Not long after I finished my TransAmerica bicycle tour back in 1984, I picked up an abridged copy of the Lewis and Clark diaries at a bookstore.
Fresh from the thrill of finishing the cross-country ride, I thought the expedition's route up the Missouri River and across the Northwest would make an ideal cycling journey. I could compare the scenes today with those witnessed by Lewis and Clark. And, more importantly, most of the route appeared to pass through rural landscapes.
I've read that journal, and Stephen E. Ambrose's “Undaunted Courage”, and seen the PBS special on TV, but I haven't made the trip. Many others have. In fact, the pace of bicycle travel on the Lewis and Clark route has picked up, especially with the commemoration of the 200th anniversary in 2004, 2005, and 2006.
When I asked the Adventure Cycling Association (formerly the Bikecentennial bicycle group) to estimate numbers, outreach and education coordinator Larry Diskin said it was difficult to tell how many have made the ride. Last year the group sold more than 200 complete sets of its maps and more than 450 individual map sections. Combine that with the bicycle touring companies that are taking groups of cyclists along all or part of the route, and it makes for hundreds of people using two wheels to follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark.
I've created two web pages associated with the Bikin' Bis blog to help anyone who's considering making the trip this summer. The Resources page lists websites where maps, books, and travelogues by riders who have taken the route are available. The Tour Operators page lists tour companies that are sponsoring bicycle tours on all or part of the route.
Please e-mail me or leave a comment if you know of any other resources or tour operators that should be included.