Author Topic: From Nashville to Atlanta  (Read 4213 times)

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Offline HanseNico

From Nashville to Atlanta
« on: February 12, 2015, 07:56:36 am »
Hi cyclists,
I'm planning to visit an old friend of me in Atlanta (GA) in october 2015. So I had the idea of combining that with a nice little bike-ride for about a week before my stay. Looking around I found Nashville (TN) as a good starting point. The tour is about 500km (310 miles) and should be done easily within 5-7 days.

I searched a lot with google and inside this forum but it seems that this tour is nearly unridden by cyclists. I only found one descriebed route here:

So I planned the route by myselve:
Nashville -> Murfreesboro -> Manchester -> Kimball -> (Chattanooga) -> Lafayette -> Rome -> Hiram -> Tucker (Atlanta)

Wondering that nearly nobody wants to ride here I want to ask you if I missed something on my route making it impossible or too difficult to enjoy. Has anybody cycling-experiences in this area? Maybe something I have to pay attention on like dangerous animals (snakes, bears etc.)?

I want to travel lightweighted and don't want to carry a tent and camp somewhere so I looked up some motels for my daily targets. I'm also open for different route proposals. The only fixed condition is an international airport near the starting point because I'm coming over from germany.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: From Nashville to Atlanta
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2015, 10:26:35 am »
The only dangerous animal would be humans in cars  ;).  The problem with the area is that there are relatively few low traffic paved roads.

Tennessee has a traffic count website so you can follow your route to see if it is within your comfort range.  Look at google streetview over various points of your route.  They also have a bike info page but a lot of the routes seem to be put together by non-cyclists as only highways are used (no county roads).  Most of their proposed routes have fairly high traffic.  If you have a GPS, time to develop the route, and have enough time, you can use county road maps to stay off the highways and get a much truer flavor of America.

Georgia has a statewide bike map that might be useful

Typically, US routes avoid roads that have traffic counts greater than 2500 (# of vehicles per day on average), especially if there is no shoulder.  I glanced at several points along your route and has heavy traffic and/or no shoulders.

All that said, your route is not too bad.  I personally prefer less traffic so would take many more county roads but then again you do have time constraints.

Another thing to consider is that you realistically can fly into any commercial airport unless you do not want connections.  If you were to consider other airports, your areas to utilize greatly increase.

A final option, and probably my preferred choice, is to do a week long tour and rent a car one-way to Atlanta.  For instance, you could do part of the Blue Ridge Parkway (a beautiful ride in October) by flying into a city further north, say Charlottesville, VA, and end of in Asheville, NC.  A one-way rental car to Atlanta would cost about $130.  This route would be more scenic with a lot less traffic.

Whatever you choose, have an enjoyable trip!

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: From Nashville to Atlanta
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2015, 07:48:54 pm »
The problem with the area is that there are relatively few low traffic paved roads.

Au contraire, there's a goodly number of decent roads with little traffic in the area.  The problem areas are getting up and down the ridges, of which there are a few.

I'd suggest a few changes.  Your route from Sewanee to South Pittsburg has a detour to Kimball that's not much fun; I'd suggest going straight over the Tennessee River there and riding into the Chattanooga suburbs (Wauhatchee / Tiftonia).  Alternatively, go north to Tracy City and down to Jasper, then cross the "new blue bridge" on U.S. 41 that opened late last year.  Either way, I'd suggest taking TN 134 from Haletown to Wildwood, GA, then north on U.S. 11.  41 from the river bridge to Chattanooga is sorta OK, and while 134 has a lot of interstate traffic noise from I-24, the traffic on 134 is minimal.  Lots of motels and some restaurants around Tiftonia, if you don't want to go into downtown Chattanooga.  You'll pick 41 up around Moccasin Bend going into Chattanooga.

Leaving Chattanooga, I'd strongly suggest backtracking on 11/41 to TN 58, then stay straight on St. Elmo Ave. until it turns into GA 193.  Bear right to go through Flintstone (the bypass gets all the traffic).  I'd take GA 341 off to the left and follow it until it runs back into 193 going into Lafayette, again to minimize the traffic, although it has a few more hills.

I'd try to stay on the west side of Rome until you get south of U.S. 411.  U.S. 27 is a racetrack with stoplights from downtown until you get beyond everyone's favorite I-75 access road.  I'm always amazed when I drive through there how many cars it has, since you just don't see the traffic north, south, or west of town.

I can't tell from your route, but I presume you'll pick up the Silver Comet trail in Rockmart?

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: From Nashville to Atlanta
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2015, 09:25:12 pm »
As to OP's other questions, there's a fair bit of cycling around Nashville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta, as well as Huntsville and Knoxville,  There's not too much bicycle touring that I know about.  I'll speculate on a few reasons.  First, it's hot in the summer, when most people have time to vacation.  Much more likely people will go fishing or boating, or go to the beach, or up into the mountains for camping, hiking, and of course shopping.  Most people will ride a metric or century in one day and go inside, or go mountain biking.  Second, what touring does go on is pretty dispersed, because there are few long cycle routes.  Adventure Cycling's routes leave a big hole in the southeast.  Third, and related to the first, there's a lot of other things to do in this area in the spring and fall; why limit yourself to bicycling day after day?

There are some dogs in Tennessee and Georgia, but (IME) they're not as bad as Kentucky.  We have copperheads and rattlesnakes, but unless a cyclist goes into the brush when nature calls, he's most likely to see a dead snake on the road.

Offline HanseNico

Re: From Nashville to Atlanta
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2015, 04:29:46 am »
@John Nettles: Thanks, it was great hint to few the streets by streetview. I  nearly walk the whole way virtually down for 3 days now. I think, there are a lot of good roads for cycling as soon as you leave Nashville behind (seriously, I don't know at all how it's possible to ride a bike in the urban regions without fearing for my life).

@Pat Lamb: Thank you, too. I've seen some of your mentioned spots in streetview, too. The traffic history site was also helpful. I will think over your hints and include them in my planning.

When there is no big showstopper coming, I will take that tour. But I think I'll skip Nashville and take a transport to Murfreesboro and start from there. That would also give me the option to take more detours over more rural roads.