The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is funding the placement of roadside signage on Kentucky’s new U.S. Bicycle Route 21 (USBR) begun in July and is expected to continue through the fall spanning through 10 counties and 15 communities. Ultimately USBR 21, a national bike route, will begin in Cleveland, OH and end in Atlanta, GA.
USBR 21, also known as the Daniel Boone Bike Route, begins at the Cumberland Gap and extends 265 miles to the south side of the Ohio River in Maysville, Kentucky. Passing through the historic Cumberland Gap and foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, it crosses through 10 counties: Bell, Knox, Laurel, Rockcastle, Madison, Clark, Bourbon, Nicholas, Robertson and Mason. The route follows much of the “original Boone Trace”, the historic trail established by Daniel Boone in 1775 marking the first road to land west of the Appalachian Mountains.
KYTC provided the Madison County fiscal court with $85,000 to fund the signage project.
“Kentucky is now ranked as one of the top five states with the most miles on the U.S. Bicycle Route System,” said KYTC Secretary Jim Gray.
“By partnering with community members, the Cabinet has earned designation for U.S. Bike Routes 21 and 23, creating new north-south connections with its neighboring states. When we grow the U.S. Bicycle Route System, we’re giving residents and tourists alike greater access to alternate modes of transportation. As a recreational cyclist, these new markings are truly signs of progress and there’s still the opportunity to do more to elevate our bike and pedestrian network.”
The U.S. Bicycle Route System develops partnerships between transportation agencies, bicycle and trail organizations, and volunteers. The Adventure Cycling Association partnered with the Friends of Boone Trace, Inc. to design and implement USBR 21.
“The historic Boone Trace began the ‘westward movement’ of our country,” said John M. Fox, MD, President, Friends of Boone Trace, Inc.
“This directional signage will guide bicycling tourists safely through scenic byways while passing many historical points of interest along the way. Bicycle routes also attract visitors to explore Kentucky’s towns and engage in other outdoor adventures in the Appalachian region that contribute to the local economy.”
With the official designation of two new U.S. Bicycle Routes, Kentucky now has a total of 1,000 miles of connected bicycle-friendly roads. USBR 23 connects the Cave Region of Kentucky from USBR 76 to the Tennessee border. The 109-mile route travels through the small towns and historic sites of southwestern Kentucky and connects to Mammoth Cave National Park.
Both new routes connect to U.S. Bicycle Route 76, “The TransAmerica Bike Route,” which was originally designated in 1982 and has been updated several times since, providing cyclists with multiple connected 500-mile or greater route options across the state of Kentucky from rural Crittenden County at the Ohio River to Elkhorn City in mountainous Pike County. All routes were designed to take advantage of low-traffic roads, allowing for a scenic and comfortable cross-state ride.
The U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) is a developing national network of officially recognized, numbered, and signed bicycle routes. All U.S. Bicycle Routes are certified by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). These new routes bring the total mileage of the USBRS to 14,000.
The trail route was developed over the course of four years by the 501c-3 organization Friends of Boone Trace, Inc., in partnership with Berea College’s Program of Entrepreneurs. Students researched the route and evaluated it for both safety and unique features. The approved route is designed for bicycle touring showcasing low-volume country roads, diverse terrain, picturesque vistas, and significant historic sites, including Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, Pine Mountain Resort Park, Levi Jackson Park, Fort Boonesborough, and Blue Licks Battlefield State Park.
Free digital maps for all designated U.S. Bicycle Routes — including USBR 21, 23, and 76 in Kentucky — are available here through a partnership with Ride with GPS.
For additional information, contact: John Fox, M.D. President, Friends of Boone Trace, Inc. (859) 533-6433.