Savannah is a great place to walk and bike, if you know your neighborhoods and are aware of the rules of the road.
While we do have some bike trails in the city, some are not very well maintained and you may find yourself having to ride out in traffic with the cars in order to avoid the crumbling bike path pavement.
Also, even though you may see other people doing it, riding on the sidewalks and through, rather than around the squares is illegal as well as dangerous as pedestrian tourists are not paying attention to where they are going to begin with and will easily walk out in front of you leaving no time to hit the brakes or swerve.
If you are adventurous and have good lungs and strong legs, you can take the Talmadge Bridge early in the morning (the only time it is unofficially open to non-motorized vehicle traffic) and ride from Georgia to South Carolina in under ten minutes – a pretty neat claim to fame.
Riding downtown early in the morning before businesses open is always a treat, especially early on a Sunday morning, when the city seems almost ghost-like with a low lying fog and Spanish moss dripping from the trees.
On the south side of Savannah (there are two south sides by the way) you can ride through Coffee Bluff, down Davidson Avenue and toward Rose Dhu Island and the Girl Scout camp. If camp is open, you can even ride down the narrow man-made dirt road surrounded by marsh on both sides.
Armstrong Atlantic State University provides a less traveled venue for biking, though since the introduction of on-campus housing, many of the beautiful old trails there have been destroyed, and speed bumps block access to easy pedal through traffic.
On the other south side, a ride along Isle of Hope’s Bluff Drive, Norwood and LaRoach Avenue provide marvelous views of the waterfront and old board houses. The Marina at Isle of Hope is gorgeous at Sunrise with gleaming white sailboats and an occasional dolphin touring near the docks.
A trip down Ferguson Avenue takes you past Bethesda Boy’s Home where huge herds of cattle still graze along the roadside overhung by intertwined live oak trees that form an archway over the road.
If you stay straight you reach Diamond Causeway. A turn to the right after the Kroger store will take you down Pin Point Road with opulent homes on the waterfront and run down trailers and wooden houses on the other side of the less desired wooded area.
Turn left after Pin Point onto Lehigh and left again on Shipyard Road and you will find yourself near Beaulieu and Rio Vista and Burnside Island, all with views of the water, woods and old plantations with Savannah Grey Brick fencing and immense rolling lawns.
Riding at the beach and on the beach is a real treasure and the route along the Tybee Lighthouse, though hot in the full heat of day, is a wonderful place to travel early in the morning or later in the evening as the cool ocean breezes always seem to face you no matter which direction you take!
Don’t let Savannah’s name fool you. Even though it is a flat land, there are plenty of hidden hills and inclines, though none as steep as the Talmadge Bridge.
The bridges from Victory Drive to Wilmington Island can take the wind out your lungs and set your legs on fire as well if you are not used to pedaling uphill.
Traffic along Highway 80 and the Johnny Mercer Blvd. can be brutal, so be careful and stick as close to the side of the road as you can.
The back roads of Wilmington Island are a little less hectic and offer better scenery and serenity as well. Take a ride past the old Sheraton Hotel, a can’t miss octagon shaped building on the water with yellow/orange walls and a rusty red roof.
Paula Deen lives not too far down on the same road, and a trip down Walthour and Penn Waller roads is a sheer delight as you cruise past old homes, massive oaks, unique yard displays (mostly nautical) and an occasional castle-like home with Spanish flair.
If you are worried about riding alone, there are a lot of bike clubs in Savannah that go on regular rides and a number of biking events that take place throughout the year.
Check out the Bicycle Link at 210 Victory Drive or call them at 912-233-9401 if you want more details about upcoming rides and social clubs.
If you hurry you can even sign up for the Savannah Century bike ride coming up August 31- September 2 at http://www.active.com/cycling/savannah-ga/ledesma-sports-medicine-savannah-century-2012