We have done this tour in 1997, 2000, 2005, and 2009.
Atlanta, GA to Portland, ME
Arrive Atlanta, GA Saturday, September 8
17 riding days 1,752 miles 103 miles per day
We have ridden the Eastern Mountains Tour four times before. Our starting location varies but we always follow the spine of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains from south to north. In 2012 we start in the rolling hills near Atlanta, Georgia and finish in Portland, Maine on the Atlantic Coast.
The first two days have moderate climbs in introduction to what is coming. Georgia is the foothills of mountains that cover most of the eastern United States. By the time riders enter North Carolina they will understand why this tour is called “The Eastern Mountains Tour.”
These mountain roads tend to be steeper than the grades in western states. It is not uncommon to find 12% grades on smaller side roads. All riders should have a low gear of at least a 39 tooth chain ring and a 27 tooth rear cog. A triple crank with a 30 tooth chain ring would give riders a choice of even lower gears.
Riders shouldn’t think this tour is all grunt and no fun. In fact, mile for mile, this tour has been voted the best cycling of any of our tours. It's Important to remember that this tour has a wide range of riding intensity: every 5 mph climb is followed by a 50 mph desent. The roller coaster effect of this tour makes most of the days rideable at a 12-17 mph average.
By the third day we enter the Blue Ridge Parkway. These six days have some of the most spectacular scenery with over a hundred scenic overlooks of the valley, 1,000 feet below. Most of these days will average 7,000' of climbing per 100 miles of riding making it the hilliest part of the tour.
Fly home Wednesday, September 26
On the ninth day we leave the Parkway, heading into Pennsylvania. Amish farms abound with horse drawn buggies. The road network offers many routes for cycling. One highlight is the 18% truck grade sign at the top of the last big hill. This grade is a stinker and probably the steepest hill of the entire tour.
We ride into New York State after three days. If you are a baseball fan spend a few hours at the Baseball Hall of Fame, or watch a game at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, NY. (http://www.cooperstown.net/) The lakes and hills of this region are perfect for the summer homes and resorts built here with the four season climate and spectacular scenery.
Our final days climb over the Green Mountains of Vermont and White Mountains of New Hampshire. Many of the small rural towns haven’t changed much in 100 years. A small white church and general store are main attractions in towns. This is a way of life in many eastern mountain communities.
The Eastern Mountains Tour exposes you to areas of the United States unique for their history and charm. This is not an easy bike ride. You should not attempt if you cannot train as much as you would for a coast to coast tour. However if you do like long rides through some of the best scenery in America this is a good tour for you.
$2,795 based on double occupancy
$900 extra for single