Fun Biking for Everyone

Sewanee has been a well-kept secret for biking of all kinds, but is starting to grow a large community of people of all ages with diverse biking interests, types of riding, and skill levels. From mountain biking on trails, road riding, paved trails, to everything in between, there is an option to interest any type of biker. There are many fun and engaging ways to become involved in biking in Sewanee.

For girls and women, two groups support skill development and empowering trail rides for ages seven and up. Little Bellas <>, a national organization with a local presence in Sewanee, provides a fun skill- and confidence-building half-day camp for girls ages 7-11 during the early part of June. Sewanee GoGirls MTB is a local group dedicated to getting more girls and women riding bikes on trails with twice-monthly rides and skills-based learning opportunities. Sewanee GoGirls MTB rides are regularly scheduled on the first and third Sundays of every month, starting at 3 p.m. from the Lake Cheston parking lot. Rides are accessible for anyone with basic trail experience, with adjustments for age, duration, and skill level as appropriate. Mountain bikes are recommended for all trail rides.

For families, new riders, and anyone interested in biking a short distance with social time afterwards at a local restaurant, there is a monthly Community Bike Ride on the paved Mountain Goat Trail (MGT) every first Saturday of the month starting at 4 p.m. from the gravel parking lot in Sewanee. This is a great ride for younger children and families. Riders who prefer biking on dirt trails also have the option of riding a short MGT section before exiting and riding to Lake Dimmick and back, then joining in social hour afterwards. To learn more about the Mountain Goat Trail, go to <> or email <>.

Sewanee Elementary School (SES) has a group called Tigers Don’t Leave Tracks (TDLT) with a mission to improve environmental sustainability, partly through biking to school. This group uses resources from the community to provide opportunities for learning bike safety, basic maintenance, and creating safe ride routes from town to campus and trails in the area, with parental supervision and group organization through TDLT. A similar effort to improve bicycling safety and promote bike commuting in Sewanee and our surrounding area is currently led by Shelley MacLaren, director of the University Art Gallery, who has created bike advocacy programming through her work on the University Art Gallery exhibition Action By Design: Sustainability Planning in Sewanee and her connection with community planners and university leaders.

For middle school and high school students attending St. Andrew’s-Sewanee school or schools in the Murfreesboro, Nashville, and Chattanooga areas, there are interscholastic mountain biking teams competing in the Tennessee Interscholastic Cycling League, part of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA). More information about these teams and the national organization can be found at <>, <>, and <>.

For road riding fans, the University of the South’s SOP <; has both road and mountain biking opportunities for college students and there is a loose community group for adult riders to connect via text message for weekend co-ed road rides of 25-75 miles in length (with communication coordinated by Jeff Heitzenrater).

Bike rentals (including E-bikes) suitable for riding on smooth trails and on the paved Mountain Goat Trail are available at Woody’s Bicycles, with sizes for kids and adults. Drop by Woody’s Bicycles in downtown and check out their rental fleet and friendly bike repair service.

For more information, email Beth Pride Ford at <>.

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