Where to Go?

10 Jan

One of the things I use the so called off-season for is to plan bike tours for the upcoming year.

It’s a rough job, but someone’s got to do it.

This time last year is when we booked the Vermont to Quebec City tour that we did in August/September.  Good tours get sold out fairly early (learned this lesson in 2009) so decisions have to be made and $$ committed long before you do the actual tour.

Advance planning required, I just hate that.

Anyway, for 2011 we had decided to ride the Natchez Trace.  I found out about the Natchez Trace parkway last fall.  Interestingly, this Southern girl had never heard of it.  It supposedly offers beautiful scenery, good roads, no commercial traffic, plenty of places to check out along the route and lots of history too.  Sounds like bicycle heaven, at least as far as the U.S. goes.

The Trace is 444 miles long, starting (or ending if you prefer) in Natchez, Mississippi going straight north to just south of Nashville, Tennessee (see map).  It also goes through a corner of Alabama, so it would be a three state ride (but not a three hour tour… ;)).

A lot of cyclists ride the Trace as is evidenced by the number of trip reports on the Crazy Guy’s website.  I read a number of them last night and subsequently learned about a few issues with riding the Trace.  The main one being that there are no services, (food, stores, etc.) on the actual road, you must exit the Trace and travel in some cases 10 miles+ to get to a town. 

Even then, in some areas it doesn’t seem there are many resources even in the towns – most importantly restaurants/stores.  It isn’t a deal-breaker but it is something that has to be worked out and planned for.

Complicating things further is if we ride the Natchez Trace we will apparently have to do it self-supported.  We haven’t found any supported tours for the Trace except for a women’s only tour.  I find that surprising, but that’s how it seems to be, at least so far. 

I’ll fess up, we like the comforts of a supported tour, but we also like the safety net it provides.  The social part is nice too.

Further searches will ensue. 

Another logistical issue is getting back to the start site.  We are considering doing an 0ut and back ride, splitting the Trace up into a couple of tours perhaps. 

Nothing is decided yet, we are going to consider other areas too.  On the off chance that someone actually reads this post, if you have knowledge of the Trace or a recommendation for a good tour or place to ride I’d love to hear it.

Be right back

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For the Love of Bikes Blog by Susan Lash (2009 - 2014) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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