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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Broadening My Biking Horizons

      I recently had a need to be out on Lee Hwy and Vance Road.  I had never ridden my bike out there and wanted to give it a try.  First, finding a route.  There is no direct obvious route.  So I checked Google Maps to see what it suggests.  Hmm-go out McCallie and out Brainerd Rd.  Lots of traffic, dealing with up to six lanes of traffic and a tunnel.  The tunnel does have a bike warning light. I have ridden Brainerd Rd but is not my idea of a good time.

Bike Warning Flashers on a couple of tunnels in Chattanooga

  I wanted to ride the RiverWalk to the end and slide up next to Hwy 153 along the Access Road.  Unfortunately, that will only get me as far as Bonnie Oaks and then I must detour a good bit out of my way to get up to Lee Hwy.  It would double my riding distant.  No good.

   So I split the difference.  A little ways up the River Walk, crossing Amnicola to go up Willow, the Shallowford then Airport Road.  I did have trouble crossing Amnicola becasuse the stop light does not recognize bikes and the traffic is heavy, and it  did take me through the Wilcox Blvd Tunnel-a long tunnel with no warning lights.  Shallowford Rd was totally torn up in front of Vulcan from the big trucks.  But Airport Road was wonderful-flat, country atmosphere with practically no traffic.

Wilcox Blvd Tunnel

   Was it a good ride?  Well, it won't become a favorite.  It is doable even though it has its moments.  Surprisingly, since this is not a route that gets many bikes, I did not have one driver honking or in anyway being disrespectful to me.  But neither did I receive any thumbs up or extra courtesies.  I think drivers were so stunned to see a cyclist there were no reactions.  I had more negative reactions going out to St Elmo yesterday on an established bike route.  Go figure.

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