Cycling enthusiasts can find 14,598 miles of bike routes throughout the U.S., connecting them to over 100 National Park sites.

By Jessica Poitevien
September 04, 2020
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FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

With limited options for indoor recreation, many people during the pandemic have turned to the great outdoors to rekindle or pick up hobbies like cycling and rollerskating. Beyond the global bike shortage, this boom in popularity of cycling has also pushed many towns and cities across the U.S. to reconsider the accessibility of their streets.

According to Lonely Planet, local officials and cycling communities in both California and Wisconsin have recently worked with the U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) to add over 500 miles of new routes. USBRS — the interstate network connecting urban and rural communities on designated bike paths — now reaches 29 states thanks to these recent additions.

Making use of several off-road trails, USBRS created new bike paths now connecting Milwaukee to the Mississippi River at Bluff Siding. The 269-mile path will lead cyclists through both woodland areas as well as more urban landscapes.

“Establishing this route has been years in the making and it’s a great accomplishment for the state," Craig Thompson, Wisconsin Department of Transportation secretary-designee, said in a statement. "More than 70 communities in 11 counties worked together to create this great transportation corridor that will be enjoyed by local, regional and national bicyclists."

Additionally, an already existing path in Nevada was extended to reach Lake Tahoe, leaving an uninterrupted route to the San Francisco Bay Area. The 233-mile USBR 50 follows the mountainous Mormon Emigrant Trail, the El Dorado Trail in California’s historic Gold Rush country, and more before reaching its final destination.

"Long term, I hope we can improve USBR 50 to serve not only visitors to the county, but local residents cycling for recreation, biking to work, and running errands by bike," Mike Bean, Friends of El Dorado Trail board member, told Lonely Planet.

Cycling enthusiasts can find 14,598 miles of bike routes throughout the U.S., connecting them to over 100 National Park sites, including Mammoth Cave National Park and Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. Currently, more than 40 states are working with USBRS to create additional designated bike paths. Once complete, it will be the world’s largest bike network.