Timon of Athens, 2013-07-23 14:09:57
Went out for a long ride today. Started at KU’s parking lot, rode the sidewalk along 23rd street and went down Kasold. After some zigging and zagging I finally reached the north end of “Old 59”.

There has been some construction on a culvert underneath the road so it has been closed all summer. Previously I had gone to the edge of the construction zone and zipped 20 feet back to 59. Evidently this put me in a great deal of danger some 200 feet from where and work was going so one of the workers felt the need to yell at me last time. Properly chastened, I followed a gravel road that ended about a mile later with a sever gradient back to the road. I then finished the climb back to Pilot Grove.

After Pilot Grove “Old 59” is a biker’s paradise. Nice wide asphalt road with no traffic almost all the way to Ottawa. Well, almost no traffic. I was passed once in 20 miles.

Previously I have taken the curve of the road over to Eisenhower Road and taken that into Ottawa. Since there was the threat of thunderstorms, I thought it prudent to check out a non-gravel alternative. I took the Stafford Road exit onto “New 59” knowing that there was a connection to the final segment of “Old 59” in about a mile. This also avoided the dogs that like to chase a cyclist on Eisenhower. “New 59” had a nice wide shoulder (about a car lane) so the detour was quick and painless. The last segment of “Old 59″ was long and straight. You could see the road all the way to Ottawa. It was slightly disheartening. It was hard to see progress as you went.

Anyway, made Ottawa and finally took advantage of the bike lanes on Main Street to get to Casey’s by the Old Depot. After a quick Gatorade stop, I was off on the trail. Said to myself ” I will see jcover within 15 minutes.” About 2 miles outside of Ottawa, there he came with his floppy hat and a friend going the other way. I run into him about 75% of the time when I hit the trail. He will outlive us all.

I decided that Princeton would be my turnaround because I was keeping the threat of thunderstorms in the back of my mind. Not much shelter between Lawrence and Ottawa. I have biked in a downpour before, not my favorite. And lightening is a trip stopper.

After stopping at the Subway for a quick lunch in Ottawa, the wind came up. I was getting good 20-30 MPH gusts in my face with a pretty good steady wind also. Needless to say, my average speed plummeted. Luckily, the wind died about an hour and a half later.

Overall, a good 70 mile ride. The trail between Ottawa and Princeton was in good shape. The late summer cracks have started to appear, but nothing that would throw you off your bike.

Timon of Athens, 2013-07-23 14:15:35
Luckily, jcover thoughtfully cleared out the spiderwebs for me.
Jeff Morasco, 2014-03-08 06:13:39
I have tried to look at your route on both Yahoo and Google. Pilot Grove is not listed, but there is a Pleasant Grove and I presume the cartographer simply confused the name.

It looks like a lot of local knowledge is needed on the north part of the trip. Just going straight down 59 from 31 St has too much traffic? Can you use a road bike on the mile of gravel?

Of course, there is no Old “59”. Just E1300 and E1250 running parallel to 59. They run into Eisenhower. It looks like a nice ride and about a 50 mile round trip before getting on the actual trail. I would like to try it this summer. Is there a way of dropping me a personal email?

Timon of Athens, 2014-03-08 08:27:31
You are right. I must have been daydreaming about the KATY when I wrote that. You are also correct that E1300/E1250 is what was Hwy. 59 until about 2 years ago.

Go for a ride? Well, if you insist.

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