Thursday, October 21, 2010

What do you need to take on a Natchez Trace Parkway biking trip?

For this topic I sought an expert's opinion. Jerry Dusterhoff, an avid cyclist who has written books and blog articles about his numerous bicycle trips, was more than willing to offer his expertise on this topic.

In April of 2010 Jerry and several of his cycling friends biked the Trace (Follow this link to view pictures of their trip.).

90% of the information is based on his recommendations. For more information about Jerry and his cycling books, please see: Acyclist Publishing

The article covers the following areas:
  • Your Bicycle's Needs
  • Food and Water
  • Clothing and Personal Items
  • Maps, Phone Numbers and Important Information
The amount of information is fairly extensive. To view the complete article please go to Biking the Trace Tips @

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Which Direction to Bike the Natchez Trace Parkway?

Which direction should you bike the Natchez Trace: North to South or South to North?

Some cyclists start in Natchez and bike north to Nashville while others start in Nashville and bike south to Natchez. What are some of the factors to consider when making the decision about which direction to bike?

Uphill or Downhill - the northern half of the Trace is hillier and has a higher elevation. Elevation at the northern terminus is 710 feet and the elevation at the southern terminus is 160 feet. So, there is approximately 550 feet more descent than ascent going North to South - an average of only 15 inches a mile! The more important question is: if you are biking the entire Trace, do you want to bike the hilliest section at the beginning or end of the trip.

Prevailing Wind - generally the wind flows west to east. The Trace actually goes southwest to northeast so biking South to North will put the wind at your back more often than in your face.

RV Traffic - the only large vehicles that you will encounter on the parkway are recreational vehicles. Commercial traffic is prohibited so you won't see semi-trucks. Most of the time RV traffic is light. But, in the fall there are a fair number of RVs heading south for the winter. And, in the spring the same RVs are heading back north for the summer. Ideally, you would like to bike on the opposite side of the road. So, a fall bike trip would be best going South to North and a spring bike trip would be best going North to South.

Logistics - this can be a determining factor for those biking without a support vehicle. How will you arrive at your starting point and how will you get from the end of your trip back to your vehicle or back home? This is something we can help you think through the possibilities.
We can help you talk through these factors and decide which direction is best for your cycling group. Call us at 800.377.2770.
Click here for more Biking the Natchez Trace Parkway Tips.