A recreational trail that crosses Jefferson County is part of a newly designated nationwide bicycle route.
The nonprofit Adventure Cycling Association has added Wisconsin and California to its U.S. Bicycle Route System.
In Wisconsin, USBRs 30 and 230 utilize several off-road trails — including the Glacial Drumlin State Trail — to connect Milwaukee to the Mississippi River at Bluff Siding.
“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 (AASHTO) executive director. “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,” he continued. “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.”
USBR 30 includes the Glacial Drumlin State Trail, stretching 52 miles through 10 small towns from Cottage Grove to Waukesha. Among them are Deerfield, Lake Mills, Jefferson Junction, Helenville and Sullivan.
The trail is on an abandoned rail corridor, except for a 1.5-mile section northeast of Jefferson, between State Highway 26 and County Highway, which uses public roads as the trail route.
Digital maps with turn-by-turn directions for all designated routes are available to the public for free, thanks to a partnership with Ride with GPS, from the Adventure Cycling website. Maps for the new USBRs 30 and 230 can be found on the Wisconsin DOT website at https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/travel/bike/bike-maps/usbr.aspx.
In Wisconsin, USBR 30 begins in Milwaukee, at Lake Michigan, and ends in Bluff Siding, on the Mississippi River. The 269-mile route uses multiple types of existing bicycling infrastructure, including state and county bike trails, local roads and bike paths, and state and county highways.
USBR 230 is a 40-mile alternate route that provides routing directions for use when the Merrimac Ferry (Colsac III) is not in operation.
“Establishing this route has been years in the making and it’s a great accomplishment for the state,” said Craig Thompson, Wisconsin Department of Transportation secretary-designee. “More than 70 communities in 11 counties worked together to create this great transportation corridor that will be enjoyed by local, regional and national bicyclists.”
USBRs 30 and 230 showcase many natural and cultural resources across the state, including forests, vibrant urban areas and the meandering Driftless Region. Together, the two routes guide bicyclists through more than 160 miles of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources state and county trails, including the Glacial Drumlin State Trail and the Elroy-Sparta State Trail.
“More than half of USBR 30 is made up of our state bike trails,” said Preston Cole, DNR secretary. “This new route gives bicyclists detailed directions to navigate across the state, providing yet another way to experience our great outdoors.”
In California, the new USBR 50 connects Lake Tahoe and the existing USBR 50 in Nevada to the San Francisco Bay Area. Together, the new designess add over 500 miles of new routes to the USBRS.
The USBRS is developing a national network of officially recognized, numbered and signed bicycle routes. All U.S. Bicycle Routes are designated by AASHTO. The 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.
With the new Wisconsin and California designations, the USBRS now boasts 14,598 miles of routes in 29 states and Washington, D.C. At least 40 states currently are developing U.S. Bicycle Routes.