U.S. Bicycle Route System expands with 1,253 new miles

The Adventure Cycling Association and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has created 1,253 miles of new U.S. Bicycle Routes along the East Coast. The U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) now encompasses 8,042 miles of routes in 16 states and the District of Columbia.

The new routes include USBR 1 in Massachusetts and Florida, USBR 10 in Michigan, USBR 11 in Maryland, and USBR 90 in Florida. Realignments were also approved for USBR 76 and USBR 1 in Virginia, which were originally designated in 1982.

The U.S. Bicycle Route System is a developing national network of numbered and signed bicycle routes that connect people, communities, and the nation.

Similar to emerging international networks, such as Europe’s EuroVelo network and Quebec’s La Route Verte, the U.S. Bicycle Route System provides important recreational and transportation options for the active traveler. Currently, more than 40 states are working to develop route corridors into official U.S. Bicycle Routes to be approved by AASHTO.

The network is expected to soon become the largest network of cycling routes in the world.

New routes

U.S. Bicycle Route 1 in Florida (584.4 miles)

U.S. Bicycle Route 1 follows Florida’s Atlantic coast from Key West to Jacksonville, where it ends at the Georgia State Line. Much of USBR 1 follows the East Coast Greenway and Adventure Cycling Association’s Atlantic Coast Route. The route includes many scenic beaches and intersects cities and towns along the way.

State Bicycle Coordinator DeWayne Carver said that FLDOT plans to designate more U.S. Bicycle Routes in the near future.

U.S. Bicycle Route 90 in Florida (423.8 miles)

U.S. Bicycle Route 90 is an east-west route that connects the Alabama border to Florida’s Atlantic Coast in Butler Beach, just south of St Augustine. The route partly follows Adventure Cycling’s Southern Tier route and traverses rural north Florida through pastures, forests, and small towns, with a few “big city” stops in Pensacola and Tallahassee.

Bicyclists interested in riding U.S. Bicycle Routes in Florida can find maps, turn-by-turn directions and other information at the state’s DOT website.

U.S. Bicycle Route 11 in Maryland (34 miles)

US Bicycle Route 11 runs for 34 miles from the Pennsylvania state line northwest of Hagerstown to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. There are a variety of urban and scenic attractions along the route, which follows a combination of rural roads, state highways and off-road trails.

Cyclists can stop in downtown Hagerstown and explore its historical and art museums located in the picturesque Hagerstown City Park. For bicycle travelers interested in civil war history, there are many historical attractions along or near the route, including the National War Correspondents Memorial in Gathland State Park, the Antietam National Battlefield, and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

USBR 11 also traverses the traffic-free, scenic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath (also designated as U.S. Bicycle Route 50) for 2.6 miles until it reaches Harpers Ferry.

For more information on bicycling in Maryland, visit the Maryland Department of Transportation Bicycle and Pedestrian website.

U.S. Bicycle Route 1 in Massachusetts (18 miles)

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has designated two new segments along U.S. Bicycle Route 1, adding 18 miles to the route, which now totals 38 miles. The two new segments offer a glimpse of what makes Massachusetts a special place for local and long-distance travelers alike, with an array of landscapes and settlements along urban and rural byways.

The more northerly segment of USBR 1 in Salisbury and Newburyport straddles the majestic Merrimack River. While the Salisbury Old Eastern Marsh Trail provides proximity to expansive Atlantic Ocean beaches, Newburyport’s Clipper City Rail Trail reminds riders that the City’s clipper ships were once the fastest on the seas, spawning a global maritime trade. Both communities also offer nature preserves and museums in close proximity to USBR 1.

Further south, USBR 1 traverses through the communities of Topsfield, Wenham, Danvers, and Peabody, which are removed from the Atlantic and offer a different experience of Massachusetts. Wetlands remind cyclists of glacial epochs long past, and boardwalks provide opportunities to explore these landscapes and natural history.

U.S. Bicycle Route 10 in Michigan (193 miles)

U.S Bicycle Route 10 stretches for 193 miles along U.S. 2 and connects the eastern and central portions of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The eastern terminus connects with U.S. Bicycle Route 35 in St. Ignace.

As the route travels west to Iron Mountain, Michigan, travelers are presented with stunning views of the Mackinac Bridge, rolling sand dunes along Lake Michigan, and tourist attractions like the famous Mystery Spot. The gently rolling route passes numerous parks, state and national forest lands, and scenic overlooks. Along the way, small lumber towns and rural communities offer everything a bicycle traveler could need every 20 to 30 miles.

Michigan is now tied with Florida for second place among states for USBR mileage (1,008 miles), with Alaska having the highest mileage (1,414 miles).

U.S. Bicycle Route 1 Realignment in Virginia (6 miles added)

The Virginia Department of Transportation has realigned U.S. Bicycle Route 1 in Northern Virginia to provide a safer and more reliable route for cyclists. Increased traffic volumes, changes to access through Ft. Belvoir, and the closure of a bridge on Gunston Cove Road were all factors which triggered a re-evaluation of the existing route. The realignment improved the scenic appeal of the route by adding more mileage along the Potomac River.

USBR 1 in Northern Virginia travels by several interesting and historic sites including Historic Occoquan, Mt. Vernon (Home of George Washington), Woodlawn Plantation, the Pope-Leighey house (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright), George Washington’s Grist Mill, and Old Town Alexandria. The route now ends at the 14th St Bridge in Washington DC.

United States Bicycle Route 76 Realignment in Virginia (6 miles removed)

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has realigned U.S. Bicycle Route 76 in the Staunton District to provide a safer, more direct route for cyclists. The route was realigned just north of Lexington to Route 56 near Vesuvius and matches the existing Adventure Cycling TransAmerica Trail route. The new route follows roads with lower-volume traffic and avoids two interstate interchanges.

This section of USBR 76 passes through the historic city of Lexington, home of the Virginia Military Institute and Washington and Lee University. For eastbound cyclists, this section of USBR 76 is the last part of the route in the Shenandoah Valley and skirts the western foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The northern end of the realignment ends at Route 56 which then quickly climbs 2,000 feet over four miles to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The 17-mile section of the Blue Ridge Parkway offers numerous scenic views and is consistently noted as one of the highlights of the TransAmerica Trail by cross country cyclists.

Maps of the TransAmerica Trail are available at Adventure Cycling and more information about the USBR 76 route changes is available on the VDOT website.

What’s next

The U.S. Bicycle Route System will eventually be the largest bicycle-route network in the world, encompassing more than 50,000 miles of routes. Adventure Cycling also provides an updated list of links to maps and other resources for cyclists wishing to ride an established U.S. Bicycle Route on its Use a U.S. Bicycle Route page.

Support for the U.S. Bicycle Route System comes from Adventure Cycling members, donors, and a group of business sponsors that participate in the annual Build It. Bike It. Be a Part of It. fundraiser each May. The U.S. Bicycle Route System is supported in part by grants from the Tawani Foundation, Lazar Foundation, and Climate Ride.

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