« on: December 30, 2016, 11:10:32 am »
This question pops up every year or so. It'd help if you could narrow the route down a bit. In general, from Nashville, you're going to have to cross the Tennessee River, and 1-4 ridges. There's generally more ways over the Tennessee ridges than over Lookout and Sand Mountains in Georgia and Alabama. So, let me list river crossings from west to east. BTW, I consider all the four lane roads in north Alabama highly unfriendly to dangerous for cyclists except perhaps between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. and during Alabama football games.
One of the nicest river crossings is the Natchez Trace in NW Alabama. From there you can build a decent route until you go down the mountain to Gadsden, but then pick back up and perhaps go to the Chief Ladiga/Silver Comet rail-trail. This dumps you on the west side of the Atlanta/Marietta urban area, though.
I'd skip the river crossings in Florence, Decatur, and Huntsville. You might be able to cross the Wheeler Dam bridge below Rogersville if traffic's light, since they closed the paper mill.
Guntersville has nice bridges, but you'd have to endure about 5 miles of high speed traffic either side of the river itself. From downtown, go left past the state park and up Sand Mountain. You can work your way around to Piedmont and Chief Ladiga, or north towards Rome GA via Centre (very low traffic except in peak fishing season).
I'd skip the bridges at Scottsboro because there's only one viable route up Sand Mountain. Even though there's two lanes going up, it's normally got heavy, high speed traffic. There's a few ways across the mountain, and from Ft. Payne on the other side you can climb Lookout Mtn. a couple different ways. Stevenson has a narrow bridge, but usually has less traffic climbing the ridge. From there you can go down into Trenton, which has a somewhat viable route up Lookout, since the curves tend to keep motorist's speed down. Across the mountain there's generally good sightlines, but what's a shoulder?
The bridge at South Pittsburg is great, but you've got a few miles of narrow, winding roads on the other side before traffic lets up. The bridge at Haletown, TN has just been rebuilt, and there's a couple decent ways to get into Chattanooga from there. You can also go down to Trenton and go up Lookout Mtn. there, and either cross the mountain or go down to the Ft. Payne - Rome route.
Chattanooga has two good choices, Market St. and the old Walnut St. bridges. You'll probably have crossed Suck Mtn, and the Cumberland Plateau before that. Getting out of town to the east is a challenge, but south is workable.
I'd skip the Watts Bar Dam bridge. TN 58 bridge in Kingston, ditto. Loudon's U.S. 11 bridge was built before the interstate, so it's plenty big enough, but that's getting a fair bit north and east.
Which way do you want to go? Let me know and I'll see if I can give you more specific suggestions.