Friday, August 12, 2016

National bicycle route officially marked through county

U.S. Bicycle Route 76, also known as the TransAmerica Trail, is now marked through Crittenden County and all of western Kentucky. 

Signs have been placed along the route in Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s District 1 and District 2 counties, including Crittenden and Webster.

Route 76 was established in 1976 as part of the country's bicentennial and is celebrating its 40th birthday this year. It was one of the first two U.S. Bicycle Routes established by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the same organization that certifies the United States Numbered Highways system that includes routes such as U.S. 60. The other original national bike route is Route 1, which runs north-south through the Atlantic coast states.

Transpiration Cabinet spokesman Keith Todd said a number of cyclists travel through the area along the route, mainly during the summer months.

“I regularly travel along sections of the bike route. During the summer months you’ll encounter cross-country bicyclists a couple of times a week,” Todd said. “They range from single bikers to groups of three to five generally with camping gear strapped to their bicycles.”

Todd said that motorists who regularly travel highways that carry Route 76 bikers should be prepared to encounter them and, share the road.

“The new signage may not immediately attract additional riders, but it will allow them to more easily travel the route without having to constantly check a map,” Todd said.

Locally, the Route follows Ky. 120 from the Crittenden-Webster County Line to Marion where it takes Ky. 91 North to the Cave In Rock Ferry to enter Illinois.

Marion Untied Methodist Church is a designated overnight spot for bikers, who get a warm shower and soft sofas to sleep on.

The TransAmerican Bike Race also follows this particular route through western Kentucky. That race starts in Oregon and ends in Virginia, passing through 10 states.