Bicycle Routes Across America


Bicycle Route Maps

Bicycle across the south

As you plan your bike ride across America, you have to decide how far you want to ride and over what kind of terrain. The shortest routes start or finish in San Diego, California. Looking at a map, you will see that San Diego is east of Reno, NV. Adventure Cycling's southern most route goes east to St. Augustine, Florida for a total of 3110 miles. A bicycle touring company starts a little north of San Diego, traveling to Savannah, Georgia for a total of 2912 miles.

Bicycle Across the Central US

Bicycling across the central portion of the United States perhaps offers the most routes. Distances vary widely. The Race Across America (raceacrossamerica.org), an endurance cycling event, will begin in Oceanside, CA just north of San Diego and ends 3022 miles later in Annapolis, Maryland. While you may not be interested in racing across America, their maps are worth a look. They are well researched and tested for bicycle use. The 2011 race begins June 14. The pre-race materials include route proflies with climbing totals as well as driving directions.

Compare the RAAM distance to the much longer Adventure Cycling Transamerica route which terminates after 4262 miles.

Bicycle Across the Northern States

Here too you will find several options. I found a listing for a trip from Astoria, Oregon to Portsmouth, New Hampshire totaling 3629 miles. This trip ferries across Lake Michigan.

Adventure Cycling's northern route begins in the far northwestern tip of the contiguous United States in Anacortes, Washington, travels to the south of Lake Michigan, ending further north in Bar Harbor, Maine, for a total ride of 4322 miles. On the RAAM site you will also find their route climbing chart. I have driven part of their route across southern Colorado. Knowing the elevation changes could be helpful in your bicycle trip planning. U.S. Bicycle Route System

Bicycle Routes

U.S. Bicycle Route System

Bicycling maps and wheel

Two routes currently exist: Route 76 and Route 1. Route 76 officially exists in Virginia, Kentucky and Illinois. You can download the trans-Kentucky portion of the route here: Kentucky's Trans-America Bike Trail Map U.S. Bicycle Route 76 sign

National Bicycle Corridor Plan

U.S. Bicycle Route System

Adventure Cycling Association is on the task force of AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) "charged with developing a national corridor-level plan and designation system that transportation agencies can utilize for the development of bicycle routes." You can find more information and download maps here: U.S. Bicycle Corridor Plan Map

Adventure Cycling Association Routes

Adventure cycling map Adventure Cycling Association has a great collection of detailed maps for bicycling across the USA. Their tag line is "America's bicycle travel experts." They now have cycling maps covering more than 41,399 miles. Their oldest and most used route is the TransAmerica. This set of maps covers from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia a distance of 4252 miles. In the early 1990s I rode parts of this route in Kentucky and Virginia. The route uses many secondary roads, avoiding busier roads most of the time. Adventure Cycling releases regular updates with information on camping sites, motels, where to get food and other important services. As a member you will receive a discount on your purchase of maps and cyclo-touring equipment.

Adventure Cycling Association is nonprofit with a mission to "inspire people of all ages to travel by bicycle for fitness, fun, and self-discovery." If you've been a cyclist for a long time, you may remember them as BikeCentennial. Here are links to their bicycle maps. TransAmerica bicycle route maps

Northern Tier

Adventure Cycling's route across the northern United States is the "Northern Tier." This route is from Anacortes, Washington to Bar Harbor, Maine. This is the longest route at 4322 miles. Two sections of the map will be changing for 2012 because of changes in traffic to Minot, ND due to oil drilling activity. This route stays near our border with Canada. I will be riding this route starting in May 2012. You can follow me progress on my blog at this site: Bike Across USA Blog We are looking forward to seeing Glacier National Park and ending with a ride up Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. Note that Adventure Cycling says the two revised map sections will be available in late April. Northern Tier bicycle maps

Adventure Cycling's shortest route across the USA is the Southern Tier Route from San Diego, California to St. Augustine, Florida Southern Tier Route This is a ride of 3110 miles.

If you have a GPS device, Adventure Cycling can provide GPS waypoints. You need a GPS device with upload and download capability. Here is a link to their page with more detailed information. GPS information for bicycle routes

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Illinois Official Bicycle Maps

Illinois Official Bicycle Maps The state of Illinois used to provided free maps of bicycle routes in 9 different regional maps. These maps are no longer available in printed form. The link takes you to the online version of these maps. You will find maps by county which mark road and trails that are most suitable for bicycle travel. They provide very good detail for your bike route planning. I have used them in my bicycle travels in Illinois. Illinois Bicycle Maps

Chicago Area

If your bicycle route across the United States includes the Chicago area, take a look at The Active Transportation Alliance, formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation. They have been an advocate for safe bicycle commuting for nearly 25 years - Active Transportation Alliance Their 6th Edition (2013) of the Chicagoland Bicycle Map is available here: Chicago Land Bicycle Map

St. Louis Area Trails

If your bicycle across America trip goes through the St. Louis, Missouri area, you may find the resources of Great Rivers Greenway useful. Their website includes a map with bicycle trail locations and types. Here is the link to their bicycle trails and bikeways map: Great Rivers Greenway

Contact me with suggested routes



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