Plan a Cross-Washington Bike Ride on New ‘BR 10’
To auto drivers, it’s known as State Route 20, and to recreationalists, it’s the North Cascades Highway. But to cyclists, the cross-state northern highway will now be known as BR 10. That’s short for — you guessed it — Bicycle Route 10.
It’s the state’s first route in a planned nationwide network of routes being promoted by the Adventure Cycling Association. If you’re an ACA member or have used their services, you know they have great maps and routes for long-distance riding all around the U.S.
But this designated route system is different. This will say to all users of these highways: Here be bikes!
The nonprofit Washington Bikes, and especially board member John Pope of Anacortes, were instrumental in working with state officials to secure the BR 10 designation.
Here’s what the ACA says about this first leg of the Northern Tier bike route across the U.S.:
“The Northern Tier begins in Anacortes, Washington, which is located on a peninsula in Puget Sound. Anacortes is also the jumping-off point for folks going to the San Juan Islands, a favorite cycling destination. At the start, the combination of lush forest and ocean feeds and moistens the soul. Heading eastward along the rushing Skagit River, you carry that feeling up to the top of Rainy and Washington passes in the Cascade Mountains. Descending to the east side of the Cascades brings you into the drier part of the state and the widely known orchard country of the Okanogan Valley. Leaving this valley, you’ll be climbing and descending several more passes full of ponderosa pines and finding many sleepy farming communities along the rivers you cross. The river valleys tend to run in a north-south direction across the northwestern part of the United States, and because the route travels west to east, you will be working your way up and down.”
As you wind down this cycling season, consider what cycling challenges you’ll take on next year. Maybe it will be a cross-country trek on the Northern Tier, starting on our own BR 10.
Can’t wait, and want to ride a bit of it now? The route’s official ribbon-cutting will happen this Sunday, Sept. 15 at 1 p.m. in Anacortes.