Our family is being forced to consider a career move to Rome, Georgia. I'm wondering if any of you live in that area and have some comments on what is good about living there and what is not so good. I've been commuting by bicycle, up until a few weeks ago when Winter really hit in Maine, 9.6 miles on hilly terrain. How is bicycle commuting in the Rome area? How are the road conditions and the traffic conditions? Are people pretty accepting of bicyclists? Any other commentary on making such a major move? Thanks for any attention you can give to this.
I grew up in Georgia, living in cities across the state (Atlanta, Athens, Clayton, Valdosta, Savannah) but not Rome. I can't tell you about local road and traffic conditions, but I can tell you that the climate is substantially milder. You would have no trouble commuting or riding year-round, although you might have trouble adjusting to the heat and humidity initially. As far as acceptance, I found no difference in the attitudes of Georgia drivers toward cyclists compared to anywhere else I have lived or ridden.
Lived in Georgia all my life, but I've never lived in Rome... But here's my take on that area:
Rome has two pretty good sized private colleges located there, so I'd think that you may see more bicycle traffic than most average Georgia towns. So maybe drivers are more accustomed to seeing cyclists.
That part of the state is much hillier than down here where I live... good if you like hills... bad if you don't.
It's fairly near Atlanta and it's social scene. Lots of bicycle events there...
As far as road conditions and traffic... that probably depends on you. What I mean is that you will need to choose your dwelling with bicycle commuting in mind. It would be easy to live in a rural location where your only choices for roads are two lane highways or 45MPH marked roads where people drive 65. Your commute will largely be in your control, depending on where you choose to live.
Cycling year round is easy... sort of. You'll have little or no snow to contend with in the winter, but watch out for the summer heat! When you couple the heat with our legendary humidity, it can literally be deadly if you aren't careful. This past summer we had 12 days of temps above 100F... several days registered a heat index of over 115F!
I think that I'd try contacting a bike club in Rome... ask some questions.
Thanks for you input Hydrated and Tarwheel. I know the heat will be a big deal for us all to get used to. I don't guess we'll miss the below zero cold we get here, sometimes for weeks. Our snow is 3 ft. deep on the lawn and we won't see grass here until late April or early May. I'm riding usually on 2 lane roads with no shoulder and a 50 mph sign. Traffic isn't too heavy, but I do have to pay attention and I'm used to that.
The biggest obstacles we have to moving is our close friendships at church here in Maine and the trouble our 11 year old son has with any changes.
Our family is being forced to consider a career move to Rome, Georgia.
All I know is that all roads lead to it. Sounds like cycling possibilities to me.
Plenty of church-going folks in Georgia. And there is nothing better for getting used to change than change. I moved a lot as a kid, and yes he may feel culture shock making such a move. I can't speak for now, but when I was a kid in the south, the Civil War was very much alive still. And having been born in New York City, though from a southern family(Georgia and Texas), I always had to be the "Yankee" in our battle games. And the Yankees NEVER won.
A good strategy might be to contact your pastor and get connected into the local church in Georgia. They can help you get set up and provide some initial friends for your son. Look at your son's interests and find out how to plug him in to them in Georgia.
Rome is north of Atlanta, 1.5 to 2 hours, sort of in the mountains. It is a neat town with several rivers running through and gets its name from the surrounding hills (like the ones on which Rome is situated). I stayed there for 2 days when the tour of Georgia was being hosted and rode all over the place. found several bike shops, lots of other riders, some nice bars/eateries downtown and generally friendly people. The area is hilly, not real mountains per se, but definitely not flat land. In my opinion, the riding would be good, but in and around town the traffic during the daytime may be a little daunting. There don't seem to be many paved shoulders or bike lanes around, so you will be riding on the road with traffic a lot. Traffic seemed to be about like it is most places in that people were mostly respectful of bikes, and if not the cause was more likely ignorance rather than agression. I rode around the town for 3 days and never had any real problem and was riding most of the time with my 13 year old daughter behind me. That's my experience for what it's worth. Suggest you contact a few bike shops or cylcing clubs in the area.
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I have a weekend house up there, and it's a nice little town. Not as many bikes as you would expect for a 2 college town. The traffic is generally friendly to cyclists, even if there are no accomodations for us. There's a good little shop run by a couple of engineers who also build custom frames. There are rolling hills since it's at the foothills of the Appalacians (sp?) But in the summer it actually gets hotter than Atlanta because it's in sort of a bowl.
There's a big ol monument to Nathan Bedford Forest at the cemetary. During the war he kept Rome from being burned. Just pointing this out to say it's the south and all that comes with it.
There's a Pirelli tire plant there, plus a paper mill...you know, the usual southern industries. I would say that finding a church would be the least of your worries, since there is something for everyone. It's a very active cycling community, with good rural roads and not a lot of traffic.
Lived in Atlanta for 8 years when first married. We got by with one car - I bike-commuted almost every day. Ice was more of a winter problem than snow but both are rare events. Wonderfully long Spring and Fall weather.
Bedford Forrest: "A divisive figure, he is remembered both as a cavalry leader and a leading figure in the postbellum Ku Klux Klan." Wikipedia. Hard to avoid running into reminders of the Civil War in Georgia.