On September 24, 2015, Arizona became part of the United States Cycling Route System, an interstate network of designated cycling routes spanning 11,424 miles of roadway in 23 states and the District of Columbia. The system utilizes existing roads and requires no new infrastructure. Arizona joins seven southern states with sections of U.S. Bicycle Route 90, an east – west system of routes stretching from California to Florida. U.S. Route 90 traverses Arizona in a continuous 573-mile route from California to New Mexico. The route winds through many of Cochise County’s historic, cultural, and tourist destinations such as Bisbee, Tombstone, the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, Sierra Vista and Douglas.
Along the route, recreational and support services including restaurants, campgrounds and bicycle repair shops are identified for cyclists. Supervisor Patrick Call, writing in support of this Bicycle Route designation for the Cochise County Board of Supervisors, noted that “Cochise County is situated in a unique scenic, cultural and recreational area making many sites within our County key cycling destinations.”
The Perimeter Bicycling Association of Arizona sponsors several annual bicycling events with the County and calls the Cochise County Cycling Classic, “the jewel of their Perimeter Bicycling events as it offers the most scenic route around southeastern Arizona.” High adventure and extreme competitive races (over 100 miles in length) are sponsored in Cochise County by organizations like the Greater Arizona Bicycling Association; VBT Bicycling Weekly Vacation; Bicycle Adventures; Cycling Escapes as well as the Pacific -Atlantic Tours. The economic value of these events cannot be understated: an ADOT 2013 Economic Impact Study of Bicycling in Arizona report found that out-of-state bicycling tourists bring in more than $88 million in benefits to the state’s economy each year.
Thomas Armstrong, Vice-President of the Cochise Bicycle Advocates and a League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructor, was very pleased when the designation was announced. He stated that members of the Cochise Bicycle Advocates worked very hard with Cochise County to support the USBR 90 designation and they “believe that the USBR 90 in this area will become a bicycle tourism bucket list destination.”
The U.S. Bicycle Route 90 mapping and turn-by-turn directions will be posted by the Arizona Department of Transportation at: www.azbikeped.org. More information about the national bicycle route system and detailed maps can also be found on the Adventure Cycling Association’s website at www.adventurecycling.org.
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