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From Oklahoma to Santa Monica by bicycle November 28, 2008

Posted by Ron Warnick in Bicycling, Road trips.
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The Daily Oklahoman has a story about Greg Merkel, a recent high-school graduate who lives in Edmond, Okla., who decided to bicycle on Route 66 westward to Santa Monica.

Luckily, he met a German in Clinton, Okla., who also was cycling the route. Together, they made it all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

“The hardest day was going up to Santa Fe which was uphill,” Merkel said. “I don’t know how high the winds were, but we had to pedal going downhill.” [...]

Merkel returned home on a train after riding his bike 1,795 miles.

He said he would like to attempt a cross-country journey again.

“I think it’s the best way to travel. You’re exercising constantly; you’re seeing different places, and you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight,” he said.

Merkel’s story got me thinking — I hope that someone eventually publishes a guidebook on cycling Route 66. It’s obvious there’s a small but growing market for it, and Route 66 imposes enough of its own challenges (unavoidable interstate, rough-surfaced alignments, nasty hills, nearly deserted stretches) that a well-researched guidebook could save a lot of headaches for cyclists.

Comments»

1. Ed W - November 29, 2008

Adventure Cycling is presently working on an interstate bicycling route system. One alignment is along old Route 66.

Jim Ross wrote an excellent book on the various alignments of Route 66 through Oklahoma, surprisingly enough titled “Oklahoma Route 66.” This state has more miles of the original highway than any other, which should be a real draw for bicycling tourism. Some problems for a cycling tourist are following a route through OKC and Tulsa, as well as avoiding some dead ends in western Oklahoma.

Finally, I have a spreadsheet (somewhere) with GPS information on a Route 66 bicycle tour through Oklahoma developed from a route sheet from PAC Tour. I was working on a Route 66 project for the Oklahoma Bicycling Coalition, but simply didn’t have the time to pursue it.

2. Bob - November 30, 2008

A bicycle guide titled “Antique Roads of America: Bicycle Guide for Route 66″ (ISBN 0-9633853-0-5) was published for the road’s 66th anniversary in 1992 by Dan Mahnke; it includes 100 black-and-white photos — some sites no longer around. The guide begins at the Santa Monica pier and goes eastward, but it can also be used east-to-west; there are turn-by-turn directions with detailed mileage and notations of where gas, food, etc. can be obtained. I haven’t seen this book for sale anywhere for years, but now and then a copy is available on Ebay — for considerably more than it’s original $9.95. The author invites comments at PO Box 4203, Panorama City CA 91412-4203 and might have copies available.

3. Ron - November 30, 2008

Good catch, Bob. I wasn’t aware of that book. It probably was out of print by the time I became involved in the road in 2000.

I did find a couple of used copies on Amazon.com for less than $15, however.


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