Q: How does the Great American Ride work?

Teams of up to 4, 8, or 12 people will join together to virtually ride 3,700-miles across the country following the Great American Rail Trail™ from Washington State to Washington, D.C.. Team members will track their individual rides on one of the many GPS tracking systems, upload the information and watch your team’s dot move across the map. A leaderboard will also track your progress against other teams.

Q: How much does the event cost and what do I receive?

The cost is $50/person and the fee includes:

  • Event shirt
  • Event medal
  • Virtual finisher’s badge
  • Pre-mapped 3,700-mile route across the country
  • Leaderboard and online map updates
  • Virtual travel experience through fun facts and photos of things you would see along the route
Q: How do I register/join a team?

You will register as an individual. You should assign one Team Captain to set-up your team and share the name for others to join. You will also be able to search for a team during registration and choose to join a team then. For more information, visit our Team Captain Info page.

Q: What are the team sizes and divisions?

A team consists of up to 4, 8, or 12 people. You do not have to have the maximum number in each division to be part of the challenge. For example, if you are a team of 3, then you would compete in the 4-person team category and a team of 9 would compete in the 12-person team category.

Q: Am I able to change divisions mid race?

Yes, you may switch divisions. The deadline to do so is April 15.

Q: When does the event start?

The challenge officially kicks-off on April 6,  so you can start anytime on that day. Registration will remain open and you can continue to add people to your team through May 1. Your team can start later than April 6but keep in mind your team’s cumulative time starts on April 6. The winner of each division is the first team that reaches the finish.

Q: When does my team have to complete the challenge?

All teams must be finished by Friday, June 7.

Q: When do I receive my items?

You can expect to receive your event shirt and medal in May.

Q: Can I participate on multiple teams?

No, you must only compete on one team during the Great American Ride challenge.

Q: Can I ride at the same time as another team member?

Yes, you can ride at the same time as another team member. When you complete your activity is up to each individual.

Q: How do I track and report my ride?

You must track your ride using one of the many GPS-enabled tracking systems (e.g., Strava, Map My Ride, Garmin, Wahoo, etc.). From there you will self-report the time and distance of your ride based on your GPS tracking, which will update the leaderboard and move your team’s dot across the course map. Manual entries without GPS will be permitted but are not encouraged for the sake of ride validation. Details about inputting daily activity results can be found here.

Q: Can I ride on a trainer?

Yes, you may ride either outdoors or on a trainer.

Q: Where does the course go?

The course follows the proposed Great American Rail-Trail™, which will one day traverse 12 states from Washington State to Washington, D.C.. Click here for full course information.

Q: How long will it take for my team to collectively cross the country?

Here are some estimates:

  • A team of 4 averaging 100 miles a day per rider will complete this in 9.25 days. Eat your Wheaties!
  • A team of 4 averaging 25 miles a day per rider will complete this in 37 days.
  • A team of 8 averaging 14 miles a day per rider will complete this in 33 days.
  • A team of 12 averaging 8 miles a day per rider will complete this in 38.5 days.
  • A team of 12 only needs to average 5 miles per day per rider to complete the course in time!
Q: What is the Event Charity?

Rails to Trails Conservancy (RTC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors to build healthier places for healthier people. The Great American Rail-Trail™ is a signature project of RTC and the organization’s most ambitious trail project to date. As the nation’s first cross-country multiuse trail, the Great American Rail-Trail will be entirely bikeable and walkable, connecting travelers of all ages and abilities with America’s diverse landscapes and communities.