Cycling the Loneliest Road in America
Crossing Nevada Along Highway 50
The route through Nevada from Fallen to Ely was termed “The Loneliest Road in America” by a Life Magazine photographer because of the barren landscape, the few towns along the way and the lack of people who would want to make the journey.
While the route may be vast and bare, there are some spectacular wide vistas to experience and the quiet roads make for excellent peaceful riding conditions.
The Pony Express
“Wanted: Young Skinny Wiry Fellows, not over eighteen. Must be expert riders willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred. wages $25 per week. Apply Central Overland Express”.
This advert appeared in 1860 as the Pony Express opened, aiming to provide an express mail service from the East to the West by fast young riders dashing across the country. Stations every 60 miles or so would provide a 2 minute stop to change horses before the riders were off again, into the distance.
This feels surprisingly fitting as we set off on our bikes across the wilderness. Though luckily the Lincoln Highway which was based upon the original Pony Express route is a lot safer and easier than the original route.
Basins and Ranges
The geology of the area has resulted in ranges tending to run north to south. Travelling east along highway 50 means crossing several ranges and basins each day. The repeating pattern of climbing 1000ft then descending slowly before crossing a large flat basin and beginning to climb again can be exhausting. The views from the top of the ranges are stunning though, and the gentle descents can cover 10 miles giving you the chance to sit back and cruise down the other side.