Posts Tagged ‘Adventure Cycling’

Underground Railroad Bicycle Route gatherings

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

The second of two maps for the Underground Railroad Detroit Alternative Bicycle Route are now available.

As you may recall, this Adventure Cycling bicycle route begins in Mobile, Alabama and heads north to Oberlin, Ohio. Previously the route only went east, entering Ontario at Buffalo. The Detroit alternative route heads to Toledo, Adrian, Ann Arbor, and Detroit.

“We’re thrilled to offer this new alternate route between Oberlin and Owen Sound. Cyclists can now experience even more landmarks and historically important communities along the Underground Railroad,” said Carla Majernik, Adventure Cycling’s routes and mapping director. “The route also follows the Lake Huron shoreline to Owen Sound, which is an incredibly scenic ride.”

Detroit is an important highlight on the new route for its historic relevance and its contemporary efforts to improve conditions for cyclists,” said Ginny Sullivan, special projects director and lead staff on the UGRR project. “Increasingly the city has invested in bike lanes, greenways, urban agriculture, and natural parks, making it an even more attractive stopover for touring cyclists on the new route.”

Running through many smaller communities in northwestern Ohio, southern Michigan, and southern Ontario, the Detroit Alternate creates a cultural heritage corridor that not only offers education and recreational opportunities for people of all ages, but also promises increased tourism to the communities along this iconic corridor.

Unfortunately bicyclists cannot currently get across the Detroit River without a car, so the route heads north to the ferry service in Marine City, Michigan.

This week’s events

Adventure Cycling’s executive director Jim Sayer is coming to Detroit to help promote the new maps. You’re welcomed to attend these events, but please RSVP as they are starting to fill up.

  • Wednesday, February 22 – Troy, Michigan
    Regional gathering from 7-9 pm at the Troy, MI REI — 766 E Big Beaver Rd. Troy, MI.
  • Thursday, February 23 – Midtown Detroit
    Mixer and regional gathering from 5:30-7:30 pm at Traffic Jam and Snug — 511 W Canfield St. Detroit, MI.

Sayer will also be on the Craig Fahle Show on Thursday as well as (hopefully) many other media outlets, especially with it being Black History Month.

New bike tour loops

Always thinking for new excuses to bike tour, Adventure Cycling blogged about how this new route opens up some tour loop possibilities.

This tour could easily begin in Detroit, cross the border to Windsor, Ontario, ride south to Leamington or Kingsville, take a ferry to Sandusky, Ohio then ride northward to return to Detroit. The fly in the ointment in this idea, hence the Chance label, is that currently there is no way to ride your bicycle across the border between Detroit and Windsor. In order to do so, you’ll have to hire a taxi to take you and your bicycle from one country to the other. Todd Scott, Detroit Greenways Coordinator at the Michigan Trails and Greenway Alliance?suggests, “Another option is to use the Transit Windsor bus. They will allow bikes on the bus under some restrictive rules, however, the bus drivers do have some discretion. If the bus is not crowded and the bike can be secured on board, they may take you. If I were doing the route, I would try my darndest to get to Windsor. I just wouldn’t want to miss out on their UGRR history.” There are plans to add ferry service to this border crossing. When it is implemented, we’ll let you know.

To complete this 270 mile tour you’ll need UGRR Detroit Alternate Sections #1 & #2 maps.

New Underground Railroad Bicycle Route map released

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Adventure Cycling has just announced a new addition to their Underground Railroad Bicycle Route (UGRR). Currently the route begins in Mobile, Alambama and heads north to Oberlin, Ohio before turning east and crossing into Canada at Buffalo.

MTGA worked with Adventure Cycling and others folks — including descendants of those who used the Underground Railroad — to add a 281.4-mile route from Oberlin, Ohio to Detroit, Marine City and Sombra, Ontario.

The map for this route is now available. The cost is $11.75 for Adventure Cycling members and $14.75 for non-members.

This alternate, beginning in Oberlin, Ohio, takes cyclists around the western side of Lake Erie through historically rich Michigan. There are many sites to visit in the towns that the route goes through. In Michigan the route becomes much more urban. Because there is no bicycle-friendly connection between Detroit and Windsor the route crosses into Canada north of these cities, which were both important sites to freedom seekers.

The route does offer a balance between connecting the many historic UGRR sites while also providing a reasonable bicycle route. In other words, it doesn’t visit all the historic sites nor is it the most direct.

Within the city of Detroit, the route takes advantage of the new bike lanes installed on West Vernor and Michigan Avenue. It passes many historic UGRR sites, including the Finney Barn, Second Baptist Church, and Elmwood Cemetery.

The route also passes near the Hostel Detroit, which is expected to be a popular lodging option for cycling tourists.

MTGA continues to push for passenger ferry service to Windsor, Ontario that will accommodate cyclists. Currently cyclists need a motor vehicle to get to Windsor via the Tunnel or Ambassador Bridge. The route does provide an option for continuing north to Marine City where existing ferry service can transport cyclists to Canada.

A companion map showing the route through Ontario is under development now and is expected to be available by February 2012.

For those seeking a less ambitious bicycling tour, a 13-mile UGRR route within the city of Detroit has been developed. Brochures showing that route are also in the works.

