this appears to be the most direct route, which is a plus. Any ideas on the best route from a safety and distance point of view?

    Another factor to consider is the dry cold weather. I'm in good physical shape, but don't do a lot of long distance bike trips, let alone in the winter through the desert. I plan on using a high end racing bike with thin tires, does this make sense?

    Lastly, is anyone interested in making this trip together with me!?! Dates are Jan 4-7 2013.

    Thank you in advance to anyone who shares their experiences / opinions!!

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    You don't have to answer this, but my first thought is ... why? Rowan and I have driven I-15 twice (most recently just a few weeks ago), and it's not exactly an inspirational route by any means. Also, that's about 400 km, maybe more, and the services are rather sketchy.

    That said, you could probably take a variety of roads to Barstow, and then there is a service road/frontage road at least part of the way along side the I-15 which would probably be suitable for cycling. But I'm not sure how far it goes.

    You'd also have to check whether or not bicycles are allowed on the I-15 or I-40, which might be another option.

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    Use Google Maps street view to take a glimpse at several spots along I-15 to get an idea of the road condition and the amount of shoulder.

  4. #4
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    The 1-15 is a decent highway, and the shoulder is fairly decent. But you can cycle on some interstates and not on others.

  5. #5
    Bike touring webrarian
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    This prior thread here might give you some ideas: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...o-to-Las-Vegas
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    The 1-15 is a decent highway, and the shoulder is fairly decent. But you can cycle on some interstates and not on others.
    In California, state law allows cyclists to use freeway shoulders if there's no alternate route within reason. But I-15 may have the shoulders closed in some places due to construction, and freeways are noisy and rather boring to ride on, anyway.

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    get to twentynne palms then find old route 66. it's called the national trails highway or something. it's in poor condition and zero traffic. take it to needles, then there are roads (95) that skirt the colorado river to the west all the way to boulder city.

    most of the roads through the mohave IMO are unattriactive, but the weather should be good...

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    Old route 66(national trails hwy) to goffs road to 95 on a street type bike....or farther north thru Death Valley.

    You can follow 15 on a dirt type bike,there are side roads but they are not good,some are dirt trails.

    Best looking route is thru Death Valley,but there is lots of climbing to do going that route and it's not the shortest.

    Either way,bring extra water.....It can be in the teens and 20's at night.....it can be so windy you can't stand up at times.....be ready.
    Last edited by Booger1; 12-21-12 at 02:31 PM.
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

  9. #9
    Flying and Riding sam21fire's Avatar
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    I work out in that area and drive various parts of I-15 between Barstow and Stateline several times per week. There's a frontage road most of the way from Barstow until just past Harvard Rd. From there to Stateline there are no other alternate routes unless you go through Kelso. LA to Barstow you'll have to stay off the freeway until you pass Victorville. The shoulder is pretty wide for the entire route now but there's a sizeable rumble strip. The main issues to worry about are 1) lack of services- Victorville, Barstow, Baker, Stateline are your only reliable sources of water. Other places may or may not be open or in business on any given day. 2) road debris- there's literally tons of it on the shoulders, everything you can imagine (or not) will be found and a lot of it is bad for your tires. Take plenty of patches and a spare tire. (you won't find any bike repair/parts after Victorville and Barstow). 3) speed- the cars average 85-90 mph, the trucks will run 80+ on the flats and more downhill (I know because my firetruck max's out at 72), the air blast of a passing semi is amazing sometimes and there's often road debris thrown up. They may or may not move away from you but usually not (won't even move over for my warning lights). 4- weather- in January it can be 70's during the day but down in the low 20's at night and the wind almost always blows. The humidity will be less than 10% so dehydration will be a factor. 5- As Machka says...why? That area can be very pretty but I'd go through Kelso for better scenery and quieter roads, although those roads have less shoulder, and often no shoulder.
    Good luck!
    Sam

  10. #10
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    A big big thank you to everyone who so helpfully responded to this inquiry!! Hours of research on google maps has suggested the route that passes through Ft. Irwin maybe the best option.

    It definitely seems like 'no man's land' between Barstow and Vegas. The distance between hotels requires doing 130 miles per day on 2 days. This generally wouldn't be a problem, but with the elevations, and more importantly, wind, I'm a bit skeptical.

    The reason for considering this trip is because I'm going to Vegas for a trade show and had a few days to kill beforehand, so thought about changing things up a bit from the typical flight or bus. That being said after seeing the feedback I may opt for doing LA to SD and then take a more 'traditional' form of transport to LV.

    Happy Holidays to all!

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