The Nevada Department of Transportation announced that U.S. 50 across the state has been designated as Nevada’s first official U.S. Bicycle Route, joining the world’s largest network of national bike routes and expanding tourism and long-term economic potential for local communities along the route.
While many local bicycle routes and paths exist across the state, the designation of U.S. 50 as part of the U.S. Bicycle Route System marks the first route in Nevada to be named a U.S. Bicycle Route and makes Nevada the tipping-point 26th state in the union with a national bike route.
The new designation by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, with support of Adventure Cycling Association, brings the total mileage of U.S. Bicycle Route routes in the nation to 13,099.
“While hundreds of adventure cyclists already travel U.S. 50 every year, this designation literally puts the highway on the map of designated bicycle routes which many national and international tourists use to travel the nation,” NDOT Assistant Chief of Multi-Modal Planning and Program Development Bill Story said.
Known as U.S. Bicycle Route 50 (USBR 50), the 410-mile bicycle route follows U.S. 50, dubbed the “Loneliest Road in America,” east to west across the state.
One route detour from U.S. 50 takes bicyclists along State Route 722 west of Austin for a less traveled, more appealing ride with unparalleled scenery before connecting back to U.S. 50.
Crossing part of the Great Basin, the route traverses 12 summits taller than 6,000 feet, numerous communities, and 10 nearby state parks. USBR 50 connects to the existing U.S. Bicycle Route 79 in Utah.
With work progressing on USBR 50 in California and U.S. Bicycle Route 77 in Utah, in the future cyclists will be able to ride on officially-designated bicycle routes from Salt Lake City to San Francisco. Roadway signage will be installed along U.S. 50 in the future noting the bicycle route designation.
“U.S. 50 parallels the famed Pony Express route and teems with history and awe-inspiring beauty,” David Peterson, interim director of the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, said. “Travelers come from all over the world to trek across the ‘Loneliest Road in America,’ on bicycle, motorcycle, in RVs and cars. It’s an iconic road trip route and a slice of the best Nevada has to offer.”
With the bike route crossing rural Nevada desert, bicyclists are advised to travel prepared with water, emergency medical and basic bicycle repair supplies. Due to the tremendous topographic diversity along the route, cyclist should prepare for any type of weather and intermittent cell phone coverage.
“U.S. 50 traces the historic Pony Express Trail and Lincoln Highway, and in modern history serves as a highway connecting the central part of our state,” NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon explained. “We encourage visitors using all modes of transportation to experience Nevada’s rich history and natural beauty along the U.S. 50 corridor. Non-motorized transportation plays an important part in keeping us all connected; providing an environmentally-friendly and healthy mode of transportation.”
Digital maps for all designated U.S. Bicycle Routes, including all new routes, are available to the public for free, using the Ride with GPS online platform, from the Adventure Cycling website.