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Road Biking in Death Valley National Park

For some years I’ve wanted to bike the roads in Death Valley National Park in February, when the temperatures are cool to mild, and this year I finally did so.

Due to my photo tour schedule, I made two night rides with brilliant stars form the Furnace Creek area to south of Badwater— enjoyable, but with a wind that seemed to blow in both directions! On my bar were two Lupine Betty 1800-lumen headlamps, and an 1850-lumen Lupine Betty II. On those two rides on two days, I saw one car in the 8:30 - 10:00 pm time frame.

On the 3rd day, the latent sinus/chest infection that I brought with me evaporated any hope of biking more, or even hiking more than a short distance— pretty wiped out in terms of energy. So a major bummer there.

But what I found was that while the scenery is fantastic, the roads are less enjoyable, because the pavement is composed of crushed rock glued together with tar—with an emphasis on crushed rock, not smooth at all, and so never quiet and smooth for riding, and never all that comfortable. Certainly it’s fine for riding, but not gleefully smooth like good asphalt can be, and you’re aware of this especially when descending. It probably wears out tires rapidly also.

Shown below is the road approaching Wildrose.

Headed towards Wildrose in Death Valley National Park
Very coarse pavement structure composed of crushed rock

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