USBRS: Inspired to Get Involved

Thanks to intern Scott Chilberg for preparing this post.

Portions of SR 20 may become part of the USBRS.

The reasons behind Washington Bikes’s support of the US Bike Route System (USBRS) are obvious. USBRS’s astounding and seemingly idealistic mission, to create an interstate bike highway connecting urban centers with some of the country’s most idyllic natural environments, would be a dream come true for many of our state’s avid bicyclists. Even more impressive is the progress that’s been made toward achieving that dream; over 40 states are currently working on the project with several more in the works. 

So, with this clear alignment of interests, it was only natural that the Bicycle Alliance would agree to partner with Adventure Cycling Association to create US Bike Routes in Washington.  With the support of Washington State Department of Transportation, it was decided to tackle a cross-state northern route first.

Several of our individual members, however, have extended their involvement with USBRS beyond the professional realm, and their reasons for doing so are, as stated by Bicycle Alliance Executive Director and soon-to-be USBRS volunteer Barb Culp, “purely selfish.”

“Washington is a great place to bicycle, with diverse climates and breathtaking views,” said Barb. “My husband Andy and I want to both explore the state from the seat of our bikes, and then share  our experiences so that others will see the state in a new way.  The cool thing about the USBRS is that we’ll be able to keep right on riding into Idaho on the bike route system, or down the coast into Oregon.  Eventually we’ll be able to follow signed routes all over the country just like we did in Scotland.  We rode for days just following the signs.”

Barb celebrates the fact that the US Bike Route System will focus on a 50 mile swatch on either side of the road, “thereby giving the bicyclist a reason to explore off the beaten path and visit the sights and communities along the way.”

Bicycle Alliance Board Member John Pope, of Anacortes, has also committed his personal time to assist with the US Bike Route Project. John first came into contact with USBRS in the 1990s while doing bike map work with the Skagit Council of Governments’ non-motorized advisory committee, and was thrilled when the idea was rekindled and the Bicycle Alliance pledged their involvement in the past few years.

“I love the back-roads of Washington and the greater Northwest,” said John. “I grew up in eastern Washington, at a time when the North Cascades Cross-State Highway project captured our hearts and opened new avenues for adventure and scenic beauty.  My early bike touring across that new highway and into the BC border regions got me hooked.  The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail and other interests over the years have convinced me that a small, dedicated band of volunteers can make an enduring difference.”

Both John and Barb hope that, by being part of that dedicated band of volunteers, they will be able to help the USBRS dream become a reality in the Pacific Northwest. 

Become a part of the USBRS movement! Click here to make a donation to our May fundraising effort for building the USBRS.  Twenty percent of funds raised by the Bicycle Alliance will be used for USBRS efforts in Washington.
We also need additional volunteers!  If you live in northern Washington and would like to help us develop this route, please contact Louise McGrody.  We need volunteers to assist with community outreach and researching routes.

Build it.  Bike it.  Be a part of it.

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