Cycling through the state of South Dakota takes time; it is a wide state and there isn’t a whole lot going on there. The University of Mines is in a pretty big town with full services, including a taxi service which we used to get supplies. Once we left Rapid City, the landscape quickly gave way to more sparsely populated countryside with very few people, limited cell services and very few towns along the way. South Dakota’s economy, so far as we have seen, has a hefty tourism segment because of the parks and lots of agriculture and farming industries.
The day started out early with a group photo and then breakfast at the University cafeteria. We headed out for a century ride through rolling hills as we made our way into the Badlands National Park. The “mapmyride” report gave us an average speed of 15.5 mph with the duration taking about 6 hours and 37 minutes to ride. The e-bike used two full batteries and was just starting on the third battery when we pulled into Kadoka.
The bike ride was not difficult even though the mileage was 102. The wind was slight and the terrain was mostly flat. The Badlands are dried up sandstone riverbeds that are mostly abandoned.
Badlands National Park is a national park in southwestern South Dakota that protects 242,756 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires blended with the largest undisturbed mixed grass prairie in the United States. The park is managed by the National Park Service. The park has several tourist spots where you can walk between the sand pillars and touch the crumbling rock towers that dot the earth. There are several large fields of grass within the park, but generally it is like being on the moon. The rock formations are very unusual and it taps the imagination to wonder how this place came to be at an elevation of just over 3000 feet.