TransAmerica Trail

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Bikecentennial '76 was a bicycle tour across the United States in the summer of 1976, in commemoration of the bicentennial of America's Declaration of Independence.[1] The route crossed ten states and 112 counties in either direction between Reedsport, OR, and Yorktown, VA, a distance of about 4,250 miles (6,840 km).[2] This route is still in use as the TransAmerica Trail and U.S. Bicycle Route 76. Astoria, OR, was an alternate western terminus, with four additional counties. The 4100 riders who participated represented all fifty states, and ~10% were from foreign countries. Just over 2000 cyclists rode the entire length of the trail.[3] Some rode alone, others rode in groups. The riders were essentially self-contained, i.e., they carried all their gear in panniers on their bicycles. Some riders may have provided their own support vehicles, and some sponsors' vans (including Shimano) patrolled parts of the course.[4] The route was chosen to include many historic sites, but avoid the Great Basin desert, major highways, high-traffic zones and big cities. The riders stayed overnight in motels, campgrounds and even private homes along the way, but also had access to Bike Inns. The Bike Inns were usually school gymnasia, church basements or college dormitories, used for indoor camping. Sheldon High School in Eugene, OR; YMCA in Baker City, OR; Bethel College in Newton, KS; Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL; Buford School in Charlottesville, VA; and Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA, all served as Bike Inns.


In the beginning

A 1976 bicycle tour across the USA was conceived by Greg Siple in California in 1972. Siple, his wife June, and Dan and Lys Burden were riding an 18,000-mile Hemistour from Anchorage, Alaska, to Tierra del Fuego for a National Geographic article at the time.[5] June Siple coined the name Bikecentennial a few months later as the Hemistour progressed through Mexico. Many of the initial contacts made by the Hemistour group to promote their idea came from Greg and Dan's participation in the Tour of the Scioto River Valley (TOSRV) in Ohio. Several more people joined the informal organization over the next three years. Lynn Kessler designed the Bikecentennial logo and promotional graphics, including the map below. Bikecentennial '76 Inc. evolved into the Adventure Cycling Association in the late 1970s. The Bikecentennial newsletter, BikeReport, became Adventure Cyclist magazine in 1994.[6]

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