Weekend Wheeling in Rapid City
The lightly populated South Dakota countryside offers a variety of quiet roads, but services and shelter can sometimes be few and far between. Highways in the Black Hills connecting Rapid City with the most popular tourist destinationsMount Rushmore, Custer State Park, and the Hill City areawill be busier than most bicyclists will tolerate, but the outer reaches of the "Hills" can provide some ideal road riding in rolling terrain with pine-covered slopes.
One moderately challenging introduction to the Black Hills is a 70-mile loop out the Nemo Road from Rapid City. This route will provide over 2,000 feet of elevation gain into the forested backcountry dotted with small ranches. Bring lots of water.
Take South Canyon Road west out of town and continue. It will become Nemo Road, a county highway, which will take you all the way to the village of Nemo. Food and a few other services are available.
You can return to Rapid City at any time on Nemo Road, or continue on to US Highway 385 and turn south. (Deadwood, a colorful old mining town restored with casinos and plenty of other entertainment, lies north on US 385.) Following 385 south for an hour or so will get you to State Highway 44 and an exhilarating ride back down to Rapid City.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication