4300 Miles Across the Heart of America

Map of the TransAmerican trail

The TransAmerican route. Photo: Adventure Cycling Association

The TransAmerica cycle trail was established in 1976 to celebrate the United State’s Bicentennial. In that year more than 4,000 cyclists rode the route and the enthusiasts who created it went on to form The Adventure Cycling Association. The Association now has 46,500 members and researches and produces maps for the Adventure Cycling Route network which has more than 20 routes covering 42,180 miles.

Today there are three trails across America from the Atlantic to the Pacific (0r vica versa), including the Southern and Northern Tiers,  but it was the TransAmerica which came first. It covers around 4300 miles from Yorktown in Chesapeake Bay Virginia, to the Pacific coast, ending at Astoria, Oregon.

We’ve decided to cycle East to West because it follows the movement of settlers across the States from one of the earliest settlements at Yorktown, dating back to 1682, all the way west to the Oregon Trail. As amateur history buffs it just seems the right way to do it – and learn more about this vast continent at the same time.

As this is our first long-distance cycle, the TransAmerica also makes sense. Because it is so well established the trail is  well supported throughout (apparently!),  with plenty of camping and accommodation as well as places to get food and water. Being such a popular route we are also hoping it will give us the opportunity to meet other cyclists as mad as we are!

The route will take us through ten states:  Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois,  Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and finally Oregon.  We are planning to stick pretty faithfully to the route, with one minor alteration  – we are going to start at Virginia Beach right on the coast,  so we can dip our wheels into the Atlantic, before heading to Yorktown. It adds around 60 miles – but hey that’s small beer when you are doing more than 4,000!

If you’d like to follow the precise route we take and look at the detail of distance covered, average speed and total climb then we’ll be using a Garmin to record our daily rides.  All the figures can be found by using the following link to Runkeeper, but bear in mind we can only update this when we’ve got access to a desktop or laptop computer so it may be a few days behind where we actually are on the map!

The Adventure Cycling Association provides a set of 12 maps which cover the entire route and for anyone wanting to find out more their website is an excellent resource