April 20, 2017 - Saara Snow, Adventure Cycling's Travel Initiatives Coordinator, writes for Geopoints Bulletin this month.
Total solar eclipses — when the moon casts a shadow on the Earth — occur once every 18 months on average. For any given point, however, this calculates out to once in about 400 years. And it was about a century ago, in 1918, when the last total solar eclipse swept across the U.S. from the Pacific to the Atlantic, though some will remember the total eclipse of 1979 that crossed the Pacific Northwest.
The next total solar eclipse will be on August 21, 2017, running straight through the heart of the country from Oregon to South Carolina, and people are getting ready.
For those of us who love bike touring, as well as mountains and wilderness, the eclipse path is kind of ideal. The total eclipse can only be seen in a narrow band where the moon completely blocks out the sun, bringing darkness to the day. This band, aptly named “the path of totality,” fun to say in a foreboding voice, intersects eight Adventure Cycling routes, including the TransAmerica Trail, as well as the Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route, Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, Lewis & Clark Trail, Bicycle Route 66, Great Rivers South, Underground Railroad, and Atlantic Coast routes.
Check out this interactive map for the full view of the path of totality. And below is that path overlaid with the Adventure Cycling Route Network.
Here are just a few of the highlights of where the path of totality and our routes will coincide:
If you’re planning to be on the road on August 21, and will be anywhere along the path of totality, it could make for a magical experience or an extremely frustrating one, depending on how prepared you are. So here are a few things to keep in mind:
Regardless of where you are when this astronomical event occurs, it is bound to be one to remember, so sit back, enjoy the company of those around you and ride on into the light.
GEOPOINTS BULLETIN is written by Jennifer ‘Jenn’ Hamelman, Routes & Mapping Assistant Director, and appears once a month, highlighting curious facts, figures, and persons from the Adventure Cycling Route Network with tips and hints for personal route creation thrown in for good measure. She also wants to remind you that map corrections and comments are always welcome via the online Map Correction Form.