Nevada’s Highway 50 by Bicycle

By Leonie Sherman

The first time I drove Highway 50 through Nevada was in January almost a decade ago. The mercury hovered at 18 below. I think we saw four other cars in seven hours. We stopped to gawk at hundred mile vistas of open rangeland and snow-capped peaks without even bothering to pull over. The only sound was from our humming car and wind whistling through our down parkas. We crossed 12 mountain ranges, rising like rocky waves from an ocean of sage. I knew I had to bike it. A lonely road is a bike-friendly road.

In 1986, Life magazine and the American Automobile Association (AAA) called Nevada’s 408 miles of Highway 50—the road stretches almost 3,000 miles from Sacramento to Ocean City, Maryland—“The Loneliest Road in America.” “It’s totally empty,” the magazine quoted an unnamed AAA counselor as saying. “We don’t …