Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cross country bicycle routes in Virginia

There are two major cross-country bicycle routes that pass through Virginia and another that is under development. In today's Post the article Bike Trail Down East Coast Takes a Spin Along the Mall discusses development of the East Coast Greenway. The Greenway is a planned off-road trail parallel to the Appalachian Trail. Instead of connecting wilderness areas it connects cities. Currently only 20% of the "trail" is off-road. The rest follows mostly low-traffic roads.

U.S. Bicycle Route 1 is one of the two original cross-country bike routes. It is an established route that could be considered the on-road equivalent to the Greenway, extending from Maine to Florida. I believe this is the same as the Adventure Cycling Atlantic Coast Bicycle Route. U.S. Bicycle Route 76 is the other original route, stretching from Virginia to Oregon. It is also known as the TransAmerica Trail and was the route used in 1976 by BikeCentennial which later morphed into Adventure Cycling.

As noted by the Post in the Virginia Briefing, both of these routes will be shown on the new Virginia state highway map. The routes are labeled with with a blue dotted line and symbol (see sample above). The map is available for free and pdf files can be downloaded from the VDOT site.

U.S. bike routes 1 & 76 were established in 1982 and no "official" routes have been designated since. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is the official body that oversees the routes. There has been discussion recently within AASHTO about expanding the U.S. Bicycle Route Network (pdf).

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