Famous in Car Culture, Route 66 Resurfaces as a Destination for Bicyclists

The beauty of a ride along Route 66 can be appreciated as much from behind a set of handlebars as from behind a steering wheel. Sarah Laskow reports on efforts to create U.S. Bike Route 66 as the first national bike route.
August 9, 2012, 6am PDT | Andrew Gorden
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Hailed as America's 'Mother Road,' Route 66 is in many ways the pinnacle of car culture, representative of a time when the automobile truly was king, and a sign of America's coming economic prosperity. Now, decades after decommission, Route 66 is, ironically, becoming a popular destination for bicyclists.

Sarah Laskow, of Grist, reports on the beauty of the ride, and some bicyclist's desire for formal recognition of the bicycle route. "U.S. Bike Route 66 doesn't exist quite yet," says Laskow, "Like the old Route 66, Bike Route 66 is more an idea right now than a reality." That hasn't stopped many from trying to bike much of the road, passing quaint towns, delicious eateries, and miles of "kitsch and chrome." Some of the route deviates from original 66, into interesting places like Santa Fe, New Mexico, but also to avoid longer stretches of 66 where the highway was replaced with I-40.

Some bicyclists are asking for more recognition of Route 66, eventually incorporating the route into a nationwide network of interstate bike routes. "Bike Route 66, which will stretch from Chicago to Los Angeles, is part of the first big push to establish official national bike routes, the cycling equivalent of interstate highways," reports Laskow. "The project [to map the route] has been in the works for two years already, and it will be at least two years more before their work is done..."

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Published on Friday, August 3, 2012 in Grist
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