Missouri and Kansas became the first two states to receive official U.S. Bicycle Route 66 (USBR 66) designation during a ribbon-cutting ceremony in June in Joplin, Missouri. The route covers 345 miles across Missouri and 13 miles across the southeast corner of Kansas, connecting cyclists to Oklahoma and Illinois.
“We are so pleased to see this important historic route — already used by many bicyclists from across the world — officially adopted as part of the U.S. Bicycle Route System,” said Brent Hugh, executive director of the Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation. “We much appreciate the work of MoDOT and leaders of communities along the route who have worked hard for this day. Riding this route really gives a glimpse into the soul of the American heartland.”
USBR 66 parallels the old “Mother Road” on bike paths, county roads and interstate highways and is designated by green and white markers. Cyclists can visit historic Riverton Store (in continuous operation since 1925), the Galena Mining Museum, the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, the Big Chief Roadhouse in Wildwood, the Route 66 Museum in Lebanon, the Uranus Fudge Factory and General Store, Route 66 parks in Springfield and Joplin, Route 66 State Park in Eureka, many period hotels and bridges, and the birthplace of Route 66 in Springfield.
USBR 66 is important for the homage it pays to historic Route 66 but also because it intersects with other key bicycle touring routes, said Hugh. These include the Mississippi River Trail, the Great Rivers South Bicycle Route, the Transamerica Trail (USBR 76), the Lewis and Clark Bicycle Touring Route and USBR 51 connecting Missouri to Louisiana and Minnesota, currently under development.