If you’re looking for a theme for your next cross-country bike ride (aside, of course, from the obvious theme of “cross-country bike ride”), then you might want to check out the Underground Railroad route. Though there are a number of routes that made up the historical Underground Railroad network — clandestine paths by which slaves attempted to escape both before and during the Civil War — the Adventure Cycling Association chose to map a route guided by the song, “Follow the Drinking Gourd.”
The 2058-mile route begins in Mobile, Alabama, and winds north through river valleys and wildlife refuges, before culminating in Owen Sound, Ontario on Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay. Along the way, the Route passes a number of highlights, including Africatown, Hal’s Lake, and several important churches.
The Adventure Cycling Association has maps for the route available ($56 gets non-members the complete set of 5). Alternatively, you can go on a guided tour with the Association, if you can spare 5 weeks.