And, the Wheelhouse Detroit offers UGRR tours throughout the summer as well though this year’s remaining tour is sold out. (Disclaimer: I lead those.)

Adventure Cycling director to speak in Midtown

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Photo by Adventure_Cycling Association/Dennis Coello

Jim Sayer, the executive director of Adventure Cycling will be speaking in Midtown this Wednesday, March 23rd at 7pm. This event is also supported by the Wheelhouse Detroit and the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance.

If you can’t make this, Jim is also speaking in Ann Arbor on Thursday and at the Michigan Bike Summit in Lansing on Saturday.

Here’s more information:

Join Adventure Cycling Association — North America’s largest cycling membership group — for a special presentation by Executive Director Jim Sayer on the joys of bicycle travel and cool projects happening at the national and state levels. He’ll touch on new bicycle routes and maps coming from Adventure Cycling (including the new Sierra Cascades route, a planned Bicycle Route 66, and a new Underground Railroad alternate route through Michigan), a new website with resources on “bike overnights”, plus a status report on development of the official U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS).

Join us on Wednesday, March 23, from 7-8:45 pm, at the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit, Hall of Nations Room: 111 E. Kirby Detroit, MI 48202 (This building is on the northeast corner of the Detroit Institute of Arts.)

For more information on getting there to:

Please RSVP by  email or calling me, Sarah Raz, at 800-755-2453 x 210. We also encourage you to invite friends or family.

We are looking for a few volunteers to help with the event. Please contact me ( if you are willing and able to assist!

Thanks and hope to see you there.

Happy riding,

Sarah Raz
Adventure Cycling Association
800-755-2453 x 210

Secretary LaHood touts U.S. Bicycle Routes

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

U.S. Bicycle Routes planned for Michigan

The Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has posted this on his blog yesterday:

If you’re traveling by car or airplane this 4th of July weekend and would rather be packing your luggage onto your bike, you may be interested in the US Bicycle Route System.

Well that’s got my attention, Mr. Secretary.

You’ve probably heard me compare where our high-speed and intercity passenger rail system is today with where America stood 54 years ago when President Eisenhower began implementing the US Interstate Highway network. But America also has a national interstate network of bicycle routes in a similar state of initial development.

For more than 20 years, not much happened. But in 2003, AASHTO revived the USBRS with a Task Force on US Bicycle Routes. The Task Force includes state transportation agency staff, Federal Highway Administration employees, and bicycling organizations. One group, Adventure Cycling Association, began providing staff support to the project in 2005 and developed a map called the National Corridor Plan.

As a side note, the original national corridor plan had no routes to Detroit. MTGA worked with Adventure Cycling to remedy that by modifying some existing routes and adding new ones. The result? The plans for Bicycle Routes 25, 30, and 36 now run through Detroit.

Beyond Detroit, Michiganders need to thank Scott Anderson, MTGA, and MDOT for really pushing hard to get U.S. Bicycle Route 20 across the mitten. Despite the heavy competition from other states, this might be the first new U.S. Bicycle Route in decades.

In Michigan USBRS 20 is underway, with USBRS 35 soon to follow. The people of Michigan are excited to be leading the way on America’s interstate bikeway system.

As Scott Anderson, state coordinator for the bicycle route, said, “We went county to county, community to community, to talk with each one and got enormous support. We even had cities and towns that weren’t on the route pushing to get included.”

Anderson and Michigan’s communities also see the business and employment possibilities the USBRS offers: “We see an economic opportunity here. We’re hoping to promote tourism and there are a lot of bicycle tourists out there.”

And the Secretary wraps up his blog saying:

The USBRS will generate economic activity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote a healthier America. And because bicycle infrastructure is relatively inexpensive, the USBRS can achieve these benefits cost-effectively. It’s a win for states, a win for local communities, and a win for America.

Have a great July 4th weekend.

Underground Railroad bicycle route gets a $20K boost

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

As mentioned before, the Adventure Cycling Association with help from MTGA and others are developing an Underground Railroad Bicycle Route. This route would be a 400-mile spur from the existing 2,100-mile route running from Alabama, through Buffalo, NY to Ontario.

Bicycle Retailer magazine is reporting that Adventure Cycling just received a $20K grant from REI to continue this routing effort.

The 400-mile alternate will run between Oberlin, Ohio, and Owen Sound, Ontario, according to a press release. Highlights on the new route include the historically rich communities of Sandusky, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan.

Running through northwestern Ohio, southern Michigan, and southern Ontario, the new cycling route will create a cultural heritage corridor centered on the storied Underground Railroad, offering education and recreational opportunities for people of all ages.

The article also recognizes the recent bike efforts in the city of Detroit.

An important highlight on the new route, Detroit has increasingly invested in bike lanes, greenways, urban agriculture, and natural parks. This cycling route will capitalize on these local efforts through tourism and outreach projects such as club rides, youth involvement, and health and history events at libraries, museums, and other sites after the route is completed.

Adventure Cycling has pulled together a very knowledgeable and passionate group of Underground Railroad stakeholders. Combined with the organization’s vast experience, this new route promises to be an exciting addition for cyclists wanting to combine history and bike touring.