Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cycling across Montana, the Dakotas, and Minnesota

Late summer (2011) cross-country cyclists needing last-minute re-routing around the flooded areas in North Dakota might want to try some of the ROAM route, which followed Highway 12. 

The ROAM cross-country cycling tour's large size and tight time-table forced an unusual -- but very lucky -- route choice.  Adventure Cycling's Northern Tier and classic routes were too indirect and didn't offer enough camping space in some regions for 50 or more velomobilists trying to pedal across the whole country in less than a month.  After much online discussion of pros and cons, Josef Janning chose Highway 12 for most of the route west of the Mississippi. 

In a summer plagued by road closures for flooding in North Dakota and heavy truck traffic for oil-drilling, Highway 12 may have been the only viable route for a herd of velomobiles.  It lacks shoulders in many areas, and some of the shoulders have rumble strips down their centers or at intervals all the way across the shoulder, but there was only one detour for a washout;  the velomobiles were able to go north of Hwy 12 on very small roads while the truck traffic was sent 50 miles to the south. 

Downloadable GPS tracks for the Highway 12 route can be found under "The Journey" on the Roll Over America (ROAM) website, or by going to and looking through tracks under Livewombat

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