Peddie Bicycle Touring 2007:

The “Junior” Ride, A Country Narrative


THE “JUNIOR” RIDE – A Journey of National and Personal Discovery.


Do you want a journey this summer of unpredictable richness?  // Want a challenge unlike others out there?  // Want to do something special, something epic, something to which others might say “Whoa?….Really? You did that?”  // (This trip is open to all returning Peddie students, not just juniors)


After gathering at Peddie and then driving south, you will begin your adventure at the Ebenezer Baptist Church  and the King Center in Atlanta, and then, in a fitting coda almost a thousand miles later, you will conclude your trip through Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall. Now who, besides you, will have done that??


There is one slot open for an eager adventurer, male or female, for this three week bicycle tour that follows a handful of powerful American narratives, a ride conceived by Juniors at Peddie and  designed by junior Charlotte Babcock ’08 (working with Mr. Clements).  Open to all returning Peddie students, the trip requires an eager attitude and a considerable level of fitness. To move nimbly and quickly, and to ensure easy contact with the people we meet along the way, the group will remain small:  three to five students, and one adult (PJClements).  We ride the best backroads we know; we camp in the evening (commercial and state park campgrounds are scattered along the way), and do our own cooking, a style of travel called “self-contained bicycle touring.”


DATES:   June 24-July 18 +/-   [24 days =  Three weeks of bicycle touring, three days of pre/post travel = 900 + cycling miles, self-contained.]


TRIP COST, GEAR: Transportation, food, shelter, and group expenses will be divided equally. Preliminary research suggests maximum expense to be under $1,000 per person. Peddie will provide camping gear, cooking equipment, and bicycle travel trailers (BOB trailers): riders provide their own clothing, cycling gear,  and bicycle.


INTERESTED? Contact teacher Pat Clements [] or Project Leader Charlotte Babcock ‘08  [].


TRIP ROUTE: Specifically, here’s a more robust version of the route. We will ride from Atlanta (GA) -> New Echota-> Chattanooga (TN)  -> Knoxville -> Bristol -> Wytheville (VA) -> Roanoke -> Lexington -> Charlottesville -> Washington DC (see map above).We begin at the Ebenezer Baptist Church and the King Center on Auburn Street in Atlanta, where Martin Luther King, Jr. was born and later preached; we end on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where he delivered his most famous speech. Within this story of civil right are more American stories, all linked. We ride through the rural south, toward Chattanooga along General Sherman’s 1864 Atlanta campaign (in reverse); in Georgia and Tennessee we ride through the Cherokee story of their Trail of Tears (1838). Further up in Virginia we encounter the Scots-Irish 18c settlement of the uplands; we ride across the Wilderness Trail; we touch sites of the Civil War, the climbs and descents of the New River Valley and the Shenandoah Valley, we visit Thomas Jefferson’s home and university in Charlottesville, we explore the rich land of northern Virginia, and we focus our conclusion on the Nation’s Capitol. By traveling old US11 for a long section, a road that was both “The Wilderness Road” and “The Virginia Valley Road,” we bicycle travelers are assured of campgrounds, historic sites, and a steady sequence of towns, cities, colleges and universities as well as the connectedness to civilization that a more distant or less densely populated route might not include. The 900+ mile route includes plenty of subtle natural beauty, especially while riding between the ridges of the Tennessee and Virginia valleys. and plenty of gorgeous land and people every step of the way.


ORDER OF MAGNITUDE:  Any three week tour =  20 riding days @50 miles/day = 1,000. So, delete a riding day for an additional rest day off the bike; subtract two more riding days for weather, oddities, or opportunities; increase the average of actual riding days and/or subtract 150 miles from 1,000. So a three week tour with a small, able group can cover 850-1,00 miles with plenty of flexibility and necessary wiggle room. This ride, designed by Charlotte Babcock ‘08 fits these design principles perfectly.



document last update: May 24, 2007 by Patrick J. Clements
Copyright (c) 2007     Peddie School