Southern Appalachian Bicycle Association

Southern Appalachian Bicycle Association News:

Coming to Jackrabbit!


6 Hour Big Ring Challenge presented by Maxxis - September 26, 2015

Chainbuster at Jackrabbit

Chain Buster will once again hold the 6th Annual Southeastern Endurance Cup Big Ring Challenge presented by Maxxis 6-hour endurance mountain bike race on the Jackrabbit Trail system.

Registration is now open for both events.

For additional details and registration visit Chainbuster Productions Here

The Oldest and Largest Bicycle Ride ANYWHERE!

by Pat Turner

Why would anyone travel almost three days to start a weeklong bicycle ride of about 500 miles? Because this ride in Iowa called RAGBRAI is the oldest and largest bicycle ride anywhere. This is its 43rd year. The initials stand for Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. Register refers to Iowa's largest newspaper the Des Moines Register.

I rode RAGBRAI in 2007 and in 2010 and could not wait to return to Iowa. This past week was awesome, maybe the most fun bicycle ride I have ever experienced.

They had 10,000 official riders who registered and at least that many more who jump on the ride and do not register.

After an 800 mile auto trip from Atlanta to Davenport, Iowa, my almost 17 year old grandson Mark and I boarded our tour bus for our cross state ride from the ending town of Davenport, Iowa  to the starting town of Sioux City, Iowa. Many people park at the end town like we did and catch a bus to the beginning. When we pedal into the ending town on the last day, we are ready to head home. Although the route changes each year, the ride always go from the western border of the Missouri River to the eastern border of the Mississippi River.

Pat Turner

Pat Turner and his Grandson, Mark

The bus ride gave us our last opportunity to experience AC for a week. There are several charter companies that provide support for riders. Bubba's Pampered Pedalers had over 225 people on his charter. I have traveled with Bubba many times including my coast to coast ride in 2013. He chartered three big buses to get us to the start of our ride.

For each rider, Bubba's crew sets up a tent, blows up an air mattress, carries luggage, provides a big tent for shade, supplies snacks & soft drinks, and carries us by bus from the end town of the ride to the start. RAGBRAI is a great adventure with camping, portable bathrooms, and living outdoors. I didn't experience any air-conditioning or porcelain bathrooms for a week. I didn't miss them either.

The bus ride on Saturday under blue skies showed us that Iowa is not flat and that the corn is tall in Iowa. It's all good!

Here are a few facts about the Iowa corn. In 2014, Iowa corn farmers grew almost 2.4 billion bushels of corn on 13.2 million acres of land. (Source: USDA) Almost all of it is field corn with only about 3000 acres of sweet corn.

Except for a few sections near the Missouri River in the west and the Mississippi River in the east, Iowa has rolling terrain and a few challenging hills. Our week long ride this year included over 16,000 feet of climbing.

Riders are treated to several Burma-Shave like signs along the road. My favorite one said this.

"You tell your friends you going to ride in Iowa
They look puzzled and ask you why

You simply have to answer with one word
Just tell them pie."

We passed well over 75 opportunities to buy homemade pie along the route. I confess I had at least two pieces per day. Food vendors set up booths in every pass through town plus others set up along the roadside. They offer almost anything you can think of including breakfast burritos, pork chops, hamburgers, brats, hotdogs, pasta, watermelon, smoothies, Gatorade, water, and of course pie.

My favorite is Mr. Pork Chop. Inch thick pork chops are grilled and handed to you with the bone wrapped in two paper towels. No fork, no knife, and no plate are needed. You gnaw it right off the bone like a caveman. I had to have this juicy morsel at least every other day.

Mr. Pork Chop

Mr. Pork Chop

RAGBRAI is much more than a bicycle ride. It is a rolling party. Every over night town has name act music entertainment. Every pass through town during the day usually has two or more live musical performances.

An absolute highlight for me was high school senior Maddie Poppe who drew a crowd in the gardens at New Hartford, Iowa.
She was unbelievable. I was riding near the outskirts of town and heard her music. I stopped, parked my bicycle, and listened to her for over an hour. You will hear her name in the future. She has both amazing talent and a warm personality.

What was a typical day like? For me the schedule started early by waking up no later than 5:00 AM. Most days I was up by 4:45 AM. I packed my two duffel bags, took them to Bubba's baggage truck, applied sunscreen, filled up my two water bottles, added air to my bicycle tires, and looked for the crowd of riders headed out of town. I never consulted a map; I just followed the crowd.

I usually was on the road just after 6 AM. Although I had my grandson and other friends camping with Bubba, I departed on my own. Since I was the slowest rider, I knew that everyone else would quickly pass me and arrive at the next town much earlier than I would. Riding by myself allowed me to stop whenever I wanted to stop and gave me the most opportunity to meet other riders. I had conversations with at least 25 other riders. I met a Methodist pastor, a top official with the National Institute of Health, and lots of retired people like me.

Upon cycling into camp at the next town, I went to my sun baked tent, unpacked my duffel bags, put my fitted sheet over my air mattress, and tried to organize for the next day. I would then take a shuttle to the portable shower truck. Showers usually cost $6 but Bubba had an arrangement with Joe's Wet Shack that gave us a shower for $5.

