U.S. Bike Routes
The United States Bicycle Route System (USBRS) is the national cycling route network of the United States. It consists of interstate long-distance cycling routes that utilize multiple types of bicycling infrastructure, including off-road paths, bicycle lanes, and low-traffic roads. As with the complementary United States Numbered Highways system for motorists, each USBR is maintained by state and local governments. The USBRS is intended to eventually traverse the entire country. The USBRS was established in 1978 by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the same body that coordinates the numbering of Interstate highways and U.S. Routes.
INDOT, the Adventure Cycling Association, Bicycle Indiana, and the Hoosier Rails to Trails Council announce the designation of three U.S. Bicycle Routes that will span Indiana from border to border, a combined total of 610 miles. In September 2015, AASHTO approved INDOT’s applications for USBR 35, USBR 36 and USBR 50 U.S. Bicycle Routes are officially numbered bicycle routes that connect communities and the nation. The routes are for experienced long-distance bicycle riders – generally considered “touring cyclists” – who are comfortable riding on most types of facilities, including roads without any special treatments for bicyclists. This group also includes utilitarian and recreational riders who are confident enough to ride on busy roadways and navigate in traffic.
The maps for the three Indiana USBRs are provided along with a PDF describing turn-by-turn route directions.
The nearly 381-mile, north-south route crosses Indiana from LaPorte County on the Michigan border to Jeffersonville at the Big Four Bridge over the Ohio River. Because USBR 35 was previously approved through Michigan, the route now connects southern Indiana to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, for a total of 865 miles. USBR 35 follows county roads, city streets, state highways and off-road trails, traversing along diverse topographies and ecosystems, including wetlands, forests, fields and agricultural land. Cyclists can explore cultural and historical attractions and bicycle facilities along the route, including the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. Of all motor and bike routes in Indiana, USBR is the only international route. The requirement for local approvals in creating USBR 35 also set a model for creating other cross-state and local bike routes in Indiana.
This 58.7-mile route runs between Illinois and Michigan, with 35 miles of the route on off-road trails. The route begins near the southern tip of Chicago in Hammond, where it soon diverts from an urban setting to a loop trail around Wolf Lake and its 1,000-foot boardwalk bridge through naturalized areas hosting a myriad of wildlife. The route connects with the Erie-Lackawanna Trail, and along the Oak-Savannah and Prairie-Duneland trails. These off-road trails eventually lead riders to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The Dunes Highway, or U.S. 12, takes cyclists through Michigan City and eventually crosses the Michigan state line.
This 160-mile route connects from the Illinois border, near Terre Haute, to Richmond on the Ohio border. The Ride Across Indiana bicycle ride follows this route, which passes through rolling hills and agricultural land, and many bike-friendly communities in central Indiana. USBR 50 intersects with USBR 35 in Indianapolis