Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Underwood Loop

With the opening of the Omaha pedestrian bridge last year, some new road ride loops into Council Bluffs are now available from Omaha. Some of the old Omaha roadies have known about these routes for years, as have some of the hard core Council Bluffs cyclists. However, I would venture to say that there are a number of folks in Omaha who don't know about these routes at all. I didn't until the past several months. 

With that being the case I wanted to share with y'all a loop that I found that is truly one of the best kept secrets in Omaha cycling (Okay, a bit of exaggeration for dramatic effect). I discovered parts of this loop last year from Rich Riche. Other parts Mark Savery told me about. Other parts I stumbled across myself through Google maps and just plain old exploration.

Beginning from the Iowa side of the pedestrian bridge, this loop is approximately 42.5 miles in length. I'll provide the general directions. I am not smart enough to figure out how to highlight roads on Google maps yet, so I'll just give the directions and you can corroborate it with Google maps (or your GPS) yourself.

When you cross the pedestrian bridge into Iowa, turn left and follow the bike path until it ends at N. 25th St. From there . . .

* Turn right on N. 25th St.
* Turn left on Nash Blvd./Big Lake Rd.
* Turn left on Mynster Springs Rd.
* Turn left on N. Broadway/Old Lincoln Hwy. to Crescent, IA
* At Crescent, IA turn right on Welch St./Badger Ave.
* Turn right on 205th St.
* Turn left on Juniper Rd.
* Turn left on L34
* Turn right on Mahogany Rd. to Underwood, IA (five miles)
* In Underwood, IA turn right on Railroad Hwy./191 (10 miles)
* In Council Bluffs turn right on Birdsley Rd.
* Turn left on Ridge Rd.
* Turn right on Cathy Ln.
* Turn left on Mudhollow Rd.
* Turn left on N. Broadway/Old Lincoln Hwy.
* Turn right on Coit Rd.
* Turn left on Grand Ave.
* Turn right on Delong Ave.
* Turn left on Mynster Springs Rd.
* Turn right on Big Lake Rd./Nash Blvd.
* Turn right on N. 25th St.
* Turn left onto bike path

This route has a nice mix of rolling hills, flats, and insanely steep inclines. When heading north to Crescent keep alert. This section has the most traffic. Heading east out of Crescent there is a nice climb of several miles in length with a very steep hill near the summit. Reminds me a little bit of North Carolina! Mahogany Road into Underwood consists of five miles of rollers. Railroad Hwy. out of Underwood is a ten-mile section that is flat as a pancake, with lotsa' crosswinds, and moderate traffic, depending on the time of day. Birdsley Rd. is a gradual climb that gets very steep toward the top. The summit catches you off-guard. Make sure that you turn left on Ridge Rd. at the top of the hill.  Cathy Lane is a fun descent. Coit Road is a gradual climb that gets steep then levels out on a backbone of the ridge. Descending on Delong Ave. requires a good bit of concentration because of potholes, uneven road surface, and blind driveways.

I hope you get a chance to check out this loop. For variety you can go in a counter-clockwise position. This loop can be lengthened and shortened as well. If you know more about these routes, pass that info along. I'll be curious to get your feedback. Let me know if there are any errors in what I have written. See you on the road!


Blades said...

Use to map your routes. Be sure the click the 'manually' button so you can draw lines on bike routes.

I did this Sunday night while listening to the Lancer playoff away game 3. Here is the map if you care to check it out.

Shim said...

I love this route, the first few times I road it it was still partially gravel.