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Old 08-10-08, 07:55 AM   #1
Fremdchen
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Ride Report - noob ride in Dahlonega GA

Background: my brother and I live in intown Atlanta. I have been riding ~8 months and he has been riding about 2 weeks.

I've really been champing at the bit lately to get out of the city and try out some rural road riding. My brother was up for it so we tossed the bikes in the car and headed up to Dahlonega. It's about an hour north of Atlanta where the foothills start getting bigger.

We found the route online at http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...nega/165002629 It's called Clay Creek Falls ride, about 10 miles of gently rolling hills and short plateaus. The most gorgeous section follows a large creek, with shady banks and water rushing over the stones. Most of the ride is on rural, residential roads and only about 3 cars passed us on those sections. One section is on a busier road with lots of fast moving traffic. The traffic seemed totally bike friendly on our short little jaunt. A few little car horn taps that I think were drivers just trying to alert us to their presence. They all passed us cautiously with a wide clearance.

I was worried that the ride would be balls-to-the-wall hard and steep, considering it's in the mountains, but it was actually easy for us and we are hungry for more. I would recommend the route to beginner road cyclists, for sure!

The route's start/end point was at Dahlonega Wheelworks, one of two LBS's in Dahlonega. It was a very friendly store, and we detected no elitist bull at all. Also they stock some sweet jerseys. http://www.wheelworksga.com/home.php We decided we would be back at some point soon to ride longer and hillier routes!

After the ride we explored the downtown square, which was quite busy, a little touristy but still obviously a functioning community, not just a tourist trap. We had conversations with two shopkeepers who were both very cycling positive and excited about the upcoming Six Gap ride.

Dahlonega seemed to be a way more cycling-positive town than I expected. I think all the horror stories on bikeforums and the news had me expecting the worst out of country drivers. Mea culpa for buying into that stereotype. Overall a very cool experience!

Sorry for lack of pics. I completely forgot my camera.
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Old 08-10-08, 10:08 AM   #2
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I JUST went to Dahlonega for a quickie vacation last weekend. I loved it! I'm from NE Georgia and am only 2 hours away, but for some reason, I've never spent much time there. Did you visit the vineyards? There are 5 wineries there. My sister and I went and we got lost... only made it to 2, but it was awesome and we plan to go back. She's not a cycler, but maybe I can talk her into doing this route. She does have a bike.
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Old 08-10-08, 11:44 AM   #3
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Cool, I had no idea about the wineries. The whole area seems compatible with cycling so I would definitely recommend doing the winery thing on bike (as long as you don't sample too much wine!) I am curious about the six gap event. It sounds way too hardcore for me to actually ride in but it might be fun to see them off, or camp out for an afternoon on one of the climbs to cheer them on. I know, suffering up a mountain or six, the riders can use the moral support!

We might have to come back when the leaves change. I lived as a small child in Ellijay, so the fall leaves and mountain vistas take me way back.
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Old 08-10-08, 12:08 PM   #4
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I hadn't thought of biking to and from the wineries... that would be fun. We didn't see much traffic while we were driving around so I think it would be bikable.

The wineries were fabulous. We started out with Wolf Creek... We ate appetizers and drank wine out on a porch overlooking the mountains and vineyards. It was so relaxing. The lunch menu is reasonably priced. Most of the lunch items were around $10. We went with appetizers and my sister got a cheese platter with about 5 different cheeses for $6.50. I got a crab cake appetizer for $9 and we were in heaven. My sister is a wine snob and I was thinking that she wouldn't like the wine, but she said whatever she got went great with the cheese.

We then tried to go to another winery... Monte Luce or something like that. Only two offer lunch but all of them have wine tasting rooms that are open all day... the price varies from $3 to $5 for the tastings. We got lost and didn't make it to Monte Luce for lunch but we were okay with it because we had only planned to do dessert anyway. We had some chocolate from a hand made chocolate place on the square so we sampled their wine (all Italian brands... they're a new vineyard and don't have their own yet.) and our chocolate on a gorgeous porch with beautiful chairs. I got a few pics with a brand new digital camera so if I figure out how to post them, I will.

They also have great free music on the weekends. We almost missed a great show just off of the square. These guys were setting Greatful Dead music, etc. to the blue grass style. It was awesome.

