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Riding Highway 74

Old 04-16-17, 09:29 PM
  #1  
juanebici
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Riding Highway 74

Hello,

I am going to Palm Desert for a few days and am looking for some 30 - 50 mile rides. I see that Highway 74 is a popular climb. How is the highway? Would you suggest ride up on a weekday or on a Saturday, traffic wise.
Any other ideas are welcomed.

Thank you,

Juan
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Old 04-17-17, 07:06 AM
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I just drove on it last Saturday... I wouldn't recommend it at all for some reasons:

1. Narrow road - It's pretty narrow and there's no way for anyone to pass cyclist on shoulder.
2. Crazy drivers, especially motorcyclist - I must have seen lot lot of brake marks all over on the road. People seems to drive very impatiently and I have pulled at turn out point several times and I wasn't even drive slowly!

That's what I seen. I have not seen any cyclist on that HWY last Saturday.
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Old 04-17-17, 11:03 PM
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hwy 74 is not recommended for cycling south/past the last car turnout just past the san jacinto national monument visitor
center, which is where the road goes from dead straight to wiggly. zero shoulder, decent amount of fast traffic and generally
horrible sightlines for drivers for much of its length until the junction with hwy 371 near anza. that said, people do ride it-usually
to the first vista point overlooking the coachella valley. the descent is a blast.
if i had to do it during the week, it's best to ride it uphill early-before 10am. during the weekend, i'd do it before 8am. starting to
warm up out there too so mornings are your friend. it's never steep but a consistent 4-6%. if you have rear blinking lights, i'd
use all of them for the ascent along with the brightest/ugliest kit you've got.

in palm desert, the bottom part of hwy 74-south/uphill from hwy 111 or el paseo up to the bighorn area just before the wiggly
part of 74 is a decent climb in its own right. you can incorporate that along with the steep & shortish west end of frank sinatra dr
in neighboring rancho mirage for some climbing. the la quinta cove area is scenic but not especially strenuous.

on the other side of the 10 freeway, 1000 palms road is prob the most scenic road in the valley and is a decent little climb.
it is accessible from ramon or washington aves.

i actually enjoy rolling thru palm springs the most out of the desert cities. tram road is a really stiff climbfest for a few miles
and a screaming descent. the area south of tram road and west of hwy 111 (palm canyon rd) in palm springs is chock full of
palm springs modern architecture with the houses and some beautiful spanish style stuff tucked up against the mountain as
well-if that's your thing. plenty of coffee places and breakfast/lunch places to grub.

sunnylands (off bob hope dr) in rancho mirage is also worth visiting by bike (open thurs-sun).

the streets in the coachella valley are gridlike so it's pretty hard to get lost. head from one side of the valley to the other and
you'll eventually run into with the 10 freeway or hwy 111.

if you have access to a car, (via the west entrance off of hwy 62) joshua tree national park is approx an hour drive. the hidden valley
area of jtnp via the west entrance is more scenic than anything that you'll encounter in the coachella valley. it's also pretty flat.

Last edited by ooga-booga; 04-17-17 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 04-18-17, 12:06 AM
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Thank you very much for the great info! That should give me a great start!
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Old 04-18-17, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by juanebici View Post
Thank you very much for the great info! That should give me a great start!
riding from palm desert to palm springs and back is approx 40 miles for a frame of reference.
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Old 04-18-17, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by ooga-booga View Post
if you have access to a car, (via the west entrance off of hwy 62) joshua tree national park is approx an hour drive. the hidden valley
area of jtnp via the west entrance is more scenic than anything that you'll encounter in the coachella valley. it's also pretty flat.
If you do want to do some climbing ride up to Keys View.

I wouldn't recommend JTNP for the weekend though. The weekend traffic, especially in peak flower season (now) can be pretty bad with plenty of distracted tourists.
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Old 04-22-17, 05:17 PM
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Avoid 74 especially right now due to coachalla fest and stagecoach traffic. It's nuts. Alternatively, park in Mecca at the Arco gas station, ride up box canyon, under the 10, and into Jtree national park.
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