By Lindsay Plante, BFA Communications Intern
Thanks to the support and collaboration of advocates, government officials and recreational riders, the Adventure Cycling Association and the American Association of Highway and Transportation Officials recently announced two new routes in the growing network of the U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS).
U.S. Bicycle Route (USBR) 35 covers nearly 500 miles through Michigan, from its Canadian border all the way to Indiana. In Minnesota, USBR 45 stretches from the Twin Cities area to its southern border with Iowa, a total of 148 miles. Both routes take cyclists through a variety of settings — from quiet beach towns and scenic hideaways to metropolitan and cultural centers.
These recent additions were accompanied by improvements to the existing USBR 1 in North Carolina. This route, first designated in 1982, was realigned to avoid high traffic areas, maintaining a comfortable bicycling environment for both local and visiting cyclists.
For all three routes, the state departments of transportation provided invaluable support for the completion of the projects and dedication to the welfare of cyclists while Adventure Cycling provided technical assistance for the proper route implementation. The progress won’t end here. In Michigan, USBR 35 will continue south through Indiana all the way to Mississippi. The Minnesota DOT plans to see 800 miles of existing trail extend USBR 45, which will eventually reach south along the Mississippi River arriving in New Orleans, Louisiana.
But policymakers and engineers aren’t the only ones growing the USBRS: Riders like you are making it all possible, too. Just today, ACA announced a record year for its Bike It. Build It. Be Part of It. campaign, raising $50,000 in May alone!
By the time it’s complete, the system will cover more than 50,000 miles — the largest official network in the world. The system is often sold with its promise of tourism dollars, and so far these routes have delivered. Bicycle tourism is on the rise in places like Michigan and numbers in Minnesota and North Carolina show the same. This active and personal way to explore new regions as a visitor has something to offer the locals as well: safe and practical transportation with connections to a state’s most valuable treasures!