New Sierra Cascades Bicycle Route Grows Tourism And Cooperation On Highway 89

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July 19, 2011
Contact: Winona Bateman
(406) 532-2759

New Sierra Cascades Bicycle Route Grows Tourism and Cooperation on Highway 89

More than 750 maps sold so far for Mt. Shasta to Truckee section of long-distance route that guides bicycle tourists from Canada to Mexico along stunning Western corridor

Missoula, Montana — Just over a year ago, Adventure Cycling Association announced the official release of its new Sierra Cascades Bicycle Route, a 2,389-mile road-based cycling route that runs from Sumas, Washington, to Tecate, California. The Mt. Shasta to Truckee, California, section of the route uses State Highway 89 and guides bicycle tourists through small and medium-sized communities along this corridor, including McCloud, Chester, and Quincy. Since publishing the maps for the route in April 2010, Adventure Cycling has sold over 750 maps for the Mt. Shasta to Truckee section alone.

"Our membership eagerly anticipates the release of our new maps and the Sierra Cascades Bicycle Route was no exception," said Teri Maloughney, Adventure Cycling's sales and marketing director. A national nonprofit organization, Adventure Cycling Association has over 44,000 members.

The Sierra Cascades Bicycle Route is the newest long-distance route in the Adventure Cycling Route Network, which was launched in 1976 with the publication of maps for the 4,262-mile TransAmerica Bicycle Trail. Today Adventure Cycling's network is the largest mapped cycling route system in the world, encompassing more than 40,000 miles of routes throughout North America.

The new route will be a new source of economic vitality for nearby communities. A study done along the Great Allegheny Passage (PDF) in 2009 found that overnight cyclists on that route spent an average of $98 per day as they traveled. A 2010 Wisconsin study (PDF) found that out-of-state bicycle tourism brings $560 million into that state's economy each year. (Total bicycle tourism, including in-state residents, approximates $1 billion.)

Small towns along other established Adventure Cycling routes have reported experiencing a boost in the number of cyclists who stay and use their services, especially when the community offers services such as dining and accommodations for cycling tourists. In Twin Bridges, Montana, which is situated along Adventure Cycling's TransAmerica route, an effort by locals to attract even more bike tourists — by providing a cyclist-friendly campground and shelter — has been very successful. All of the community's initial investment (around $10,000) was recouped in the first summer of operation, and now that word has spread about this cyclist-friendly town, many cyclists traveling on the TransAmerica are choosing it as a destination for an overnight stay during their tour.

"When a community is popular on one of our routes, word spreads like wildfire," said Winona Bateman, media director for Adventure Cycling. "Cyclists really enjoy helping other cyclists plan their trips, and cyclists spend time and money in the towns that they visit. They're not just speeding through in order to ‘get there.' For them, what's often most important are the experiences along the way."

Roughly paralleling the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, the Sierra Cascades Bicycle Route passes around and through many of North America's mountain gems, including Mt. Shasta and Lassen Volcanic National Park. The nearly 2,400-mile route guides traveling cyclists through terrain as varied as thick evergreen forests, apple orchards, wide and narrow river canyons, grasslands, glaciated high Sierra canyons, volcanic cones, and high desert.

Adventure Cycling chose to use the Highway 89 corridor as part of the new cycling route because of its scenic value, and proximity to the Pacific Crest Trail, which inspired the new route's creation. For this region, Highway 89 is the ideal option for traveling through areas that best represent the character of the Sierra Mountain Range.

"There are few roads in this region and even fewer that are paved," said Jenn Milyko, an Adventure Cycling cartographer who worked on developing the new cycling route. "If we had used a different road, the route would have left that forested corridor and traveled roads closer to the Central Valley or the Great Basin."

The organization is aware of the commercial truck traffic along Highway 89 and is working with area companies such as Timber Products Company to promote mutual respect between commercial truckers and traveling cyclists.

"We're advising touring cyclists traveling on this section of the Sierra Cascades Bicycle Route to expect this type of traffic and to yield when possible," said Milyko. "We've also asked several area logging companies to help spread the word among their drivers to expect cyclists on the road, and to pass them in a safe and considerate manner."

Chris Chase, timberlands manager at Timber Products Company, said, "We're happy to get the word out and encourage respect. Tourism is another important part of our local economy and we definitely want to support it by doing our part to make our local roadways safe for all travelers."

Adventure Cycling has also been in communication with Tamy Quigley at the California Department of Transportation who feels strongly that this route is a good one for bicycle travelers.

"Even though there are several areas with less than 8' or 4' shoulders, traffic volumes are not high," said Quigley, Associate Transportation Planner, District 2 Bicycle Coordinator for the California DOT. "The section around Lake Almanor is simply amazing. They host an annual ride that attracts over 400 people and is very successful. The last section from Canyon Dam down to SR 70 junction is very rideable." (For more information, download a PDF of the Caltrans District 2 Cycling Guide.)

With over 35 years experience in creating long-distance cycling routes, Adventure Cycling seeks to put cyclists on low traffic roads that weave through small communities and scenic destinations whenever possible.

Adventure Cycling offers some tips for trucks and cars that drive by a touring cyclist along Highway 89: Allow at least 3 feet when passing and wait for a safe place to pass (as with any slow moving vehicle), honk only in emergencies — at times it can be difficult for a cyclist to hear (such as when riding downhill due to the wind in their ears). Most likely the cyclist in front of you on a narrow roadway is looking for a safe place to pull over to let you pass. Give them a chance to do so and then pass carefully.

Communities interested in attracting bicycle travelers and building bike tourism can find quick tips and in-depth suggestions and information on Adventure Cycling's building bike tourism web page.

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Adventure Cycling Association is the premier bicycle travel organization in North America with nearly 45,000 members. A nonprofit organization, its mission is to inspire people of all ages to travel by bicycle. It produces routes and maps for cycling in North America, organizes more than 45 tours annually, and publishes the best bicycle-travel information anywhere, including Adventure Cyclist magazine and The Cyclists' Yellow Pages online. With 40,699 meticulously mapped miles in the Adventure Cycling Route Network, Adventure Cycling gives cyclists the tools and confidence to create their own bike travel adventures. Contact the office at (800) 755-BIKE (2453),, or visit


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