(Photo/Brandon Jennings via Shutterstock)

New US ‘Bicycle Route 66’ in Oklahoma Joins Nationwide Network

Three new bike routes add 650 miles of riding in states throughout the country — and they showcase some scenic and historic locales.

The Adventure Cycling Association today announced three new designated U.S. Bicycle Routes in Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Delaware. The routes vary from road riding along Historic Route 66 to nappy trails between some of the Gopher State’s 10,000 lakes.

Projects to realign and extend trails elsewhere in the upper midwest join the new additions to add 650 miles to the U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) in all.

The USBRS is a developing national network of officially designated, numbered, and signed routes that use existing roads, trails, and other facilities appropriate for bike travel. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) designates the routes, which aim to improve cycling connectivity across the country.

Ultimately, the system aims to loop in 50,000 miles of routes and for cross-country riding, regional touring, and bike commuting.

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New Official US Bicycle Routes

The new routes in Oklahoma and Delaware are the first U.S. Bicycle Routes in those states, while the new route in Minnesota is its fourth. USBR 66 in Oklahoma boasts hundreds of rideable miles along Historic Route 66, the original path of the famed Chicago-to-Los-Angeles highway.

“It’s been 96 years since the iconic Route 66 opened to motor vehicle traffic in the U.S.,” said Jim Tymon, AASHTO Executive Director. “Now, cyclists can follow the historic route for more than 400 miles through Oklahoma using the newly designated USBR 66. This latest round of U.S. Bicycle Route System designations exemplifies AASHTO’s steadfast commitment to creating active transportation facilities in rural and urban America.”

Improvements Build Out Growing Network

Meanwhile, trail developers sought community input for realignments and extensions of routes in Michigan and Indiana. Feedback from local cyclists informed the projects, which also sought included infrastructure improvements.

With the new designation and realignments, the U.S. Bicycle Route System now includes 18,534 miles of routes in 33 states and Washington, D.C. According to the Adventure Cycling Association, at least 38 states are currently developing new routes for inclusion in the network.

The Adventure Cycling Association also coordinates the development of the system at a national level and consolidates maps for it. Its staff offers technical assistance, volunteer coordination, and outreach to help states establish official routes.

“We’re excited to coordinate this project to build a better future for bicycle travel across the United States,” said Jennifer O’Dell, Executive Director of Adventure Cycling. “The latest designations are powerful momentum in this long-term effort.”

New Route Highlights

USBR 66, Oklahoma (429 miles): Landmarks like the world’s largest concrete totem pole near Chelsea, the Round Barn in Arcadia, the historic Bridgeport Bridge from “The Grapes of Wrath,” and Lucille’s Service Station in Weatherford. Urban stops include Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

Lucille’s Service Station, part of the U.S. National Register of Historic Places; (photo/Batterup55 via Wiki Commons)

USBR 20, Minnesota (188 miles): Starting from the west bank of the Mississippi River in St. Cloud, riders follow the Lake Wobegon Regional Trail to Osakis. Then the route transfers to the Central Lakes State Trail and proceeds to Fergus Falls. It passes Moorhead on its way to the North Dakota border.

USBR 201, Delaware (37 miles): The trail connects Pennsylvania and Maryland by passing through the colonial town of Historic New Castle and the University of Delaware. The route uses several separated trails along the Delaware River.

Sam Anderson

Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.