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Anyone familiar with Overland Park, Kansas area?(11 posts)

Anyone familiar with Overland Park, Kansas area?Wayne77
Jan 15, 2004 3:18 PM
I am considering a job over there. Would be moving from SLC, Utah. If I take the job I'm sure I'll miss the mountains, but not the d@mned snow.

What's the terrain like?

Good biking town?

weather?

Thanks!
lived in Kansas City for 10 yearsDougSloan
Jan 15, 2004 3:27 PM
OP is nice. It more like the terrain west of SLC than east...

It's not perfectly flat, but probably so by mountain standards. Put it this way, if you can climb mountains in a 39x25, you'd never get out of your big ring. You can find an occasional steepness, but then it will be very short. Wind and unpredictable weather is the problem. Go out for a hundred mile ride, and you'd better take a rain jacket, no matter how nice it looks when you start. Also, start agains the wind, so that you get the push coming home.

It can get very, very cold in the winter, and hot and muggy in the summer.

It's mediocre to poor as a biking town. It's really a suburb of Kansas City, which is a horrible biking town, IMO. There will be salt, cinders, gravel, and broken pavement from November to April. There aren't many bike lanes. There are plenty of rednecks with dually pickups and motorhomes. Many roads don't have rideable shoulders.

If biking is a priority, you can still do it, and do lots of it. There are hundreds of better places for that, though.

About 20 miles away is Lawrence, Kansas, where the University of Kansas is. Now, it's much better, naturally, as a college town should be. I'd look into that and commute.

Doug
re: Anyone familiar with Overland Park, Kansas area?Mayday
Jan 15, 2004 4:38 PM
I lived in KC for a while and still work for a company that's based in Johnson County, so I get back to the Overland Park area regularly for meetings and such. There is some decent cycling around Overland Park and Johnson County, but I agree with Doug and would rate the area as fair at best for cycling. There are, however, some good cycling clubs and quite a few cyclists who get out and make the most of it. What I really didn't like is the climate -- very hot and humid in summer, winters that are cold, wet, icy and slushy but without enough snow for winter sports such as XC skiing. The area has some good points too, but if cycling is a high priority for you, and you have other options, at least visit the area and take a critical look around. Good luck.
A bit..OwenMeany
Jan 15, 2004 7:22 PM
Go to Leawood Cycles and talk to Ariel, he runs the Blue River Bike Club.(tell'em John from LA sent you). Or go to Wheelers Bikes on Wornal road, they run the Kansas City Bike Club. I went to Law school in MO. And rode all over the place, pretty much year round too. Generally, it sucks. But I am from CA where I was/am a bit spoiled. All in all you just gotta get used to it. The wind will be your "hills"
re: Anyone familiar with Overland Park, Kansas area?j-son
Jan 15, 2004 7:30 PM
Kansas City in general and Johnson County in particular are below average as cycling friendly cities. But, KC is a midwestern city meaning once you travel a few miles out of town you are in the country. And the riding in rural Kansas and Missouri can be quite beautiful and deceptively difficult.

I would echo Doug's recommendation about checking out Lawrence, which is really a cool small city. Very liberal (at least for this part of the country), progressive and it has an active (if somewhat small) cycling community. Lots of people commute from Lawrence to Johnson County, it's a very easy freeway trip of 20-30 minutes (depending upon where exactly you work). Lawrence is also a funky college town with a unique personality. And Mass. Street is a cool downtown/shopping area. If you are a basketball fan, you can't beat Allen Field House and Jayhawk basketball.

I live in Manhattan, about 70 miles from Lawrence and 90 miles from KC on I-70. The riding in my neck of the Flint Hills is actually good, and quite challenging. While we don't have mountains, we do have endless rolling hills. And wind. Lots and lots of wind. It's not unusual for me to go on a 30 mile ride and not see another rider, and only a handfull of cars. And despite the redneck jokes, Kansas drivers tend to be polite and cautious.

Tough choice, moving here from Salt Lake. Kansas does not have the allure of the West or the breathtaking Utah beauty. But, the people are friendly, housing is cheap and there's nothing really objectionable about living here. Although I would say there is also nothing spectacular. About the weather, you get used to it. Brutal winters. broiling summers, beautiful Springs and falls. And wind, did I mention the wind.

