US Bike Route 66 will likely pedal through Pomona

a person bicycling on college avenue, with bollards and people walking in the background
Pomona’s campus will likely form part of the official US Bike Route 66. (TSL file photo)

For more than 90 years, legions of motorists have been able to “get their kicks on Route 66,” the U.S. highway that winds its way from California to Illinois.

Now, cyclists from around the world will be able to get their kickstands on a similar route, one that will likely go through Pomona College.

The U.S. Bicycle Route 66, a project led by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the Adventure Cycling Association, aims to pay tribute to the original Route 66 by creating a continuous path for cyclists between Chicago and Santa Monica.

According to current plans, Pomona will likely make up a small part of that path.

From San Bernardino County’s Pacific Electric Trail, the route enters Claremont on First Street, adjacent to The Claremont Colleges Services and Pomona’s southern border, according to the Adventure Cycling Association’s map. It curves onto College Avenue, passing the softball field, Wig Hall, and the new Benton Museum of Art before heading into the Claremont Village on Bonita Avenue.

The Claremont Traffic and Transportation Commission voted unanimously Feb. 27 to recommend that the city council send a letter of support for the proposed route to the California Department of Transportation. 

“I’m excited that this will happen, hopefully,” commissioner Justine Garcia said before the vote. “ … It’s a cool opportunity for people in the city who may not go on very long bike rides to ride down our Citrus Bikeway and feel like they’re able to participate on at least a small portion of this really grand network that this will become a part of.” 

Claremont is also home to part of the actual U.S. Route 66, which runs on Foothill Boulevard north of Pitzer College and Harvey Mudd College. 

City staff originally wanted to put the new route on Foothill, which was recently redone with protected bike lanes. But city engineer Maria Tipping said connections to neighboring roads aren’t ideal for cyclists.

“The local advocates and touring groups figured the Citrus Bikeway is a much more low-stress type of route, and also provides an opportunity for these cyclists from all over the world and from other parts of the country to get to know the downtown areas,” Tipping said.

According to the Association, the U.S. Bicycle Route System, including the proposed Bicycle Route 66, currently spans more than 14,000 miles in 27 states and Washington, D.C.

Laura Crawford, the system’s coordinator, said AASHTO is responsible for approving the route’s official designation.

“California will likely be the third state to designate their section of the route,” Crawford said in an email. “We envision it will take another few years to fully designate the entire route.”

Bicycle Route 66 will be 2,499 miles from end to end, the Association says.

Many riders, using Adventure Cycling’s map, have completed the entire trip, Crawford said. The Association hopes the official designation will attract even more.

If any 5Cers decide to join the club, though, they could take a break at Frank brunch along the way.

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