Bighorns South Pass on 16

Road Rube Rides

Bighorns South Pass

Wyoming

The switchbacks on both ends of the ride remind you that you are climbing or descending. The rest is mostly driving at highway speed through the splendor of the top of a mountain range.

Road Rube

Distance: 62 miles

Time: 1 hour 9 minutes

Ride Rating
4.5/5
Scenery
4.7/5

Bighorns south pass is a mountain ride without feeling like being in the mountains

The Road

Highway 16 between Buffalo and Ten Sleep.

The Ride

There are two points on 16 between Buffalo and Ten Sleep that feels like a mountain ride. I mean, aside from the mountainous terrain surrounding you on the road. The switchbacks on both ends of the ride remind you that you are climbing or descending. The rest is mostly driving at highway speed through the splendor of the top of a mountain range. The scenery is outstanding. And the roads are good. It’s a great option. I don’t want to compare the north and the south passes of the Bighorns, so my recommendation is to ride both of them when you are in Wyoming.

The Bottom Line

Excellent ride. It should be a part of your ride plan if you are planning to go to the Yellowstone area.

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Newcastle WY to Lead SD

Road Rube Rides

Newcastle WY to Lead SD

Wyoming/South Dakota

It blends terrific scenery and fun, curvy roads at essentially highway speeds. That makes it one of my favorites.

Road Rube

Distance: 50 miles

Time: 55 minutes

Ride Rating
4.7/5
Scenery
4.7/5

Newcastle WY to Lead SD is a beautiful ride

The Road

From Newcastle, WY, follow 85 North to Lead, SD.

The Ride

The ride from Newcastle to Lead is a beautiful ride. The scenery provides all the stunning forest and hills of the Black Hills on a road that isn’t a main thoroughfare to attractions in the Black Hills. The roads are in good shape and wind through open countryside on the Wyoming side and then the curves tighten up as you get closer to Lead. The speed limit is fairly consistent throughout the ride until you get deeper into the South Dakota hills.

The Bottom Line

It’s tough to play favorites when discussing roads in the Black Hills. This stretch is all of the good parts of riding the area with less tourist traffic. It blends terrific scenery and fun, curvy roads at essentially highway speeds. That makes it one of my favorites. I’ll leave it at that.

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Bighorns Burgess Junction to Shell Ride

Road Rube Rides

Bighorns Burgess Jct to Shell

Wyoming

It may be a better pure motorcycle road, but it lacks a little bit of the mountain riding feel that the northern ends offer. 

Road Rube

Distance: 31 miles

Time: 40 minutes

Ride Rating
4.4/5
Scenery
4.4/5

Burgess Junction to Shell is the expressway of the Bighorns

The Road

From Burgess Junction to Shell on 14. This section of road in the Bighorns is really an option for riders heading through the northern part of the Bighorns. It can be the continuation of 14A from the west or a continuation of 14 from the east.

The Ride

The scenery on this section is a lot of open range and some easy-going twists and curves as it winds out of the mountains. The speed is consistent throughout and does not have the feeling of mountain riding. It feels like the expressway of the mountains.

The Bottom Line

It’s a worthwhile ride. I prefer the switchbacks on 14A and the feeling of awe that it inspires as it descends. This segment is a fun ride too. It’s just a different feel. There are great curves as it winds out of the mountains. It may be a better pure motorcycle road, but it lacks a little bit of the mountain riding feel that the northern ends offer. 

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Bighorn North Pass 14A

Road Rube Rides

Bighorn Northern Pass 14A

Wyoming

Distance: 57 miles

Time: 1 hour 13 minutes

Ride Rating
4.3/5
Scenery
4.7/5

Bighorn Mountains Northern Pass on 14A is mountain riding without the mountain feel

The Road

Starting 20 miles east of Lovell on 14A to Dayton.

The Ride

The road rises sharply uphill on switchbacks on both the eastern and western sides of the pass. I went from west to east starting 20 east of Lovell. High rising rocky peaks line and evergreens line the road as you ascend into the mountains. Then it opens up to open range and forest land at highway speeds.

The Bottom Line

It’s beautiful scenery and good roads at highway speeds. What’s not to like. Mountain riding often involves sharp switchbacks and steep views, but the Bighorns offer the best of mountain riding without the stresses of traditional mountain riding. This is just a good motorcycle road and it happens to be on top of a mountain range.

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Chief Joseph Scenic Byway 296

Road Rube Rides

Chief Joseph Scenic Byway

Wyoming

It's awesome.

Road Rube

Distance: 45 miles

Time: 57 minutes

Ride Rating
4.9/5
Scenery
4.8/5

Chief Joseph Scenic Byway 296 is awesome. Period.

If I were to put together a perfect combination of speed, twists and turns, and scenery, I would use Chief Joseph Scenic Byway 296 as the model. It runs from 15 miles east of Cooke City, Montana off the Beartooth Highway and culminates about 20 miles outside of Cody, Wyoming. It is one of my favorites rides in the country.

The Road

Take Wyoming 296 south off of the Beartooth Highway 45 miles. 

The Ride

The combination of having a 65-mph speed limit to open up the bike and terrific twists and turns, switchbacks, and sweeping, majestic scenery makes this ride at the top of my awesome scale. The ride makes you shift through the gears up and down, twisting the throttle back and shifting up to speed out of curves and up hills. Then it drops and makes you downshift and let the motor take you down the hills. And repeat. But it’s not repeat as in being repetitive – it’s just using all your riding skills in different and interesting and beautiful ways. Did I mention awesome? It’s awesome.

The Bottom Line

Um…awesome.

