Southeast - Gulf Shores, AL
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03-24-08, 09:04 PM
I am going to be in Gulf Shores for vacation from April 4th-11th. I am going to be bringing my road bike and have no set plans or places to be. Basically I am interested to here of any good places to ride, or things that I should know or prepare for, being that I am from Michigan. I am used to 80-85 and 90% humidity so that is nothing new, but if there is anything else that I can come prepared for that would be great.
03-24-08, 09:44 PM
I spent five days in the Gulf Shores area a few years ago. There are a lot of visitors and a lot of traffic. We stayed in a high-rise building on 182 east of Hwy 59 a mile or two. I think you could ride west on 180 out to Fort Morgan State Park. The visitor's center there is worth the time. My daughter and some friends vacation there at a beach house between Hwy. 59 and Fort Morgan. Riding out there would be a bit easier than where we stayed. As I remember traffic was not too heavy on 180 out to the Fort and back.
Pensacola is not too many miles to the east and the Naval Air Museum is worth seeing. You would have to ride on open highway. Other than sun and fun, and eating too much, there is not much to do in Gulf Shores. Do go up to Foley and eat at Lambert's ("Home of the Throwed Rolls").
I was in Gulf Shores in early December, and there weren't many tourists around then. I was surprised at all the new high rise condos that have been built in the last 2 years, after Hurricane Ivan knocked down a lot of the older 2 and 3 story condos on wood stilts that were right along the beach. If you are a person who likes to get up early in the morning to bike ride, you should have no problem with auto traffic. That's the best time of day along the gulf, usually nice and calm. There are marked bike lanes all along the shoulder of the main road that runs along the beach front. You will find few other local roads in SW AL that have anything resembling a paved shoulder for bicycles, so other options for on pavement riding many be limited unless you get away from the developed areas. NW FL has paved shoulders along most state highways and there is pretty decent riding in the Pensacola area. Pensacola Beach is great for a long ride along the gulf, the road dead ends for cars but continues many miles further on pavement for bicycles and you will have it to yourself in the early morning.
03-26-08, 12:53 PM
I hope I'm not to late replying, but here is what I can tell you...Early April will not be hot on the beach, but you could run into a few left over Springbreakers. The beach road in GS has nice wide bike lanes, but you wouldn't be able to put in much distance. I would recomend that you try the ride out to FT Morgan. You can park somewhere in GS and ride all the way to FT Morgan without encountering much traffic. I can't remember the exact distance, but it is at least 20 miles out. It is flat, but so is the rest of the gulf area. If you haven't been there, you'll love the beach. Bright white sand and clear water.
03-26-08, 04:11 PM
BF member MPR lives on or near the AL Gulf Coast, but I'm not sure exactly where. PM him. Sure that he has some ideas.
And spoke50, we certainly welcome another from the 'ham to BF. Do any group rides, or are you interested in any?
03-27-08, 07:09 AM
Thanks guys this has been a great help, Flat rides I am used to as anything outside of the city here is farms with no hills. It will be nice to ride with some new scenery.
03-27-08, 10:50 AM
Actually I am. I live right by Oak Mt SP and I ride there about three times a week, but even though the park is a nice place to ride I am a little bored with the scenery. I think that we may have corosponded in another thread that I started concerning the Cheaha Challenge and I am trying to increase my distance to get in shape for longer rides. I've looked at the Bham Bike Club calendar and there are some rides that would fit my scheduel, but right now since my brother moved out of town I have been a loner. What type of group rides are you involved in?
I normally do about 25 miles in the SP at about 17MPH max. I did 40 miles last Friday and will do 45 to 50 tomorrow. I just turned 50 yeaturday so I would probably be better suited in a non-agressive group.
03-27-08, 11:04 AM
Spoke50, I'm closer in town and often ride with the Tuesday night Botanical Gardens ride that starts up next Tuesday. Lots of different level riders and ages in there. Many pack their bikes and come directly from work downtown. Eddie O will start up a Thursday evening ride soon from 459 exit 6 Winn Dixie that also draws a mixed bunch. Check the BBC calender for that one. Most of the other rides I'll do [from the Bham Bicycle Co)once I've recovered from winter are too fast for me, but I struggle through anyway.
There are some routes listed on mapmyride.com for the beach area. Depending on where you are staying there are lots of "safe" bike routes with little traffic, especially early. You can do a out and back along the beach, through the state park, then out to Ft Morgan and back. That route can easily be 50-60 miles depending on where you start. We actually did a training camp down there in Jan.
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