California and Wisconsin may be in different parts of the country but they share a new joint statistic — each just opened extensive new bicycling routes. In total, more than 500 miles of signed, designated bike routes just opened in the two states, part of an effort by the US Bicycle Route System (USBRS) to further connect rural and urban areas across the country.
It’s now possible to cycle all the way from the Nevada-California border near South Lake Tahoe to San Francisco via the 233-mile USBR 50. The route traverses mountain passes, the Mormon Emigrant and El Dorado trails, passes through Sacramento and eventually onto the San Francisco Bay.
Along the way, cyclists tour the rugged Sierra Nevada mountains, former gold rush areas, and Lagoon Valley Park. The route is entirely car-free, designed to serve both long-distance cyclists and daily commuters hoping for a safe route to work or to travel between the communities along the way.
Further north in Wisconsin, USBR 30 and 230 opened as the state’s first nationally-designated bike routes. Route 30 covers 269 miles from Lake Michigan in Milwaukee west to Bluff Siding along the Mississippi River. USBR 230 is designed to serve as an alternate route for when the Merrimac Ferry is not operating. The route comprises more than 160 miles of previously-designated state and county trails through protected areas and along former rail routes.
“Establishing this route has been years in the making and it’s a great accomplishment for the state,” Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary-Designee Craig Thompson said in a statement. “More than 70 communities in 11 counties worked together to create this great transportation corridor that will be enjoyed by local, regional and national bicyclists.”
The USBRS currently offers more than 14,000 miles of bike routes across the United States. As more than 40 states are currently developing more designated routes, the system hopes to eventually become the world’s largest bicycle route network.