Designated routes give cyclists the option of crossing Utah on two wheels
The United States Cycle Route System has also designated routes through Utah from Colorado to Nevada.
Ambitious cyclists looking to cross the state on two wheels can now consult a national map to find safe routes that stretch from Idaho to Arizona and Colorado to Nevada.
The United States’ cycle lane system was recently added 550 miles of Utah cycle paths on its menu, bringing the total for the state to about 960 miles.
The Utah Department of Transportation, the Department Move Utah program and Cycling adventure, a national advocacy organization, has worked together for the past four years to develop the Idaho to Arizona path consisting of streets, freeways, and trails. The Colorado-Nevada route was added in 2015.
The groups based the routes on safety measures – such as the number of vehicles traveling on the roads that run alongside the proposed routes – where cyclists were already riding, points of interest and the location of bike-friendly shops depending on the route. UDOT active transportation manager, Heidi Goedhart. .
âIt gives us the opportunity to present our landscapes to people who want to cycle or walk,â Goedhart said.
The routes already exist in Utah, but they have been added to the Adventure Cycling map and signs will be installed to guide cyclists through the state.
Designating specific bike lanes can also help prioritize funding for the development and construction of better bike lanes, said Chris Wiltsie, program director of Bike Utah advocacy group.
âWe need to move from a simple signage to a [paths]”Wiltsie said.
Most people still drive or fly between states or across the country, but the National Trail Systems Map is designed to help the more active travelers.
âThere are a lot of people who want to travel to the United States and experience the scenery in a different way,â Goedhart said.
Long-distance cyclists can also help boost tourism in rural Utah, said Wiltsie, many of whom are struggling with the shutdown of fossil fuel power plants and other industries. If more tourists traveled, more jobs could be created.
âIt gives them an alternative,â Wiltsie said. âA healthy alternative. “
More Utahns have cycled since the start of the pandemic, Goedhart said, as activities inside have been curtailed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. UDOT has registered over 200% more cyclists on many trails over the past year.
âThere have been a lot of people getting off stationary bikes in the gym and getting on real bikes,â Goedhart said.
While not all states have routes listed on the map, ambitious Salt Lake City cyclists are already able to cover over 1,000 miles on connected routes through Utah, Nevada, and California to to San Francisco, then the California coast to the Oregon border.