Roaring Fork Motor Trail, Smoky Mountains National Park
Hey! Remember me? I used to post here. Actually, I've got five rides to document from my weak notes - probably just mileage.
Anyway, I'm out of town this week and not riding, but I hope to get back in the groove on Monday. My family is vacationing in the Gatlinburg, TN area this week. I had planned on bringing a bike, but the logistics didn't work out. Once I got here and saw the layout, I'm glad I didn't bother.
Gatlinburg itself seems like a nice place, but we're not staying there. Our condo is in Sevierville, which is a long drive down the "Parkway" from Gatlinburg. Not since Las Vegas have I seen a more car-centric location. The Parkway is a four lane (plus turn lanes) highway with high speeds and no bike lanes. There are sidewalks that cross a multitude of streets and driveways. Plus, the traffic is thick. I drove my wife and daughter to an outlet mall about a mile away, and it took 10 minutes in each direction! If I had brought the bike, I wouldn't be able to use it for any travel to restaurants or other tourist spots.
It's likely that there are alternate routes that would be good for recreational rides, but as a tourist, I haven't been off the main drag.
Now, I should say right now that I could have done a little research to find cycling routes in this area. First, I should have contacted cyclist, mechanic, blogger, and Boilermaker Gatlinburg Spokejunkie
for information. She describes great rides around the area, and I'm sure she would have had some great suggestions. Next time for sure!
This makes me wonder how visitors seen my town. I've written often about the great options I have. Since I live in the country, I can get to a quiet county road about 30 seconds from my front door. My commute to work and trips to shopping are easy and calm. I'm a lucky guy.
However, those passing through Lafayette/West Lafayette will see the foreboding traffic and inaccessible roads near the hotels next to the interstate, or the four lane racetracks around the mall - much like what I've seen here. While I find riding around campus
to be easy, newbies may be intimidated. I know which two streets to avoid downtown to make any ride a breeze.
I guess my point is that there is potential for good riding just about anywhere, but we (especially me) should be more open to a little exploration before passing judgment. Next time I'm on vacation, I'm going to do the homework before hand, and take some rides to find the good stuff.
And, I'm going to give Gatlinburg another chance when we return someday. Also, I'd like to offer the Spokejunkie a chance for rebuttal. Drop me a note or leave a comment with your response.
Miles Ridden: 0