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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Sometimes, More is More

The Black Hills BackBone. Go big. Go remote. Go for it.

More? The Black Hills DoubleBackBone.

Really? An even longer route? What prompted that? The DoubleBackBone is simply the result of my way of problem solving. 

Spanning the height of the State of South Dakota on 310 miles of back country gravel and dirt roads, the Black Hills BackBone showcases the remote ruggedness of Western South Dakota. It also creates a host of challenges for the adventurous cyclist. One not to overlook is just getting to the start at NoWhere, North Dakota and from the finish at NothingThere, Nebraska. From Rapid City, it's a three hour drive one way to the start and two hours one way from the finish.

How to eliminate those long shuttle drives? Make the route into a loop and start where convenient.

Imagine, if you will, riding along the original Black Hills BackBone route to the stop sign finish at the Nebraska border. Celebrate the moment, but then head west onto Dakota Line Road to access the Wild, Wild Western reaches of the Black Hills. A serpentine network of barely used gravel and dirt roads wind generally north for a return up O'Neil Pass, before dropping onto the Northern Prairie to the North Dakota border.

Now, that's one big, bad ride. Over 640 miles, all told.

The Black Hills DoubleBackBone. Go bigger. Go more remote. Go for more.

Out there. Somewhere. On the Black Hills DoubleBackBone.
Sometimes, more is more. More rolling prairie patrolled by herds of cattle, buffalo, pronghorn and elk. More obscure canyons scoured by flash floods. More twisty ridge lines climbing to soaring views. More hills stuffed with pine and aspen. More dirt near-roads connecting with secondary Forest Service gravel. And even more remote than the easterly side of the loop, which is a bit hard to believe until you're out there. Get you some of that!

The Black Hills DoubleBackBone, like the original BackBone, is just a route that I think is fun and challenging, however one chooses to experience it. Solo or group. One continuous ride, a series of days or in sections over time. Self-supported, shuttled or fully supported. Maybe some combination or even all of the above.

For cue sheets for the entire Black Hills DoubleBackBone route, follow this link. DoubleBackBone Cue Sheets. For some ideas on how to approach the 640 mile route, go to this post. DoubleBackBone Daydreams. For pictures and other details along the route, go the posts in early 2018, including NothingThere, NE to EdgemontEdgemont to Jewell CaveJewell Cave to O'Neil PassO'Neil Pass to Camp Crook Road (part 1)O'Neil Pass to Camp Crook Road (part 2)Camp Crook Road to NoWhere, ND.

The Black Hills DoubleBackBone. Go bigger. Go more remote. Go for more.


  1. I'll have to look at this a bit more when time permits, looks interesting.

  2. It's about 640 miles, all told. I'm thinking probably 5-6 days for me to ride it self-supported, depending on the weather. If I can't get that kind of time off, I'll probably ride in in chunks, or loops. The roads north of Edgemont up to O'Neil Pass are something to behold.