The Adventure Cycling Association is petitioning the California Department of Transportation to open Interstate 40 to cyclists because old Route 66 through the Mojave Desert is still closed due to flood damage and because the old Mother Road is too rough for most bicycles.
So the association is taking for the public’s help so that Caltrans sees things their way. In an email this week, the association wrote:
We need the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to provide legal access to I-40 between Needles and Barstow, California. Presently bicycles are prohibited on this 144-mile section of freeway. The only other option — the National Trails Highway — is currently closed and, in some sections, unsuitable for bicycling.
Without I-40 access, cyclists will have to end their trip early (at the California border) or risk being ticketed by illegally riding I-40. We are now putting the final touches on the layout and design of the Bicycle Route 66 maps, which are going to print in early February and available in March.
The association asks readers email to Malcolm Dougherty, director of Caltrans; Basem Muallem, director of District 8; and Catalino Pining III, deputy district director. A sample letter and email addresses may be found here.
The association also asks that this message be posted on Facebook:
Please act now to help complete Adventure Cycling’s Bicycle Route 66. Ask Caltrans to allow cyclists on I-40 to provide bike travelers with a legal way to bicycle between Needles and Barstow California. http://www.adventurecycling.org/actnow
On Twitter, you can post this message:
Support Bicycle Route 66 in California! #caltrans #acaBR66 http://www.adventurecycling.org/actnow
Or this tweet:
Want to ride Bicycle Route 66? Access denied between Needles & Barstow! Contact #caltrans http://www.adventurecycling.org/actnow #acaBR66
The Adventure Cycling Association is reluctantly recommending I-40 as an alternative between Needles and Barstow in California because Route 66 is too rough for the majority of cyclists. More about the Mojave Desert issues may be read here and here. While San Bernardino County would no doubt love cyclists to enjoy that old stretch of the Mother Road in the future, there aren’t any funds allocated to resurface the old road and make it suitable for cyclists.
The good news is after about two years of research and field work, the association’s Bicycle Route 66 maps are going to the printer next month and will be available by March. This will be very good news for the growing number of cyclists who want to enjoy Route 66.