For riders new to off-road biking, it is best to start slowly on easier trails before taking on the area's more challenging routes. The best place to start in mountain biking is on dirt surface roads and trails that are wider and generally harder packed than single-track trails, and allow new riders to gain confidence without too much risk of sliding or riding too close to rocks or trees.
"When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells
"The thing about mountain biking is that you need to be smart about how quickly you advance yourself from forest service roads and jeep trails to singletrack trails," advises Outdoor Chattanooga Executive Director Philip Grymes.
Lower Truck Trail on Lookout Mountain is an old forest service road that is a good place for beginners. The trail can be accessed through the Chattanooga Nature Center at Reflection Riding and near Ruby Falls. Another option for service road mountain biking is at Prentice Cooper State Park on Suck Creek Mountain. "Once you get off of the forest service roads, Harrison Bay State Park has a really easy mountain biking and hiking trail. There's not big elevation gains, real tight turns or technical features for the beginner to deal with," Grymes adds.
Sequatchie Valley Century
For road cyclists looking to try their first century (100-mile) ride, the Sequatchie Valley Century is a good choice. The Oct. 1 ride, which will start and finish at Sequatchie County High School in Dunlap, is run by the Chattanooga Bike Club, which provides refreshments and support throughout the ride. There are two 100-mile routes available on the Sequatchie Valley Century-one which features a somewhat challenging two-mile climb and mountain descent, and another option on gently rolling roads with no major climbs or descents-making it a perfect first century ride for newer cyclists. Registration is open until Sept. 29. See www.sequatchievalleycentury.com for more information.
Ticket To Ride
Would you like the pleasure of bicycling around the top of Lookout Mountain without the pain of riding your bike up the mountain?
Well, you're in luck! The Incline Railway has a bicycle rack that can transport a bike and rider from St. Elmo to the top of the mountain with ease. Once on the mountain, cyclists can ride to Point Park and explore the top of the mountain before a scenic and thrilling ride down the mountain. For more information on taking a bicycle on the Incline, check chattbike.com or ridetheincline.com.