May 20, 2011
We passed the sign above on our trip in Portugal. It was the entrance to a big highway ... not a road we wanted to travel on anyway.
I particularly enjoy the way the wheel on the wagon makes the sign look like a cartoon figure sticking its tongue out at you. Signs are important. They give instruction and information. They warn you not to proceed, or they lead the way.
Which is why I'm excited about the U.S. Bicycle Route System. Signed routes all across our nation that will announce: "Cycling is a viable travel option."
In 1976 the founding members of Bikecentenial (now the Adventure Cycling Association) established a bike route across the country and invited the nation to come along for the ride. Without that defined route, many people would never have pedaled across America.
When the U.S. Bike Route System is complete, people will have positive reminders that bicycle travel is possible in every state. Seeds of bicycle travel dreams and possibilities will germinate in the minds of passing motorists, bus passengers, and cyclists alike.
But dreams take a lot of work. The logistics of creating this nationwide network are mind boggling. If you are as excited about this project as I am, the first thing you can do is donate. I have. It doesn't have to be a lot. Small amounts add up fast.
Get in on the ground level of a dream. Donate ten bucks. Ten years from now you'll realize you were part of something really incredible.
Photos by Willie Weir
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His books, Travels with Willie and Spokesongs, will inspire you to hit the road, and might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can read about their adventures at http://yellowtentadventures.com.