This is a paper written for Troop 350 to explore alternative sites for Scout outings. The paper is intended to be a dynamic tool to plot potential outings and to give brief documentation on the history (possibly from the Campmaster) of the success of our past trips for future reference. The table of contents is interactive, just click on any section you want to explore.
Many thanks to all those contributing ideas and material to this paper.
Summary: Trails’ website http://www.trails.com/toptrails.asp?area=10419 lists top rated bike rides by state. Also, the Spring City Cycling Club http://www.springcity.org/ is located in Huntsville, Alabama. They offer club sponsored rides every weekend. Planners can use a biker’s average leisurely speed of 10 MPH as a benchmark for time requirements.
Redstone Arsenal, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama (13 miles)
Take a weekend outing and practice bike rides through the Arsenal.
Columbiana Cruise, Chelsea, Alabama (111 miles)
This 32.7-mile loop explores the charming back roads of Shelby County southeast of Birmingham. It is rated as one of the best rides in Alabama. You'll ride along winding country roads past cemeteries, churches, and farmhouses. Featuring nothing spectacular to see or do, this ride is the pleasant sort of bike ride that every bicyclist has in his or her basic repertoire. Pastures, cornfields and a one-lane wooden bridge await. Terrain: rolling hills to flat.1 Chief Ladiga Trail, Piedmont to Weaver, Alabama (112 miles)
This is a 22-mile ride that passes through welcoming towns and pastoral landscapes. Following a former CSX railroad corridor, the rail-trail is named for the Creek Indian leader who signed the 1832 Cusseta Treaty, surrendering the tribe's remaining land in the area. Remarkably flat and mostly smooth, the trail enters open fields and arcs through small towns and quiet countryside, passing beneath canopies of pine, dogwood, and other native trees and alongside enchanting wetlands.2
This 104-mile trek is rated one of the best rides in Georgia. The Chatahoochee River ripples quietly past brick warehouses once textile mills, and a Civil War iron works now restored as office buildings. This area of Southwest Georgia chronicles a fascinating historic chapter. This ride ventures from the northern edge of Columbus into the red clay hills that rise to the north. After skirting railroad tracks for the first 25 miles, the route heads toward Pine Mountain, Warm Springs, and Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park. A tour through the outdoor treatment pools in the town of Warm Springs illuminates the gravitational force of the artesian hot springs that offered hydrotherapy to polio victims and drew President Roosevelt to the area over forty times. Terrain: rolling to hilly.3
Natchez Trace, Nashville, Tennessee (115 miles)
This ride is 444-miles. The path runs from Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi. It linked the Cumberland, the Tennessee, and Mississippi rivers. Native Americans and early European explorers used it extensively as both a trade and transit route in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Today, the trail has been commemorated with the 444-mile-long Natchez Trace Parkway, which follows the approximate path of the trace. The trail itself has a long and rich history, filled with brave explorers, dastardly outlaws and daring settlers. 4
Cumberland Plateau Classic, Lake City, Tennessee (246 miles)
This 64.2-mile ride is rated one of the best in Tennessee. The ride from Norris Dam State Park to the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area crosses through the rolling-to-mountainous terrain of the Cumberland Plateau, through elevations ranging from 1,400 to 1,700 feet. Although the route is intended as one day in a weeklong excursion across the state, this ride can lay the foundation for an adventure-packed three-or four-day weekend featuring the rich and varied Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. Terrain: rolling hills to mountainous5
Skyline Drive runs for 105 miles along the length of Shenandoah National Park. It sticks to the high points of a rampart of mountains and has views west out to Shenandoah Valley and east to Virginia proper and the Atlantic. For many cycle tourists, the Skyline is the ultimate experience. There is some climbing to be done right at the outset. Actually, it is a total of 22 miles of climbing up 2,000 feet to 3,385-foot Hogback Overlook. You won't face anything like that again, but don't think that the rest of the ride will be easy. There is no paved shoulder on the Drive, but that's OK; the road is usually wide enough for comfortable sharing. Watch out for RVs anyway.6