Bicycle Love. Our Favorite Rides in Georgia
In a recent blog post, we talked about our Love Affair with Cycling and rekindled a conversation about the best places to ride in the United States.
There's no doubt that most cyclists have heard about the legendary climb up Mt. Lemmon in Tucson and have seen pictures of beautiful roads outside of Boulder, Colorado, but we think the great state of Georgia should be in the mix too.
And since our Founder - Kebby is from the East Coast we thought it made sense to brag on one of her favorite rides called Six Gaps.
The North Georgia Mountains are Challenging and Beautiful
If you’re ever in Atlanta, GA and have access to a road bike, we'd encourage you to head up to the North Georgia mountains and tackle Six Gaps. Known as “The Gaps.”
This challenging and breathtaking route will take you on a rollercoaster ride of peaks and valleys. The Gaps has sections with sustained grades of 9 to 12 percent, so be ready for some serious climbing. And don’t forget to pay attention to your surroundings, as you will be experiencing one of the most stunning landscapes in the country. Especially during the fall.
Each of the six gaps has its own flavor: “difficult,” “more difficult,” or “super challenging.” Hopefully you’ll be bringing your riding legs and will be ready for the challenge.
Most people start in Dahlonega, situated a little over an hour northeast of Atlanta in the Appalachians.
If you ride the route in a counter clockwise manner, you’ll reach Neels Gap first. While not overly steep, Neels is a persistent four-percent grade that stretches on for around seven miles.
When you reach the top, you can refill your water bottles and stretch your legs at Mountain Crossings Outfitter which is a hiking gear store right on the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail. When you’re ready, zip up (the descent can get pretty cool even in the spring) and start down. Your next climb will be – Jack’s.
Jack’s is a tough climb in parts, with a lot of rollers for recovery. It leads into Unicoi Gap which is a three-and-a-half mile climb with an average five-percent grade that closes with a beautiful and picturesque descent.
At this point you may find yourself thinking, “Hey, these Georgians are pretty soft, this is supposed to be the toughest ride around.” No worries, as soon as you hit Hogpen Gap you will learn that the state which produced Gwen Torrence, one of the finest female sprinters in the world, and Cheryl Haworth, an Olympic weightlifter who can raise up to 25 tons during a typical workout, would not call a ride tough just for the heck of it.
Hog Pen is a seven-mile burn with an average six-percent grade. This alone is challenging, but when you consider that the climb includes about three miles of 9 to 12 percent grades, any thoughts of soft Georgians will quickly be incinerated by the burn produced from your quads.
After a steep descent you are greeted by Wolfpen Gap, three miles of shady switchbacks climbing at an average of about 4 percent, followed by a treat of spectacular creek, forest and mountain views on the descent.
Woody’s Gap, the final climb, won’t be terribly punishing if you paced yourself but it will reward your hard day’s efforts with a long and scenic descent.
Six Gaps is a tough but fun ride and is one of my personal favorites -- take on the challenge and you won’t be disappointed. Oh and be sure and wave at anyone wearing a Coeur Kit. We suspect they'll wave back and you may make a new friend!