I think the centuries are too much for me too. I used to ride in flatter ones back in the day, but now I'm riding more to protest the gas prices, as well to complement my running habit. I may do the ride in Atlanta to support the 3 ft law, but my enthusiasm for riding fast in centuries is low. That would be cool to see it though. It might be an even better time to ride up there since bikes would be on everybody's minds.
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Old 08-10-08, 12:10 PM   #5
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sounds like a great ride! congrats on finding something for yourself outside the city.
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Old 08-10-08, 01:02 PM   #6
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I may do the ride in Atlanta to support the 3 ft law, but my enthusiasm for riding fast in centuries is low. That would be cool to see it though. It might be an even better time to ride up there since bikes would be on everybody's minds.
Glad to hear you had a great time there also! Cool little town all around.

It's true about bike-race time, there's no better time to ride around even if you're not a competitor. You get a little extra legitimacy by association.
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Old 08-10-08, 01:48 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Fremdchen View Post
Background: my brother and I live in intown Atlanta. I have been riding ~8 months and he has been riding about 2 weeks.

I've really been champing at the bit lately to get out of the city and try out some rural road riding. My brother was up for it so we tossed the bikes in the car and headed up to Dahlonega. It's about an hour north of Atlanta where the foothills start getting bigger.

We found the route online at http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...nega/165002629 It's called Clay Creek Falls ride, about 10 miles of gently rolling hills and short plateaus. The most gorgeous section follows a large creek, with shady banks and water rushing over the stones. Most of the ride is on rural, residential roads and only about 3 cars passed us on those sections. One section is on a busier road with lots of fast moving traffic. The traffic seemed totally bike friendly on our short little jaunt. A few little car horn taps that I think were drivers just trying to alert us to their presence. They all passed us cautiously with a wide clearance.

I was worried that the ride would be balls-to-the-wall hard and steep, considering it's in the mountains, but it was actually easy for us and we are hungry for more. I would recommend the route to beginner road cyclists, for sure!

The route's start/end point was at Dahlonega Wheelworks, one of two LBS's in Dahlonega. It was a very friendly store, and we detected no elitist bull at all. Also they stock some sweet jerseys. http://www.wheelworksga.com/home.php We decided we would be back at some point soon to ride longer and hillier routes!

After the ride we explored the downtown square, which was quite busy, a little touristy but still obviously a functioning community, not just a tourist trap. We had conversations with two shopkeepers who were both very cycling positive and excited about the upcoming Six Gap ride.

Dahlonega seemed to be a way more cycling-positive town than I expected. I think all the horror stories on bikeforums and the news had me expecting the worst out of country drivers. Mea culpa for buying into that stereotype. Overall a very cool experience!

Sorry for lack of pics. I completely forgot my camera.

Dahlonega is one of the most bike friendly cities in the state.
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Old 08-13-08, 12:01 PM   #8
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I am curious about the six gap event. It sounds way too hardcore for me to actually ride in but it might be fun to see them off, or camp out for an afternoon on one of the climbs to cheer them on. I know, suffering up a mountain or six, the riders can use the moral support!
There's a 50-mile event, and I heard they added a 35-mile ride that day too.
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Old 08-23-08, 11:34 PM   #9
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I'm from Athens, but I've driven through Dahlonega many times on my way to go hiking in the mountains. I could be wrong, but I think drivers there expect to see cyclists on the roads, so that's why they're more bike-friendly.
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Old 09-03-08, 08:36 PM   #10
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sounds great. i was in dahlonega kayaking a few weeks ago. im in kenensaw, i might make my way over sometime
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Old 09-03-08, 09:07 PM   #11
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Dahlonega seemed to be a way more cycling-positive town than I expected. I think all the horror stories on bikeforums and the news had me expecting the worst out of country drivers. Mea culpa for buying into that stereotype. Overall a very cool experience!

Sorry for lack of pics. I completely forgot my camera.
I've learned over decades of cycling in Georgia, to never accept anyone's perceptions of cycling anywhere at face value. Atlanta is a very cycling friendly area, and Georgia (at least North Georgia, where I've cycled extensively) is a very cycling friendly state.
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Old 09-03-08, 09:32 PM   #12
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Oh, and by the way, Dahlonega is one of my ancestral home areas. My great-great-grandfather was the sheriff of Lumpkin County in the 1850s (JH Worley), so I visit there from time to time, and check in with the LBSes. They've been doing group rides for quite some time, and I've never heard horror stories about the outcome of those rides.

Another good area to ride is south Fulton/Fayette/Coweta counties. There are a few wonderful Centuries in those areas, and one of the few problems I've found is that there are so many club ride road markings that it's easy to get lost by following the wrong directional markings (a very good problem to have)
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