The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approved U.S. Bike Route (USBR) 30 and USBR 230 as Wisconsin’s first nationally designated bicycle routes. The 269-mile USBR 30 crosses the state from east to west. It begins in Milwaukee, at Lake Michigan, and ends in Bluff Siding, on the Mississippi River. The route uses multiple types of existing bicycling infrastructure, including:
- state and county bike trails
- local roads and bike paths
- state and county highways
USBR 230 is an alternate leg, providing routing directions for use when the Merrimac Ferry (Colsac III) is not in operation.
“Establishing this route has been years in the making and it’s a great accomplishment for the state,” Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Secretary-designee Craig Thompson said. “More than 70 communities in 11 counties worked together to create this great transportation corridor that will be enjoyed by local, regional and national bicyclists.”
USBR 30/230 guides bicyclists through more than 160 miles of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WisDNR) state and county trails. Many of these trails are converted former railroad corridors, including:
- Hank Aaron State Trail (State Trail)
- Oak Leaf Trail (Milwaukee County Trail)
- New Berlin Trail (Waukesha County Trail)
- Glacial Drumlin State Trail (State Trail)
- Capital City State Trail (State Trail)
- 400 State Trail (State Trail)
- Elroy Sparta State Trail (State Trail)
- La Crosse River State Trail (State Trail)
- Great River State Trail (State Trail)
- New Berlin Trail (State Trail)
- Oak Leaf Trail (State Trail)
A map and turn-by-turn directions for USBR 30 and USBR 230 are available on the WisDOT website.
“More than half of USBR 30 is made up of our state bike trails,” said Preston Cole, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary. “This new route gives bicyclists detailed directions to navigate across the state, providing yet another way to experience our great outdoors.”
“When you explore Wisconsin’s fresh coast by bike, whether in our forests or the flowing and meandering Driftless Region, cyclists will find thrilling trails, vibrant urban areas and awe-inspiring landscapes,” said Tourism Secretary-designee Sara Meaney. “We are honored to have U.S. Bike Route 30 welcomed into the U.S. Bicycle Route System’s national network.”
Wisconsin’s USBR 30/230 route showcases many natural and cultural resources while traveling through rural, urban and suburban communities – creating opportunities for people everywhere to bicycle for travel, transportation, and recreation.
The USBRS was established in 1978 by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). AASHTO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing highway and transportation departments in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. It represents all transportation modes with the primary goal to foster the development, operation, and maintenance of an integrated national transportation system.
The U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) is an evolving national network of bicycle routes. Currently, more than 14,000 miles are established in 29 states and Washington DC. For more information on the national system see Adventure Cycling Association.
Economic impacts of bicycling
In addition to the recreational and health value of bicycling, the 2019 Economic Impact of Bicycling in Wisconsin, released by the Governor’s Bicycling Coordinating Council, reports that $1.42 billion was spent by consumers on bicycle-related expenses in Wisconsin in 2017. Bicycling is one of the top five favorite outdoor activities for Wisconsinites. More than one third of Wisconsinites are involved in bicycling, including rail-trail biking and other trail biking, mountain biking, and fat-tire/snow biking.