If you’ve gone only so far as the surface of cycling in Huntsville—that is, you are either new to the area or new to the sport—you would be excused for thinking that your choices are limited to either hammering up Cecil Ashburn Drive or weaving your way through flocks of toddlers at a city park.
There is, these days, a grand spectrum between these polar extremes. So get that bike out of the garage, pump up those tires, and take advantage of Huntsville's surprisingly vast cycling routes right now.
Hundreds of miles of marked bicycle routes and greenways connect most areas of the greater Huntsville area, and putting together options to fit your needs has never been easier. Pick rides for your experience level, fitness level, and your comfort level.
From the perspective of a car driver, most Huntsvillians think that there is one north-south route to everything—the Parkway—and a few east-west routes that cross it. But from the seat of a bike, none of those are appealing. Fortunately, options not only exist, but they are drawn out beautifully in a well-crafted map (see below for just how to get one yourself).
Routes connect Wade Mountain Land Trust areas and greenways in far north Huntsville that cycle through historic downtown. They then roll through quiet neighborhoods and the shaded Aldridge Creek Greenway all the way to Ditto Landing. Even better, from there the route extends along the Tennessee River.
You can pedal from east Huntsville and Monte Sano (not to mention the much-revered mountain bike trails up there), whizzing down twisty, shady Bankhead Parkway, wheeling down through Five Points and downtown. Connecting routes extend all the way westward through the UAH area, Research Park, and on to Indian Creek Greenway and routes in Madison and beyond.
Long distance enthusiasts (and especially climbers) can connect to routes that go east over the mountains to Hampton Cove, Big Cove Creek Greenway, Hays Nature Preserve, and Flint River Greenway and beyond.
Extending your ride west to Madison, Greenbrier and Mooresville will be difficult until Old Madison Pike reopens with the completion of Indian Creek Bridge later in 2015.
The City of Huntsville has put together routes with stops at coffee shops scattered all across the city. Or you can hit major shopping areas like Bridge Street or Jones Valley, or stop at many locally run shops and cafes in downtown Huntsville.
Southeast Huntsville cyclist Mark Robinson rides somewhere on the map almost daily. He’s as familiar with what the city has put together for cyclists as anyone.
“The brochure Bicycle Huntsville, AL, is a really good resource that I always take with me on a ramble,” he said. “The format, with north Huntsville on one side and south Huntsville to the Tennessee River on the other, makes the streets and names easy to see. The route numbers the city has assigned to each segment are there, too. A Jones Valley coffee shop is often my first stop. In the time it takes to sip down a cup of coffee, I can put together an incredible day of riding.”
If you want to explore different parts of the city on your bike, but don't want to ride the round-trip, all 13 Huntsville Shuttle routes are serviced by buses that have bike racks on the front (with instructions on the rack for securing your bike).
As of Spring 2015, the brochure Bicycle Huntsville, AL is not available online, but increased demand has prompted Huntsville city planner James Moore to make it available as soon as possible. For now, you can get a physical map from the planning office by called Mr. Moore at 256-427-5111 and a copy will be mailed to you.
The city’s shuttle route maps and extended information can be found at Huntsville.gov or by calling 256-427-6811. If you like to ride with other cyclists, the Spring City Cycling Club was founded more than 120 years ago and offers club-sponsored rides throughout the year. Both the Blevins Bicycle Company and Bicycles Etc. offer more information for cyclists in Huntsville, as well as equipment sales and repair. In Madison, [Madison Cycles](www.madisoncycles.com) offers rides from the store and expertise for cyclists in the area.