Bartholomew County’s efforts to promote health and fitness, tourism and being bicycle-friendly to residents and visitors have received a welcome boost.

The county is one of 16 in Indiana that have been incorporated into United States Bicycle Route 35, the first nationally approved and interconnected cycling route in Indiana.

The United States Bicycle Route (USBR) system is an effort to make an easy-to-follow bicycle route network of urban, suburban and rural streets and roads, highways, paths and trails across the country to help communities leverage economic, health, environmental and tourism benefits. More than 12,000 miles of USBR routes currently exist in 25 states.

The 360-mile route in Indiana runs head to toe through the state and county, including a section of Columbus. The Indiana portion starts near the shore of Lake Michigan in LaPorte County and runs to Clark County just above the Kentucky border, with views of the Louisville skyline. Outside of Indiana, Route 35 starts in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and connects to USBR 45 in Louisiana.

USBR is a welcome addition to the features Bartholomew County can promote because of how it ties in to other amenities and attractions.

Bartholomew County is home to several bicycle clubs and annual bicycle events, such as the fundraising Hope Ride and Girlfriend Ride. The route aids long-distance cyclists and encourages people to explore their counties, states and larger sections of the country.

A section of USBR will use Columbus’ People Trail system when it heads west along Jonathan Moore Pike/State Road 46. The People Trails are popular among walkers, runners and bicycle riders as a safe way to exercise and enjoy nature.

When the route heads south on Washington Street through downtown Columbus, it will allow riders to take some of the city’s architectural gems. Columbus has more than 50 examples of Modern architecture, for which it is internationally known.

Considering that maps and amenities for each county along the route are part of the promotion of USBR 35, it’s possible that some riders may want to stop in Columbus and Bartholomew County to spend a little extra time before continuing their journey.

USBR 35 represents a wonderful opportunity for bicycle riders to get out and explore their community, state and country and experience memorable adventures.