The Adventure Cycling blog covers bicycle-travel news, touring tips and gear, bicycle routes, organizational news, membership highlights, guided tours, and more. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for daily updates.
Photo by Adam Coppola
This entry is the first in a series showcasing milestone routes in the Adventure Cycling Route Network. A milestone route is one that is viewed as a notable landmark in Adventure Cycling Association history: a first of its kind or marking an important milestone in total network mileage. Over the years, a lot has been written about the history of the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail so I won't even try to cover that territory. Instead, let me tell you a bit about an oft unsung pioneer of the Bikecentennial movement, Lys Burden.
I received a call from a member asking when would be the best time to start the tour she and her husband were planning for next spring. As the call continued, she told me she and her husband had crossed the U.S. last year. They had had a great time, but they were looking to up the adventure-factor for this next trip, and put together a killer loop using sections from four of our routes.
When packing for a trip lasting anywhere from three weeks to three months, you might find that your gear needs can change dramatically from the beginning of your tour to the end. But why oh why carry that extra fleece jacket or pair of wool tights when you could send them to yourself on the road and save the weight and room in the meantime? And how to do this you ask? Simple, use the zip codes you find in the Service Directory on our maps.
I'm so excited about this news, I can hardly sit still! Back in May, we mentioned that Twin Bridges, Montana, was setting up a cyclists only campground. Little did we know (though we did suspect) the impact it would have on this small, rural community.
If you've used our route maps you know they are chock full of useful information. We attempt to include camping, lodging, and food source information in a 10 mile wide corridor (5 miles each side of the route) along with library and bike shop locations. These services are compiled and listed in the Service Directory. Most of these listings are tangible. However, there is one category that is less so, that is, until you need it: law enforcement.
Chester, Illinois is not only the home of the legendary Popeye the Sailor, it is also houses a first class Cyclists Only Camping location run by the Fraternal Order of Eagles.
There are some basic services cyclists expect to see on our bicycle-travel oriented maps. These generally run the gamut from various lodging options, grocery stores, restaurants, and bike shops. In the early 2000s, we reviewed the possibility of adding a new service that might offer internet connectivity and landed on libraries.
In an age where high tech seems to rule the day, I advocate for the use of the low tech, namely paper maps. I know GPS is all the rage among a certain circle of cyclists. There is also a world of online mapping options, which can be very useful, especially when making your plans in the comfort of your home. However, I believe Adventure Cycling's paper maps have the edge on the road and technology, such as a GPS unit, should be considered supplemental.
Many words have been said and written about June Curry, the Cookie Lady of Afton, Virginia, and the namesake of our Trail Angel Award. Since Bikecentennial in 1976, she has been greeting and feeding TransAmerica Trail cyclists at what has become known as the "Bike House". It is chock full of memorabilia including endless Polaroid shots of cyclists and the post cards that they have sent her from the road.
In addition to traditional campground facilities, Adventure Cycling route maps also list what we call Cyclists Only Lodging. These are places along the way only available to the traveling cyclist and are generally only known because of our map listings or word of mouth. The options run the gamut from church sanctuaries to ranches to cycling specific camping areas. All aim to help the traveling cyclist and have their unique take on how best to accomplish their goal.