South Lake Tahoe is start to 1st US Bicycle Route in California |

South Lake Tahoe is start to 1st US Bicycle Route in California

The new route connects Lake Tahoe with the Bay Area.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The first U.S. Bicycle Route in California starts at South Lake Tahoe.

Adventure Cycling Association announced this week that with the addition of the new route, U.S. Bicycle Routes have expanded into 29 states. The new route, USBR 50, connects Lake Tahoe and the existing USBR 50 in Nevada to the San Francisco Bay Area.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging everyone to find new and creative ways to spend their recreation and vacation time,” said Jim Tymon, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials executive director in a press release. “Many people have turned to the bicycle for daily commuting, recreation and tourism. State departments of transportation are committed to providing more travel options to get people where they want to go. And with the addition of U.S. Bicycle Routes in California and Wisconsin, there are now 29 states that are part of the USBRS, which is connecting communities both large and small and urban and rural.”

The USBRS is developing a national network of officially recognized, numbered and signed bicycle routes. All U.S. Bicycle Routes are designated by AASHTO. With the new designations, the USBRS now boasts 14,598 miles of routes in 29 states and Washington, D.C. At least 40 states are currently developing U.S. Bicycle Routes.

Digital maps for all designated U.S. Bicycle Routes are available to the public for free.

USBR 50 begins in South Lake Tahoe, at the Nevada border, and ends in San Francisco. The 233-mile route climbs across the Sierra Nevada, winds through the Sacramento Delta and traverses the Bay Area. It incorporates a ferry across the San Francisco Bay and provides a connection to USBR 50 in Nevada.

Leaving South Lake Tahoe, USBR 50 climbs over several mountain passes and follows the Mormon Emigrant Trail Road, featured in the 2018 and 2019 Tour of California professional stage races. In El Dorado County, USBR 50 utilizes the popular El Dorado Trail. This paved rail trail segment treats cyclists to a restored railroad trestle 200 feet above Weber Creek. 

From Folsom to the state capital city of Sacramento, USBR 50 utilizes the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, providing over 30 miles of car-free cycling. 

Continuing to the west, USBR 50 passes the Peña Adobe, located within the 470-acre Lagoon Valley Park. Built in 1842, Peña Adobe is the oldest structure in Solano County. Cyclists on USBR 50 can take in the scenic vistas of the Suisun Marsh, one of the largest freshwater ecosystems in California, before dropping into the greater San Francisco Bay and enjoying the waterfront views.

“USBR 50 in El Dorado County not only provides a scenic bicycle route over the Sierra Nevada but also connects the largest communities in our county,” said Mike Bean, Friends of El Dorado Trail board member. “Long term, I hope we can improve USBR 50 to serve not only visitors to the county, but local residents cycling for recreation, biking to work, and running errands by bike.”

With the designation of USBR 50 in California, the USBRS is now only one state away from a complete coast-to-coast U.S. Bicycle Route connection. A future connection across Colorado will one day make this seamless routing possible.

Adventure Cycling Association, a nonprofit organization that provides national coordination for the U.S. Bicycle Route System, partners with AASHTO to ensure states have the resources and expertise needed for successful route designation.

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