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Billings Loop

Road Rube Rides

Billings Loop

Montana

There's nothing challenging about it, but there are fun aspects to it. It's not a must-ride-when-in-Montana ride, but it is a mental getaway that allows you to stretch out the bike a little bit.

Road Rube

Distance: 31 miles

Time: 39 minutes

Ride Rating
4/5
Scenery
3.8/5

Billings Loop is good for a lazy day of riding out in the open range

The Road

Harden Road or Old Highway 87 south out of Billings to Pryor Road west to State Secondary Highway 416 north.

The Ride

This is a nice breezy comfortable ride. Just a quick 30-mile jaunt to get out of the city and into the open range. There are a few curves and a couple nice straightaways. This ride is perfectly lonely. There isn’t much traffic and it’s a nice getaway.

The Bottom Line

This is a free-your-mind ride. There’s nothing challenging about it, but there are fun aspects to it. It’s not a must-ride-when-in-Montana ride, but it is a mental getaway that allows you to stretch out the bike a little bit.

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Beartooth Highway

Road Rube Rides

beartooth Highway

Montana/Wyoming

The Beartooth Highway immerses you directly into the middle of the purple mountains majesty. Photos and video don't do it justice.

Road Rube

Distance: 64 miles

Time: 1 hour 44 minutes

Ride Rating
4.7/5
Scenery
5/5

Beartooth Highway goes to the top of the world, then a little higher

There are many ways to enjoy riding your motorcycle. Speed, curves and twists, scenery, etc. I even enjoy a lonely western U.S. Interstate early in the morning when I have the road mostly to myself. Beartooth Highway manages to balance incredible scenery with challenging and fun twists interspersed with short straightaways to shift through the gears a little bit.

The Road

Take Highway 212 out of Red Lodge heading west and follow it through the mountains to Cooke City, Montana. The road goes through Wyoming on the southern end. The road is in great condition for 95 percent of the ride. There are some slightly rough areas about 40 miles in…unless you drive from Cooke City – then just reverse this.

The Ride

The Beartooth Highway immerses you directly into the middle of the purple mountains majesty. Photos and video don’t do it justice. The towering behemoths rising above you outside of Red Lodge is awe-inspiring. And then you slowly wind your way above them. You see vehicles driving on roads high above you as you turn on switchbacks. Then you get to the top and see patches of snow and stunning valleys and canyons below. But then you go higher until you suddenly wind up on a stretch of road that looks like eastern Montana. The temperature has dropped significantly, but the unfolding scenery seems to make it insignificant. Then you descend through switchbacks outlined with rocky formations and back into the forest. Incredible. 

The Bottom Line

This is a must ride. It is not as challenging as riding up Pike’s Peak and it is not as steep feeling as the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park. This is a comfortable and challenging ride. It is amazing scenery along with a really nicely laid out road. Awesome.

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SR 450 Bedford to Shoals

Road Rube Rides

SR 450 Bedford to Shoals

Indiana

This is a very good ride. It has S curves, twists, and short straightaways that go through tunnels of trees, fields, farms and hills.

Road Rube

Distance: 24 miles

Time: 39 minutes

Ride Rating
4.5/5
Scenery
4.4/5

SR 450 Bedford to Shoals provides the feel of mountain riding in southern Indiana

The Road

Take SR 450 out of Bedford and follow it southeast to Shoals.

The Ride

SR 450 from Bedford to Shoals is a gem of a road. This is a road that I will drive to just to take my bike on it again. This is a very good ride. It has S curves, twists, and short straightaways that go through tunnels of trees, fields, farms and hills. It is supremely fun to ride. The only thing that takes away from the ride is the road repair that left horizontal lines of class 5 in strips across the road (July 2019). They’re easy to spot, but take them slowly.

The Bottom Line

The clutch cable on my bike snapped in Bloomington and local rider Anthony stopped on the side of I-69 to help out and he recommended this ride before he knew I had ridden it earlier that day. It’s not a secret locally, but it’s awesome. Hopefully it won’t be a secret much longer. And, by the way, thanks again Anthony.

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SR 150 East Shoals to Paoli

Road Rube Rides

SR 150 East Shoals to Paoli

Indiana

It's got curves that can be taken at speed and changes in scenery that take you through the woods and open fields. There are great views of the southern Indiana hills. And, oh, did I mention that it twists and turns just right. 

Road Rube

Distance: 21 miles

Time: 29 minutes

Ride Rating
4.3/5
Scenery
4.3/5

SR 150 East Shoals to Paoli is a great motorcycle road

The Road

Take State Road 150 East from Shoals to Paoli.

The Ride

Southern Indiana is not widely known for its motorcycle rides. At least, it wasn’t to me before taking some of these rides. Shoals to Paoli is an excellent motorcycle road. It’s got curves that can be taken at speed and changes in scenery that take you through the woods and open fields. There are great views of the southern Indiana hills. And, oh, did I mention that it twists and turns just right. 

The Bottom Line

If you’re traveling through Indiana, find your way to Paoli or Shoals and let it rip.

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Connersville Run

Road Rube Rides

Connersville Run

Indiana

The Connersville Run highlights the hilly terrain of southeastern Indiana. There are sharp curves that wind through the woods and fields and hills.

Road Rube

Distance: 29 miles

Time: 45 minutes

Ride Rating
4.4/5
Scenery
4.3/5

Connersville Run features sharp curves, hills, fields and forest

The Road

Take State Road 121 from Connersville south.

The Ride

The hills and curves on SR 121 are excellent. The Connersville Run highlights the hilly terrain of southeastern Indiana. There are sharp curves that wind through the woods and fields and hills.

The Bottom Line

The Connersville Run is a road reminiscent of riding through the Smokey Mountains or Ozarks without the extreme elevation changes. It’s a fun ride that is worth taking when in the area.

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