Wednesday, November 6, 2013

New U.S. Bicycle Routes Approved for Maryland and Tennessee

Adventure Cycling Association and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) today announced that AASHTO's Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering has approved U.S. Bike Route 50 in Maryland, which follows the C&O Canal Towpath, and U.S. Bike Route 23 in Tennessee.

“Development of the U.S. Bicycle Route System is a product of the many partnerships being fostered all across the country between state transportation departments and community groups,” said Bud Wright, executive director of AASHTO. “We are proud of the role state DOTs play in helping grow this national bicycle system and appreciate the work of Adventure Cycling and all the organizations involved in making these new routes possible.”

The U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) now encompasses 6,196 miles of approved U.S. Bike Routes in 12 states: Alaska, Kentucky, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

U.S. Bicycle Route 23 in Tennessee:

Newly designated U.S. Bicycle Route 23 (USBR 23) in Tennessee covers 154 miles between the Kentucky border, where it joins Kentucky's existing Mammoth Cave state bicycle route, and Alabama. Heading south from Kentucky, USBR 23 begins in rural Robertson County before passing through the community of White House with its marked bicycle lanes. From there the route enters metropolitan Nashville, traveling through residential neighborhoods and past unique culinary establishments through East Nashville, Downtown, The Gulch, and Midtown. The route then cuts through the heart of Nashville's music scene past the Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and dozens of local clubs, as well as skirting several universities including Vanderbilt, Belmont, Libscomb, and Fisk. Leaving Nashville, cyclists have the option to take a three-mile spur to connect with the 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway, or continue on USBR 23 south through Franklin, which features several Civil War historic sites and a wonderful downtown. The route south of Franklin is rural and very scenic; there, a second spur connects to food and lodging at Henry Horton State Park, Chapel Hill, and Lewisburg. Further south, cyclists may travel for an hour or more and not see an automobile. U.S. Bicycle Route 23 enters Alabama at Ardmore, a city whose main street is also the Tennessee-Alabama state line.

The U.S. Bicycle Route System is a developing national network of bicycle routes, which will serve as visible and well-planned trunk lines for connecting city, regional, and statewide cycling routes, offering transportation and tourism opportunities across the country. Adventure Cycling Association has provided dedicated staff support to the project since 2005, including research support, meeting coordination, and technical guidance for states implementing routes. Work on the U.S. Bicycle Route System is highly collaborative and involves officials and staff from state DOTs, the Federal Highway Administration, natural resource agencies, and nonprofit organizations including the East Coast Greenway Alliance and Mississippi River Trail, Inc.

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

When complete, the U.S. Bicycle Route System will be the largest official bike route network on the planet, encompassing more than 50,000 miles of routes. You can learn more at

Hiking in the Smokies

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