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Black Hills of South Dakota - Ride Advice Needed(9 posts)

Black Hills of South Dakota - Ride Advice NeededScot_Gore
Feb 2, 2003 8:22 PM
The family vacation is planned and the reservations are made AND I'm bringing the bike!!!!

The family and I are going to the Black Hills in South Dakota for a week this summer. I've been there before but I wasn't looking at the roads with an eye to ridablity in my head. If others have biked the area could you give me your thoughts on road conditions, traffic, shoulders, areas to avoid, areas not to miss, etc.

In my trip there before, I recall sharing the roads with lots of motor homes, that was hard in my car. I also had a close encounter with an entire herd of buffalo that would have been a whole different kind of experience on the bike. Are the wild (?) donkeys on the wilderness loop any concern, they had no fear of people or cars the last time I was there and were quite aggressive in their search for hand outs.

We are staying 5 miles west of Mount Rushmore on 244 (at the KOA if you know the area).

Here's two routes I want to do:
The Wilderness Loop in Custer State Park

A ride down to Wind Cave:

It was on this route in 1994 that we ran into a herd of hundreds of Bison moving north right at the border between Custer and Wind Cave NP. They were moving through the gap in the hills and literially surrounded us while moving at a trot. It was stunning but probably would have been less so without a ton of steel around us.

Thanks in advance

re: Black Hills of South Dakota - Ride Advice Neededjtolleson
Feb 2, 2003 8:40 PM
I've ridden most of those roads; my partner is from Rapid City. We took a day and did the base route of the Mt Rushmore century (past Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore), through small towns and such and it was the best one-day riding I've ever done I think. The spacing of the small towns and mini-marts made it good terrain for a self-supported century.

Stop into Two Wheeler Dealer and they can give you the route.
re: Black Hills of South Dakota - Ride Advice NeededAndy M-S
Feb 3, 2003 6:35 AM
I was in Custer a couple of years ago, and it looked like an ideal place for a ride--early on a weekday morning would probably be ideal. My only concern, like yours, would be the Bison population, though I did see some folks pass through a herd on a motorcycle(!). My family was quite happy to stay in the van while we let them pass, but I suspect that as long as you were willing to stay pretty much put while they crossed the road, you'd be OK. You just don't want to get between mother and child out there.
re: Black Hills of South Dakota - Ride Advice NeededDream plus
Feb 3, 2003 9:02 AM
While our family was camping in Custer State Park in 1996, I rode the park loop. I did have to stop and wait for the bison herd to decide what it wanted to do. I was able to ride through with a couple of cars as chaperones. Another hazard was the wild burrows. It was never a scary situation though. I could always have just ridden back the way I came.
The scenery is great, the people are extremely nice but don't see many bicycles. I guess that applies to the wildlife too. Remember that the elevation will be significant too > 5000'.
re: Black Hills of South Dakota - Ride Advice NeededDorf411
Feb 3, 2003 11:06 AM
I am assuming that you will be riding a road bike but you may want to consider the George Mickelson Trail which is a 100+ mile route from Edgememont to Deadwood. You can find information on the George Mickelson trail by doing an internet search. They also have information about local bike shops and tour services that could recommend good routes. I would be leary of many of the roads which don't have adequate shoulders and are narrow as I recall them from when I was a kid. I too plan to return to South Dakota this summer for vacations and will be taking my bike, I can hardly wait.

re: Black Hills of South Dakota - Ride Advice NeededScot_Gore
Feb 3, 2003 2:13 PM
What's Mickelson like to ride on with a road bike ?

I'll be running 700x23's. The long crushed limestone trail near me (Luce Line in MN) is pretty hard to take with 23's.

You can do it.jtolleson
Feb 3, 2003 4:57 PM
Add a sturdy touring tire if you can, but it is packed smooth enough. Can you fit a 25 (or even 28) with a little tread?
Not sureScot_Gore
Feb 3, 2003 6:07 PM
It's a Specialized Allez Comp. A 25 will probably fit, a 28 I wonder about. I'll ask at the LBS.

Thanks again
Call me nutz, but...Willz
Feb 3, 2003 5:39 PM
try this:

1. Hope for no Moon conditions.
2. At about 10:00 P.M., get in your car and drive out away from any city lights - get out away a few miles.
3. Look up.

If the Moon is not out, you will then understand where Carl Sagan came up with "billions and billions" of stars. I have been out there several times (Sturgis Rally) and vacation with wife and kids. That area of the U.S. is one of the least light polluted areas which makes for just an incredible view.

Hope you have a safe and fun trip.