Mark, my other buddies, and I would then focus on where we should get dinner. By the time dinner was over, I was ready for bed. I started on this ride thinking I would have a little free time. I had no free time in camp. That is the beauty of this trip. You ride, you sleep, and you eat. The next day you start the cycle all over again. Seven days pass very quickly.

Old Bike

Everyone hauled out their old bicycles as decorations

We were blessed with outstanding weather. It only rained on us twice and the temperatures were very mild. The week before temperatures were in the 90s but we experienced comfortable temperatures in the 80s. One cool morning was 56 when I started riding.

You can check out the professional photographs from this ride at Click on galleries and then click on the best 69 photos from RAGBRAI.

Weekly Group Rides!

SABA hosts several weekly group rides each week. The schedule is as follows:

Road Rides 2015:

Tuesday Nights: 6:00 PM - leaves from Hayesville Square in Downtown Hayesville. Approximately 20 miles out and back through the Tusquittee area.

Wednesday Nights: 6 :00 PM - Wednesday night group road ride leaves at 6:00 PM from the big rocking chair at Owltown Market on Hwy. 129. The route varies through the Trackrock Valley. Mileage approx. 12 to 25 with A & B groups. For more info contact Blairsville Bikes & Hikes (706) 745-8141.

Thursday Nights: 6:00 PM - 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month meets at John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC 28902, 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month meet at Appalachian Outfitters at 104C Tennessee Street, Murphy NC 28906. Route varies weekly. Please check our Facebook page to see if there are any last minute changes.

Mountain Bike Rides 2015:

Monday Nights: 6:00 PM - Weekly group ride at The Hanging Dog Trail System in Murphy. This trail requires an intermediate skill level rider. We generally pedal as much as the group would like, around 8 to 10 miles. The ride begins at the Trailhead. Come ride the Dog with us.

Thursday Nights: 6:15 PM - ThurThursday evening at Jack Rabbit Trails. Leaves the parking lot at 6:15 PM. Usually involves getting a bite to eat afterwards. Blairsville Bikes & Hikes 706 745 8141

Ragbrai 2015

RAGBRAI 2015 - Yes, they had cow pie throwing contests!

Ragbrai 2015

RAGBRAI 2015 - Riders wore a variety of costumes. These were two babies in diapers! !

SABA Membership Dues

You can now pay your membership dues online at for additional details view our membership page here

Now You Can Find Us on facebook!

Find Us on Facebook!

SABA has a new facebook profile and we encourage you to "Like US!"

For those of you not familiar with facebook, it is a social networking site which allows us to share news, events, photos, and more amongst the masses.

Facebook friends, sometimes known as "Fans" are eligible for special offers from SABA. We encourage you to "Like Us Now" and help spread the word!

Jackrabbit Mountain Bike Trail

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Calendar of Events:

SABA Calendar of Events

What's Hot:

Current Trail Conditions at Jackrabbit... click here

Map of Jackrabbit Trail System... click here

Hanging Dog Trail Update... click here

Local Bike Routes Now Online... click here

SABA has a great jersey...
Get yours today!

SABA Jersey

Jackrabbit Trail News:

Close to 15 miles of machine constructed singletrack trails have been completed and are based on a stacked-loop design. The 3.1 mile Central Loop is the "core" trail that all other optional trails are connected. Many of the trails border Lake Chatuge, while others meander through the woods or ridge-top. These trails were specifically designed to appeal to all skill levels, beginner to advanced. It remains a work-in-progress, with signage, maps, parking lot facilities (pavillion/restrooms/information board) being planned, along with optional technical trail features (TTF's) our interviews here with Mike Riter of Trail Design Specialists.

Piney Knob Trail News:

The town of Murphy, North Carolina plans to construct 22.3 miles of recreational hiking and mountain biking trails on the 700+ acre Murphy Watershed property off of Piney Knob Hill Road and opening in Spring more here.

Trail Traffic Counter by

The Southern Appalachian Bicycle Association (SABA) is using two TRAFx Counters to assess both mountain biking and hiking trail usage. To learn more about TRAFx mountain bike and hiking trail counters please visit . To get a closer look on how the TRAFx system works on mountain biking trails click here.

Join or Renew Your SABA Membership Here:

Upcoming Trail Work Days:

  • To Be Announced

Next SABA Meeting:

The meetings will be held the last Friday of the month unless otherwise notified

  • Friday, August 28 at 6:30PM - We will be having a pot luck dinner Friday, August 28 beginning 6:30PM at the pavilion at the Jackrabbit swim area.

    We will only have 3 items on the agenda so it should be a fun and short meeting. This leaves plenty of time to enjoy all the great food and company.

    SABA Agenda for Friday 8/28/15
    1. Joanna's trail maintenance plan for the Chain Buster race at Jackrabbit 9/26/15.
    2. Nominations for new officers.
    3. Set a date for SABA's end of summer cookout.

    We look forward to seeing you there!

SABA is a Member of:


Trail Building


Blairsville Bikes and Hikes

SABA Members get 10% off at Blairsville Bikes & Hikes in Blairsville, GA!

Appalachian Outfitters

SABA Members get 10% off at Appalachian Outfitters in Murphy, NC!


Clay County Chamber of Commerce

Towns County Chamber of Commerce

SABA is a member of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce



Golden Leaf Foundation

HandMade in America

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