My girlfriend and I are going to be in Savannah this coming up weekend. Saturday or Sunday morning I may take the road bike out for a spin. We're staying at the Westin on Hutchinson Island there at the Georgia/South Carolina border and was looking into some routes. I'm not wanting a large distance but would like it a mininum of 15miles and max 30 (whole trip). I'll be riding solo and any route that increases the chances of seeing a gator (the real one not the fans) is a plus.
Do not ride your bike out to Tybee! Some people do it, but that road is extremely dangerous, particularly this time of year because of high speed traffic and the lack of shoulder. There is sort of a shoulder, but it is covered with road tire puncturing debris and rumblestrips. Perhaps you could do it very very early in the morning, but it still might be a death-defying experience.
There are some good rides closer to where you'll be staying. On Bull Street just north of Liberty Street in downtown Savannah at the Gallery Espresso coffee shop, a big group rolls out at 8am on Saturday. There are different levels for this ride. The more chill group will do about a 30/35 mile loop. It's been a while since I've done it and the routes change from time to time, but the hammerheads tend to do more like 40-50, and it is fast. Sometimes, there is an intermediate group that does the longer distance but closer to a 20mph average. Show up to the coffee shop early, introduce yourself, and ask what's going on that week.
On Sunday, there's a ride from the same place, but I think it leaves at 9am. It tends to be long and fast, but they may add a "B" group if there's enough interest.
Bikes are allowed on the Talmadge Bridge, but it is part of I-16, so ride it at your own risk. The shoulder is not clean, but people do train on it from time to time. It is a major climb.
There's an easy 30mi out-and-back from downtown (near the Civic Center) that starts out Old Louisville Rd. Follow this map out to the intersection of Pine Barren Rd and GA-17. (the loop goes clockwise, so look at the side opposite the airport for these roads) Then turn around.
Thanks. I'll look into those depending on how the evening goes (if I piss her off I'll see you guys bright and early).
Another question that I just thought of. My GF might get into some mountain biking and I'll have my mountain bike with me too. I'll have my road bike but it doesn't do too well on off road. Are there any mountain bike trails (I know it's flat and that's perfect) that are very pretty and scenic? Something on Skidaway or near Jekyll/St. Simons. And if so are there some good bike shops that might let my GF rent a mountain bike or something along those lines?
Hmm.. not that I know of, though I am not familiar with stuff around those islands. There is a small paved trail with maybe some dirt riding parts on Hunter Army Airfield that runs next to the perimeter road. You need an ID to get on base. The road is decent training for a road bike. It's about a 10mi loop. Just watch for diagonal RR track crossings. I prefer to enter at the gate on Habersham and White Bluff. Go straight in and then take your first major (2nd?) left onto the perimeter road. Some turns are easyish to miss the first time and you wind up in the housing neighborhoods, but you can't get too lost.
I just got an email that some people are doing a ride on Saturday starting from the Coastal Carolina Hospital (at exit 8 on I-95) at 8:30. 70 miles, 21-22mph. It's a good ride. Painfully flat, but good. There's a store stop where you can turn around that I think would put you closer to the 30-40 range. I'm not sure if the majority of the Sunday coffee shop ride folks will be going out there instead of staying in town.
Oh, there is an old rail trail that runs out towards Tybee. It goes by Fort Pulaski down a fairly long way alongside US-80. It's totally flat and usually has a bunch of runners on it. There are various places to park along 80 to get to it.
The rail trail at Tybee is pretty sweet. Also, for a mountain bike I would recommend the Savannah Wildlife Refuge. It's not far from where you're staying and you see birds and alligators. It would be a nice little ride on a mountain bike.
I wouldn't ride Hwy 80 to Tybee. It's too dangerous. For a leisurely road ride, I would ride across the bridge from where you are and cruise around downtown. You can zig-zag the streets and take a few laps around Forsyth Park, ride through Ardsley Park (beautiful) and use the Habersham bike route. It's the North to South bike route for the city. A good bit of it has a bike lane and the traffic is slower on it.