Skip to main content

Road Trip on 2 Wheels Instead of 4 Along United States Bicycle Route 66

route 66 road train
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Route 66 is in peril. As the heyday of the old-school American road trip faded in the mid-20th century, the iconic cross-country highway fell into serious disrepair. Now, Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) is looking to rekindle a love for America’s “Mother Road” by paving the way for the great American cycling trip.

The first official miles of United States Bicycle Route 66 are now open in Missouri. Once the ACA approached the state with their plans, including turn-by-turn maps, state officials hopped aboard almost immediately. The meager beginnings of USBR 66 begin in St. Louis and wind westward through Rolla, Springfield, and Joplin. The western end of the route currently dips into Southeastern Kansas as well.

Cyclists on USBR 66 ride on two-lane rural roads that parallel or exactly follow the original Route 66 motorway. The ACA is working hard to balance cyclist’s safety with preserving the road’s history and authenticity. While much of the route’s vintage nostalgia has succumbed to “progress,” glimmers of its past remain. There are still filling stations, classic chrome diners, quirky roadside attractions, and other bits of road trip-related kitsch. As many of the small towns along the way realize the potential for tourism, more of that memorabilia is sure to follow. Even the small, initial part of the route has already proven wildly popular with cyclists.

The route is (for now) a tiny part of the ACA’s official United States Bicycle Route System of cycling trails that criss-cross the country in nearly 30 states. The association boasts more than 13,000 miles of trails with the goal of topping 50,000. USBR 66 will be at the heart of that network — literally and nostalgically. The hope is that it will one day follow all 2,400 miles of the original Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica, California. That, of course, requires a monumental amount of time, money, resources, and a dozen states working together in concert. It’s a project that will have to unfold one small piece at a time, but the ACA is hopeful that their dream will one day be realized.

To plan your own bike trip down Route 66, Adventure Cycling Association offers free maps of USBR 66 and tons of other bike routes across the country.

Editors' Recommendations

Topics
Mike Richard
Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He's kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South…
Study: First class flights may be less expensive than you think (especially if you fly this airline)
American Airlines is the most budget-friendly option for travelers seeking first class luxury
An American Airlines plane in flight in a cloudy sky

For many travelers, the allure of first-class air travel is undeniable. The extra legroom, gourmet meals, and personalized service create an experience that's a world apart from economy class. However, the cost of upgrading to first class can often be a deterrent. But what if we told you that there are budget-friendly options for first-class flights? A recent study by Upgraded Points sheds light on the best airlines to fly first class on a budget within the United States.
The study
Upgraded Points conducted an extensive study analyzing the price variations in first-class tickets across four major U.S. airlines and twelve of the busiest domestic flight routes. The study meticulously gathered ticket price data from Google Flights, focusing on the 12 busiest domestic flight routes within the U.S.

To ensure a comprehensive representation of pricing trends, both peak and non-peak departure dates were considered. The costs were then averaged to determine one-way ticket prices for both economy and first-class seating. It's important to note that the study excluded U.S. airlines that do not offer first-class or lacked sufficient data on the analyzed routes.
Delta Air Lines first class
Delta Air Lines emerged as the front-runner in the study, but with a caveat - it charges the highest premiums for first-class tickets. Passengers opting for first class can expect to pay $284.55 more for a one-way ticket compared to economy. Despite the premium, Delta Air Lines has recently upped its game by introducing new first-class seats with privacy partitions, adjustable neck cushions, and additional storage space, making it a competitive choice for those willing to splurge.
Alaska Airlines first class
Alaska Airlines stands out not only for its high first-class ticket price differences ($281.25) but also for its unique amenities. The airline goes above and beyond by serving food in its first-class cabins on flights as short as 550 miles. This catering to shorter flights sets Alaska Airlines apart from most other legacy carriers that typically reserve in-flight dining for journeys longer than 900 miles.
United Airlines first class
United First Class offers a more budget-friendly option for travelers looking to experience first-class comfort without breaking the bank. With a price difference of approximately $250.23 between economy and first class, United Airlines provides an enticing opportunity to enjoy an elevated flying experience.
American Airlines first class: The Most Affordable Deal
Among the airlines studied, American Airlines first class is the clear winner in terms of affordability for travel. Passengers can expect to pay just $235.85 more for a one-way first-class ticket compared to economy. This makes American Airlines an attractive choice for those seeking a premium experience without a hefty price tag.
Average Premium for first class
On average, passengers traveling within the U.S. can anticipate paying a premium of $262.97 per flight (one-way) or over $525 (round-trip) when choosing a first-class ticket. This figure underscores the appeal of budget-friendly options like those offered by American Airlines and United Airlines.
Conclusion
While the lap of luxury may come at a price, there are notable exceptions for travelers seeking first-class experiences on a budget within the United States. Delta Air Lines, despite its premium pricing, offers cutting-edge amenities, making it a top choice for those willing to splurge. Alaska Airlines' unique dining options and United Airlines' budget-friendly fares are also worth considering. However, the title of the most affordable deal goes to American Airlines, which provides a premium experience without a substantial price difference.

Read more
Brilliant travel hack could save you a ton when booking international flights
A few clicks could save you a ton on travel
Man waiting for flight at airport.

We all want to make everyone else jealous with our photos from our exotic overseas vacation. But when it comes down to actually booking the trip, we go into panic mode over the amount of money we're going to spend. From the flights to the hotel to local transportation to sightseeing tours, all we see are dollar signs flying away, and for some, that's enough to turn things into a staycation. Traveling internationally doesn't have to be so expensive, and this one hack could save you a ton of money on your flight (and possibly other areas of your vacation abroad). 

The travel tip is so simple
It's an easy two-part setup to get this money-saver for international flights

Read more
TSA PreCheck adds 4 airlines to program – and here they are
If you're traveling abroad, this is a big deal
TSA security line.

Everyone who has a flight to catch will agree on one thing — that going through airport security is the least fun part of flying. From having to strip down to walk through the scanner to trying to remember if you have any liquids or other items TSA is going to ask questions about, once you get in that line, the anxiety starts. That's why more passengers are hopping in the TSA PreCheck line, so they don't have to worry about any of that. To spice things up and speed up airport security wait times, the Transportation Security Administration just added four more airlines to their PreCheck program to make flying a heck of a lot easier for a lot more travelers.

What TSA PreCheck gets you
Why would you want to be a TSA PreCheck member when you travel? There are so many perks besides a shorter line, though that is the main draw. 
The reasons to be a member

Read more