What is USBR 7?
Photo by Peter Baiamonte
If you are a bike rider you have probably tested the smooth surface and fine views of the 12-mile-long former railroad corridor known as Ashuwillticook Trail, but perhaps you did not know that it is a small part of a much longer ride, U.S. Bike Route 7, “The Western New England Greenway.” USBR 7 stretches from Long Island Sound to Route Verte in Canada, a distance of 380 miles. It’s a complex network of roads deemed safe for biking, occasionally using dedicated trails.
Imagine a six-day sprint to reach Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal, about 300 miles easily covered in 50-mile days. Or maybe three days to New York, reaching the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a distance of about 182 miles. Trails advocate Dan Bolognani of Housatonic Heritage says that distance biking over planned routes promotes fitness, using a sustainable mode of transportation. A bonus for those bikers willing to go beyond the Ashuwillticook is the opportunity to visit the area’s many cultural attractions along the way. Those serious Spandex-clad riders who whiz past us could be headed to a Tanglewood concert, to the Picasso exhibit at The Clark, or even out of the country. The hardiest of them may even link onto the 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway and pedal all the way to Florida.
Bikers interested in expanding their horizons will find Greenway maps at wnegreenway.org. Bike shops throughout Berkshire County can provide additional information. Better still, contact the hard-working Berkshire Bike Path Council and become an advocate for this exciting and healthy sport.