KEYSTONE, S.D. (KELO) — The scenic roads of the Black Hills are full of twists and turns.
Few areas have as many as the area known as ‘the pigtails’ south of Keystone. This area features blind turns, one way tunnels and loops, all of which make attentive driving a must.
With thousands of bikes on the roads, KELOLAND News set out with a Pennington County Sheriff’s Office deputy to clock speeds through this beautiful but challenging route.
“We try to make sure everyone is driving safely,” said Pennington County Deputy Sheriff Alit Whittle. “We run radar — see in areas if people are going too fast, and if that’s the case, then we’ll make a stop and address the speed.”
Speed, however, wasn’t really much of an issue in this stretch of the hills, with most bikers clocking in under 20 miles per hour.
“Well you have to,” said Cory Brown, a motorcyclist who grew up in the Hills. “If you go any quicker, you’re not going to stay on the road.”
“That’s about all you can get through there. I wouldn’t want to go any faster,” echoed Justin Young, another motorcyclist who was from Michigan.
This attitude was showcased by the care we saw taken as drivers rounded turns and crossed through tunnels.
“Most of them are here to have a good vacation and see the beautiful Black Hills, so they’re pretty respectful of the speeds, and with all the switchbacks — it’s hard for them to go fast on those,” Whittle said.
Indeed, over the course of a 4-hour ride-along, we made one speeding stop — a Lincoln from Tennessee doing 61 in a 45. They hadn’t even known the Rally was going on.
Deputy Whittle gave them a warning.
Overall, the roads were crowded yet calm. For those coming in from out of town, one of the riders we met had a suggestion for the perfect ride.
“Start at the Needles, and then roll through Custer, and after Custer come up the Iron Horse, and then head into Keystone for a good steak.”