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BlackCoffeeKid
LSU Fan
South Louisiana
Member since Mar 2016
7571 posts

Cycling the Natchez Trace
Anyone here ever cycled the Natchez Trace? (Partial or entirely)

I'm in the very early stages of planning a full ride from South to North. Was wondering if anyone had any tips on places to stay/eat, things to see, or anything else I should know.

TIA


crazyLSUstudent
LSU Fan
391 miles away from Tiger Stadium
Member since Mar 2012
3927 posts

re: Cycling the Natchez Trace
I've ridden the first 30 or 40 miles of it. The asphalt is pristine and low traffic and I am guessing the whole trace is like that expect for the few sections that come close to big towns. I know a couple of people who have ridden the whole thing. I believe they camped out but I believe you can plan it where you stop in hotels if that is more your thing


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TimeOutdoors
Mississippi St. Fan
Depends on the day
Member since Sep 2014
6942 posts

re: Cycling the Natchez Trace
I have biked most of it over the years and can't count the miles I have put on it driving.

Here is a Link With some information. It's not my site.

crazyguyonabike.com is another great source of information with journals of past trips. Natchez Trace

The Parkway has some bike only campgrounds that aren't well known. They have information about them on their website or you can call the visitor center. Many people just use Airbnb for the entire trip and there are also a few commercial tour groups that do trips every year (If you are an avid cyclist and comfortable with your abilities, I would skip this option).

The Parkway is mostly 11 foot lanes and even though the speed limit is 50 mph, except for the northern end, people are often driving much faster. I would make sure I had lights on the front/rear of my bike. I would try to miss the peak hours around Tupelo and would use the multiuse trail in Jackson. I also made sure I had a mirror so I could see people coming from behind (if you don't use a mirror currently, play around to see what works for you. For me it was one that attached to my sunglasses).

It can be hot and humid. I am not sure where you are coming from but this is a trip you want to do in the spring/fall. You also want to make sure you have plenty of water.

You are going to hear horror stories from people here I expect, but I never had any issues with drivers.

I guess the last thing I would say is that most accidents that have happened on the Parkway happened in rural/low traffic areas. Just because you are in a wide open area with plenty line of sight, don't put your guard down.


Backinthe615
Member since Nov 2011
6711 posts

re: Cycling the Natchez Trace
quote:

mirror


Good post. It’s wild how long I’ve lived here and finally drove the Trace this past fall. Beautiful.

I bike all the time in hilly Nashville, but mostly stay on the secondaries to avoid traffic.

I’d always, wrongly assumed Natchez had bike lanes. It’s very worth your mention that bikers are on the same road with cars. Some speeding.

Not at ALL to discourage OP, but heed this dude’s advice. You will have some blind turn/hill moments with traffic coming both ways.

Make sure you can always check your 6:00 while still taking in the sights.
This post was edited on 2/12 at 5:54 pm


BlackCoffeeKid
LSU Fan
South Louisiana
Member since Mar 2016
7571 posts

re: Cycling the Natchez Trace
Thanks to all the responses so far. I definitely need to do research.
Think I may take a couple of weekend practice rides to get used to the area before going for the entire thing.

I don't plan on doing it until at least the Fall or even next Spring, so I have awhile.


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ELLSSUU
LSU Fan
Member since Jan 2005
5404 posts

re: Cycling the Natchez Trace
quote:

I also made sure I had a mirror so I could see people coming from behind (if you don't use a mirror currently, play around to see what works for you. For me it was one that attached to my sunglasses).


Never rode the Natchez Trace. I’ve driven parts of it. Personally I’d be a bit scared due to the narrow roads and blind curves. I’ve been run off the highway once.

If you don’t have Garmin Varia radar I’d highly recommend. You may have to figure out how to recharge. There are YouTube videos on cheap ways to do so. Even riding neighborhoods I feel better with it. It includes audible beeps so you don’t have to look down at bar-mirrors constantly. Note, I never tried sunglasses mirrors.


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Bonnie Blue
LSU Fan
Nashville
Member since Apr 2011
134 posts

re: Cycling the Natchez Trace
I rode the entire Trace a few years ago. North to south. Took 5 days. Traffic wasn’t too bad with the exception of about 10 miles through Jackson and about 5 through Tupelo. I stayed in campgrounds. It’s pretty flat until you get into Tennessee. Went in early September so it was pretty warm but getting water was not much of a problem. Luckily I didn’t have any flats but I did bring 2 or 3 extra tubes and an extra tire. The only disappointment during the trip was wanting beer one afternoon somewhere south of Tupelo and the damn county was dry.


BlackCoffeeKid
LSU Fan
South Louisiana
Member since Mar 2016
7571 posts

re: Cycling the Natchez Trace
quote:

I stayed in campgrounds

Thinking I may do the same. May treat myself to one or two B&B's though, mainly so I can get a cup of coffee in the morning.

Next step for me is figuring out how I want to rig out my bike with seat/frame bags.
This post was edited on 2/15 at 3:52 pm


Bonnie Blue
LSU Fan
Nashville
Member since Apr 2011
134 posts

re: Cycling the Natchez Trace
I don't know what type of bike you have but I put a rear rack that bolted to the frame and Ortleib paniers. also had bag that hooked to the underside of frame. I only had 2 water bottles and would stop and fill up about every 20 miles or so.


BlackCoffeeKid
LSU Fan
South Louisiana
Member since Mar 2016
7571 posts

re: Cycling the Natchez Trace
Currently have a Specialized Allez. Not even sure if I can put panniers on it, but I think I'm going to try and avoid them regardless to cut down on my aerodynamic drag.


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TimeOutdoors
Mississippi St. Fan
Depends on the day
Member since Sep 2014
6942 posts

re: Cycling the Natchez Trace
quote:

If you don’t have Garmin Varia radar I’d highly recommend.


What’s the battery life like? Don’t disagree at all I’d just not want to count on it without a backup. Not many places to charge it. Only the volunteer pads have electricity in the campgrounds.


Paluka
LSU Fan
One State Over
Member since Dec 2010
10747 posts

re: Cycling the Natchez Trace
quote:

The Parkway is mostly 11 foot lanes and even though the speed limit is 50 mph, except for the northern end, people are often driving much faster. I would make sure I had lights on the front/rear of my bike. I would try to miss the peak hours around Tupelo and would use the multiuse trail in Jackson. I also made sure I had a mirror so I could see people coming from behind (if you don't use a mirror currently, play around to see what works for you. For me it was one that attached to my sunglasses)


I’ve spent lots of time and miles on the trace. Had a friend get hit and killed by a car.

Rear view mirror is mandatory on the trace. It’s a great ride but, as always, be careful.


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ELLSSUU
LSU Fan
Member since Jan 2005
5404 posts

re: Cycling the Natchez Trace
Garmin claims 4-16 hours depending on which mode you are using. It has several modes from always on to detect and flash. I’ve never done a full day ride so cannot directly speak to that performance. I do like the way it warns me of cars coming from behind and flashes red if their closing speed is fast.


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