Author Topic: Underground Railroad Route - Mobile to Shiloh  (Read 4885 times)

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Offline 12phil34

Underground Railroad Route - Mobile to Shiloh
« on: May 09, 2007, 04:27:38 am »
A friend and I finished riding the above (loaded) on April 20th.  It took us 10 riding days to cover about 460 miles of the route (plus several short side trips).  Here are a few observations:

Infrastructure (campgrounds, stores, bike shops) is very limited on this part of the route.  Don't count on being able to buy good food, particularly fruit and vegetables, a hot shower and a secure campground every night or a place that can fix you bike or sell you a part within a day's ride.  The UGRR route is more like the Great Divide mountain bike route than a typical road tour.  You have to be hardy, resourceful and self-sufficient to enjoy it.

Except for a few scary spots, the route largely separates you from traffic (notwithstanding numerous logging trucks locally) and everything else!  There's often not much between towns except pine trees and Baptist churches. You can also ride through many of the communities shown on the Adventure Cycling maps without realizing you've been there!  That said, there's also a lot of very pleasant rural scenery along the way.

The route is mostly on paved 2-lane backroads.  The hills seem small to a western mountain guy like me - typically  100 to 200 ft. high - but there are enough of them to give your granny gear a workout if you're riding loaded.

The locals we met along the way were extremely friendly and helpful, though typically uninformed about bike touring and puzzled as to why anyone would want to travel so far on a bike.  I was apparently such a curiosity with my loaded bike that the local TV station in Columbus Miss. interviewed me!  

There are major dog problems locally, particularly immediately north of Fulton and immediately south of Shiloh.  Nobody there seems to own just one dog and when you appear on your bike, the pack instinct takes hold and you become the prey!  A lady cyclist from the Chicago area (and the only other bike tourer) we met was recovering from a dog bite.  I'd recommend packing bear spray - or heat - in both areas.

That's about it for now.  I hope this helps anyone contemplating the ride.