Cycling City

If you spend any time in Missoula, you’ll notice lots of bikes on road. Cycling is a way of life for many residents of the city.

Missoula’s biking heritage can be traced back to 1976 when a group of 4 Ohio natives created the Bikecentennial event to celebrate the nation’s bicentennial. Using Missoula as their base of operations, they established the TransAmerica Trail to accommodate the 4,200 mile ride from Yorktown, Virginia to Astoria, Oregon. The creation of these trails directly benefitted Missoula as it added many new bike routes to a town that was already a bike-friendly community.

With approximately 4,100 cyclists participating, Bikecentennial’s success prompted the organizers to continue charting long distance bike routes for cyclists. The Missoula based organization eventually became Adventure Cycling Association, one of the nation’s premiere bicycle travel organizations.

Just as Missoula was an important hub for cycling in 1976, it remains a popular network of cycling today.  According to Adventure Cycling Association Executive Director Jim Sayer, one of the reasons cycling remains so popular in Missoula is because the city is mostly flat and easy to get around — not to mention that the community is incredibly scenic, too.

The city is laid out in a way that almost any area of Missoula can be accessed via bicycle, all but eliminating the need for a vehicle. Sayer thinks that such an effective active transportation system is a huge asset to Missoula, noting that it can be another “selling point for businesses that care about quality of life.”

Missoula continues its support of cycling as a form of transportation, as evidenced by the ever-expanding network of bike lanes being built or improved in the city.

Aside from in-city cycling, the Missoula area also offers a wide range of mountain biking trails. The trails vary in location, distance, and difficulty but always share one thing in common – beautiful Montana scenery.