Best of luck in your decision,
Jason
Thanks all for the comments..Greatly appreciated.Wayne77
Jan 15, 2004 8:00 PM
If I do make the move it will be for an offer that I can't pass up. If so, I will sorely miss the Utah canyon rides, and one of the most tranquil/desolate/peacful places I have ever ridden: The roads in an out of the canyons of Moab.

Lawrence does sound like a fun town. I'll definitely check it out.

Thanks!
just moved from OP...C-40
Jan 16, 2004 6:21 AM
I lived in Overland Park for the last 12 years and 22 years in the Kansas City area.

There are plenty of good rural paved roads south of 135th street between Mission road and Ridgeview in Olathe, KS. Housing development has creatd a lot of traffic until you get south of 159th.

Most of my rides went south on Switzer from 129th street. There are good routes to several small towns in the area, such as Stillwell, Louisburg and Gardner. The roads have good pavement, with rolling hills, but very few of the roads have shoulders.

Expect a significant southwest wind most of the time. There's not much protection from the wind riding around the Kansas wheat fields. Also expect high humidity in the summer. Kansas City has one of the highest average humidity levels.

The Kansas City area doesn't get a lot of snow, but there's plenty of cold. Average rainfall is about 37 inches, if I remember my statistics. I hate riding in the rain, so if it's threatening I skip riding.

I wouldn't call OP a great cycling town. No bikes lanes anywhere and the drivers don't have a great respect for cyclists. There are a few bikes paths, but I'd never use them unless it was beneficial for a commuting route.
Im working in OP right NOW.....(but live in MO)funknuggets
Jan 16, 2004 7:51 AM
Wow, I think Doug Sloan took a bitter pill when he replied. Haha.

No, the town is fine and very much like Doug indicated, but they dont really use cinders here much anymore. There are several groups of insanely competitive individuals, and probably 6-10 local teams of varying caliber. There are plenty of mtn bike trails around as the local Earthrider group is really active, and Blue Springs (25 miles to the east of OP) is home to Lahdahl Park, the local mecca of mtn biking.

As for the road riding, Doug is pretty much right, no mtns at all, but as Dale eluded, it is mostly all rolling hills. The overall KC metro has been pretty cycing friendly from my experience and if you go 2-5 miles in any direction, you will find very ridable roads.

There are plenty of races in the area... and the cyclocross scene is getting really big around here as well. Let me know if you need appropriate contacts around the area. Dont think you have to live in OP. I just find it overpriced. You could live in Lees Summit, or Waldo, or Lenexa, or as they mentioned... Lawrence and be just fine.

As I said, if you want contacts... to know about the best Bike Shops, the most active clubs/orgs, what teams to contact, and there are a bevvy of routes you could take just let me know, my email is funknuggets@yahoo.com.

But, alas... they are right... nary a bike lane to be found in the entire metro area... but still it is far better than some I have ridden. C-40 is right for the wind in all seasons except summer, where there is no wind and oppressive humidity.. but you gotta take it all in stride.

KCBC puts on the Tour of KC, where 7-UP showed up last year for both the road race and the Crit, and you are just a mere 4 hours from St. Louis which also has tons of stuff. From a cycling perspective... if you move to OP, you will be FINE, no matter what the naysayers preach... haha

Chris
Thanks!Wayne77
Jan 16, 2004 9:15 AM
I'll definitely email you if I take the job..still waiting to hear about the offer.
no wind in the summer??C-40
Jan 16, 2004 9:35 AM
Not in my experience. There's plenty of wind in the summer. In the morning the wind may be light and the temp moderate, making the humidity worse. In the afternoon the wind usually kicks up pretty good, but it's rarely so strong that you can't ride. I can only remember a few times that I turned around and went home due to the dangersous gusts.

Wait until you get a heat index of 105. I either ride a short route, ride in the morning or skip those days.

One of the things that I've enjoyed about the Denver area is the low humidity, generally lighter winds and lower summer temps.
Good bunch of cyclists there, IMHODale Brigham
Jan 16, 2004 6:48 AM
Wayne:

There are several cycling clubs, many races and organized rides, a good number of weekday and weekend group rides, and lots of competitive and recreational cyclists in the greater KC area. I live about 200 km east of KC (Columbia, MO), and I often travel to KC for races, brevets, and rides. My impression of KC as a town for cyclists is favorable, given the limitations of weather and geography previously noted by others on this thread.

Dale

P.S. Anybody who thinks eastern KS and western MO is all flat just hasn't ridden a 600 km brevet there.