MISSOULA, MONT., April 9, 2016 — Adventure Cycling Association today announced the release of new digital GPS data for the TransAmerica Trail Bicycle Route, Adventure Cycling’s original coast-to-coast route. The new data set gives cyclists access to tracks and service points on many digital devices, including smartphones and tablets. Each download is comprised of high-resolution track data for navigation and enhanced service points directing cyclists to food, lodging, and bike shops.
“I was one of those early Bikecentennial members who crossed the country east to west in a group on the TransAmerica Trail in 1976,” said Carla Majernik, Adventure Cycling’s director of Routes & Mapping. “Back then, the maps were hard to read and we got lost, a lot, especially in the east. Forty years later the maps have improved. With technological advances and the addition of GPX data, it's now much easier to follow the route and locate services.”
Despite TransAm celebrating 40 years, the route has changed little, due in part to its rural nature.
“The GPX data brings navigation possibilities into the present,” continued Carla, “making it easier for anyone to follow the route and take off-route side trips to other destinations. Overall, using the GPX data can enhance the experience of bicycle travel. It is possible the GPX data will intrigue a new audience to give long-distance cycling a try. We're excited about that! All that being said, nothing beats relaxing with your paper map at the end of the day to get an overview of what is coming up or revisiting where you've been.”
Cycling with digital track data can be especially useful in the easternmost portion of the TransAmerica Trail, where the many twists and turns of the roadways, coupled with the often heavy forest cover, can make it easy to lose direction. Virginia claims the most potentially confusing routing of all, and it’s also a region of constantly changing landscapes, from the flat coastal surroundings of the Yorktown-Williamsburg-Jamestown historic triangle to the luxuriant rolling hills northwest of Ashland, Virginia, with a mix of woodlands, meadows, and crop fields. Digital track data for navigation can be a godsend for cyclists traveling through variable landscapes such as these.
Tracks and service points are an improvement on the GPS waypoint data that Adventure Cycling has been distributing since 2003. Each download is comprised of high-resolution track data and enhanced service points, both of which may be used on a GPS device, smartphone, or tablet as well as Mac or PC for planning purposes. The track will display as a line on your screen that you can follow. When the GPS function is activated on your device of choice, an indicator will show your location in relation to that line. You will know very quickly if you have veered off route. The service points feature the same services that are on the physical maps, showing all known food, camping, lodging, and bike shop options that are directly on route between towns.
The TransAm’s unique attributes, both geographic and cultural, make it one of the most popular bicycle tourist destinations in the United States. Adventure Cycling’s TransAmerica Trail Bicycle Route takes in a terrific sampling of these visitor hotspots.
“I am a big fan of Yellowstone National Park,” said Melissa Moser, Adventure Cycling’s GIS specialist/cartographer. “On top of its outdoor beauty and abundance of wildlife, there are so many geologic features there that you can’t see in many other places — geysers, mud pots, whole basins of steaming vents, springs, and other thermal features. And if you can ride here outside of the main tourist season, it’s an all-around incredible experience.”
In the western portion of the TransAmerica Trail, cyclists will ride up and over some of the highest and most scenic mountain passes in the U.S. The road over McKenzie Pass in central Oregon cuts through an ancient lava field and offers spectacular views of the Three Sisters and other snow-capped volcanic peaks of the Cascades. Crossing Lolo Pass in western Montana ushers cyclists up Highway 93 and into Missoula to visit Adventure Cycling’s headquarters. And Hoosier Pass, the crown of the TransAmerica Trail, looms over Colorado’s Summit County at 11,542 feet — three feet higher than it was in 1976!
“The TransAm follows 4,228 miles through a collection of classic American scenes and culture,” Melissa continued, “including national parks, the tall but graded Rocky Mountains, the short and steep Appalachian mountains, the roller coaster Ozarks, endless fields of grain, small cities, rural America, Native American history, and Civil War history. This route also comes to Adventure Cycling’s headquarters in Missoula, Montana, where we would love to see you for our Montana Bicycle Celebration, July 15–17!”
Similar to the flow of motor vehicle travelers crossing the country on the classic American road trip, the influx of cyclists will provide an economic boost to small communities along the TransAmerica Trail. There is growing evidence that touring cyclists spend more money and time than the average tourist. For example, a recent survey done in Montana by the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research found that multi-day cyclists spend $75 to $103 per day and stay an average of eight or more nights while traveling through the state. Conversely, motorized travelers only spend between $54 to $68 per day and spend an average of only three days in the state. Oregon found that their state benefits by $400 million annually from bicycle tourism alone, and Washington State just released a study on outdoor recreation that recognizes that bicycling contributes $3.1 billion to the state's economy annually.
There are many ways to ride across the country, but there’s only one TransAmerica Trail. And now, during Adventure Cycling’s 40th anniversary, cyclists can relive the original Bikecentennial ride on the TransAm with all the advantages of tracks and service points on their digital devices. America’s Bicycle Route — the Holy Grail of U.S. bicycle travel.
For more information about the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail and to purchase maps, visit https://www.adventurecycling.org/cyclosource-store/route-maps/transamerica-bicycle-trail/
To read the full interview with GIS Specialist/Cartographer Melissa Moser, visit the following website.
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Adventure Cycling Association inspires and empowers people to travel by bicycle. It is the largest cycling membership organization in North America with more than 50,000 members. Adventure Cycling produces cycling routes and maps for North America, organizes more than 100 tours annually, and publishes the best bicycle-travel information anywhere, including Adventure Cyclist magazine. With 44,673 meticulously mapped miles in the Adventure Cycling Route Network, Adventure Cycling gives cyclists the tools and confidence to create their own bike-travel adventures. Phone: 800-755-BIKE (2453). Web: www.adventurecycling.org.
Lisa McKinney, Communications Director
Direct: (406) 532-2759 / Twitter: @advcyclingassoc
IMAGES & INTERVIEWS
For high-res images, or to arrange an interview with the route’s cartographers, please contact Lisa McKinney.
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Photo by Michael Clark