What's Wrong with the TransAm?

August 24, 2016

When a group of Bikecentennial staff set off over 40 years ago in a VW bus and on bicycles to map a bicycle route across North America, they didn’t intend to create the most iconic bike-travel experience in North America, but they did!

Forty years later, the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail is a uniquely American experience that, with your help, we can make into a world-class route. Join Adventure Cycling in setting a new standard for bicycle travel by making the TransAm a truly GREAT bicycle route. Your support will fund the research, cartography, and advocacy to make the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail the gold standard for long-distance cycling.

A group of TransAm enthusiasts will match your donation, dollar for dollar, up to $31,000. Make a donation today to take advantage of this 1:1 match.

Why change something that is already pretty good? Just ask Christi Aguiar, who broke her shoulder blade after hitting rumble strips while she was leading an Adventure Cycling TransAm tour this summer:

“I love the TransAm, but after I hit those rumble strips and crashed, I knew it could be better. That’s why I’m supporting this campaign to transform the TransAm.”

The TransAm is one of the most traveled bike routes in North America, yet cycling conditions are often a passing concern for transportation officials. We need to change this and make the TransAm safer for cyclists. Your support enables us to advocate for your needs when departments of transportation make decisions on roadway design.

Right now, motorists can drive thousands of miles on the TransAm without even knowing they’re traveling on a national treasure. Support this project to get the TransAm route designated and signed as an official U.S. Bicycle Route. States like Kentucky, Missouri, and Virginia have already signed part of the route. Wouldn’t it be incredible to have a fully signed U.S. Bicycle Route 76, similar to signed and promoted cross-country routes in Europe? Help make history by making the TransAm the first official cross-country U.S. Bicycle Route.

Your support keeps maps updated and riders secure in knowing which roads are safe and where services are available. Our researchers and cartographers constantly revisit each section of the route based on changing conditions and rider feedback, and they take immediate action to keep the TransAm route safe and up to date.

Thousands of cyclists have stopped by Adventure Cycling’s headquarters to tell us their stories. Though each story is different, the ending is the same: riding the TransAm is a life-altering experience.

“I discovered that people were really kind and generous. That restored a measure of faith in humanity for me. I felt pride in being an American. All of these things reminded me of why we have such a wonderful community in a local and global way.”

 –Bob Norbie about riding the TransAm during the Bikecentennial ’76 ride

After 40 years of open roads, friendly small towns, and diverse landscapes, it is time to bring the TransAm up to the gold standard of bike travel. It starts with your support. Please join us in this multi-year effort to transform the TransAm into a truly world-class bicycle route. Your generous donation will be matched, and it will help keep people safe, inspired, and ready for adventure while they embark on a life-changing experience.

As a thank you for supporting the TransAm, we’ll send you gift when you donate:




  • $100–$249: Set of eight Adventure Cycling Route Network postcards
  • $250–$999: TransAm poster
  • $1000+: America’s Bicycle Route coffee table book and poster




Photo Credits: Chuck Haney | Tom Bol


The Thomas Stevens Fan Club is brought to you by the development team, Annette, April, and Michelle. They share an office with a classic Parisian Metropole bicycle. Want to know more about how you can support Adventure Cycling and all the amazing work they do? Call them at 406-532-2760 or email them at development@adventurecycling.org


Frank Moritz August 25, 2016, 7:42 PM

What's "wrong" with the TransAm is its current fragility in several areas -- that is, its dwindling ability to afford support services (campgrounds or motels) for individual cyclists and especially for group tours in several areas. Most vulnerable is eastern KY. In the 80-plus miles from Elkhorn City, KY to the motels on SR 80 hear Hazard (which includes many of the hardest climbs on the whole route), the volunteer who runs "Dave's Place" in Hindman provides the only private or public overnight facility. The economic devastation of this area makes it unlikely that any new public or private amenities will ever be built in this area.

Log in to post a comment

Forgot Password?

Enter your email address and we'll send you an email that will allow you to reset it. If you no longer have access to the email address call our memberships department at (800) 755-2453 or email us at memberships@adventurecycling.org.

Not Registered? Create Account Now.