A whole new generation of travelers — this time on bicycles — will begin getting their kicks on Route 66 this spring and summer.
The Adventure Cycling Association released this week its new 6-map set for the Route 66 Bicycle Route that it started working on in 2010.
Just like the song says: “It winds from Chicago to LA, more than 2,000 miles all the way…”
To be more precise, this bicycle route travels 2,493 miles through eight states — Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California — and ends in Santa Monica. Along the way bicycle travelers can experience the same thrill of the open road that earlier travelers in roadsters, motorbikes and Model-Ts enjoyed when the route first opened in 1926.
It was dropped from the highway system in 1985, and various parts were either absorbed by freeways or abandoned altogether.
Ginny Sullivan, Adventure Cycling’s director of tourism initiatives says:
“Bicycle Route 66 will be a perfect choice for traveling cyclists looking to explore the American heartland’s natural beauty, history, and funky out-of-the-way places.”
While the Route 66 Bicycle Route avoids major highways when possible, it still visits plenty of the roadside attractions that amused earlier visitors. Among them are the Gemini Giant in Wilmington, Il, Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO, Historic Brandbury Bishop Deli in Webb City, MO, Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX, Route 66 Museum in Clinton, OK, Catoosa Whale in Catoosa, OK, Petrified Forest in Arizona, and the Ozarks in Missouri.
Jerry McClanahan, author of EZ 66 Guide for Travelers, is quoted by Adventure Cycling:
“Fueled by nostalgia and fired by preservation-minded folks, Route 66 is a magical cross section of the nation; from the massive skyscrapers of Chicago, over the green hills of the Ozarks, the grassy plains, the awesome deserts and mountains, then down into the fascinating mosaic of the Los Angeles basin. There’s something for everyone here—the embodiment of freedom, the legendary emblem of 20th century roadside America.”
The completion of the Route 66 Bicycle Route raises the total distance of bicycle routes mapped by Adventure Cycling to 44,673 miles. The first was the 4,000-mile Trans America Bicycle Route created back in the mid-1970s when the nonprofit group was known as Bikecentennial.
The maps are available for $15.75 each, or $88.50 for the whole set. They are available at Adventure Cycling’s Routes and Maps webpage.
More news about the Route 66 corridor is available at Route 66 News.