|The Joshua Tree|
During that drive, I had begun to think of the national park as a destination for a cycling excursion, although the route we took promised several hours of unrelenting climbing. My next trip to the park was with a friend who is an avid hiker. We drove 20 minutes from the northwest park entrance on relatively flatter roads to hike up Ryan Mountain. My appetite for cycling in the park was tantalized with this closer access and less challenging climbs.
Getting thereWe drove 45 minutes north from Palm Springs and entered the park at its northwest gate.
|North from Palm Springs|
|North and east on Highway 62|
- North from Palm Springs on North Indian Canyon Drive.
- Indian Canyon Drive crosses Interstate 10 and continues along the west side of Desert Hot Springs.
- North Indian Canyon Drive curves west and ends at an intersection with Highway 62 (also signed as 29 Palms Highway).
- Turn right onto Highway 62, on which you continue north and northeast through a pass to the community Morongo Valley.
- Stay on Highway 62 through the communities of Palm Wells, Little Morongo Heights, and up a long pass to the town of Joshua Tree.
- Turn right at Park Road, for which there is one brown national parks sign on the right.
- You can buy a Senior Pass at the Visitor Center, which is on the right about a block after your turn.
- Continue on Park Boulevard as its name changes to Quail Springs Road.
- After about 4 miles, stop at the Gatehouse to pay entrance or show your Senior Pass.
- The first opportunity for parking and unloading bikes is a gravel turnout, about 1.5 miles from the Gatehouse, on the left side of the road.
8 March 2015My first return to the park for cycling was with a group of visiting cyclists from New York's OutCycling (Wallace, Graham, Conrad, and Mike). We each rode at our own pace and distance, and I was plagued with three flats. So I was on my own, riding Deep Forest, my Serotta Colorado 48x15 fixie.
I had a flat in the first mile, and I returned to the car to use a floor pump. I flatted again at about 14 miles, and flatted again shortly after replacing the tube. It was then that I found a cactus needle that had been flexible enough to bend and be undetected with finger movement inside the tire. My frame pump left my tire a bit soft, and I flagged down Mike and others as they passed, who supplied a CO2 cartridge for full pressure.
|26-mile out-and-back road ride beyond Ryan Mountain|
Playback of the ride
10 February 2016More recently I rode with John Sickel, who is living here for the winter. He seems to be game for any new location for a ride, and he's as willing as I to try something new. I rode Blue, my Lotus Legend 48x16 fixie.
We toured most of the turn-offs for attractions in the park, including a long slog uphill to view Keys' Point. But after about 25 miles, John turned back while I explored further toward the 29 Palms gatehouse. I hoped to bike a metric century, and I calculated my turnaround to achieve close to that.
|61-mile road ride out-and-back Y|
|The view from Keys' Point|
|John Sickel at the portion of Pleasant Valley|
My return was dogged at best, though I arrived at the car only a few minutes after John. But my calculations were off, so I asked John to follow me with the car and to pick me up after surpassing 61 miles of riding. (As it was, my conversion from miles to kilometers was off, and my ride still was 2 km short of a metric century.)
Playback of the ride