The Southern Appalachian Bicycle Association (SABA) Summer 2023 Newsletter

Southern Appalachian Bicycle Association


Summer is winding down…

Summer officially ended on 9/20/23 and you can see a notable difference in the volume of people in our area after the Labor Day weekend.  There are still several weeks of riding as we head into fall and the cooler temps and vibrant leaf colors that are not far away.  It was a very busy summer beyond just rides with SABA, read more below about what has been happening and things heading our way in the weeks ahead.  Be sure to check out our website and the SABA Group page on Facebook for up-to-date info on rides, meetings, and events. Come join the ride!

Rod Fortney, President 

SABA’s Busy Summer

CycleNC Mtns Ride 2024, we’re still waiting on an announcement. The feedback from CycleNC is that they like our proposed route, the facilities and willingness of the Town of Murphy to support the event.  They have voiced concern that “Murphy is so far away…” We countered with “We’re two hours from major cycling cities of Atlanta, Asheville, Chattanooga and Knoxville and will make the event known there.”  Stay tuned for updates…. 

Advocacy in action… 

This summer provided opportunity for SABA members to voice opinions on issues impacting cyclists at the local and federal levels. 

Cherokee County Animal Control or lack thereof is something that many of us have faced in the area. Cherokee County Commissioner Jan Griggs proposed a defined animal control ordinance for the Cherokee County that would include creating two animal control officers.  Several SABA members attended county commission meetings to express the need and support for such an ordinance. Unfortunately, the proposed ordinance did not receive support from three of the five commissioners to move forward.  However, all is not lost as Cherokee County has an existing animal control ordinance that states that the county will enforce the NC General Statute regarding Animal Control.  Here is the link to the NC General Statute All the items in the proposed county ordinance exist in the State level law.  If you have an animal encounter in Cherokee County, it is suggested that you call the Sheriff’s non-emergency number 828-837-2589 to report the issue.
Note, Clay County NC does have an animal control ordinance in effect as well, you should report issues in Clay County in a similar manner Sheriff non-emergency number is 828-389-6354.

USFS User Fees at Jackrabbit Trail System was another opportunity for SAB members to provide input regarding a proposed daily user fee at the Jackrabbit trails.  The USFS has proposed that only mountain bikers be charged a daily usage fee of $5 or $30 annually with funds going to support USFS efforts at Jackrabbit.  As SABA, CCCRA and the community raised the money to build the trails and SABA continues to maintain the Jackrabbit trails the proposal to only apply the fee to mountain bikers did not seem practical or fair. Several SABA members met with Congressman Chuck Adams to request his support that any day use fees be applied to ALL trail users not just mountain bikers.  Congressman Adams wrote a letter to the USFS as did the Clay County Commission.  All SABA members were asked to provide input during the USFS Public Input period that ended 8/22/2023.  The USFS is still compiling the input which will be forwarded up the chain for review and decision. Based on the process it will be at least one year before a decision is made on the usage fee.  We’ll update you on this topic as information is received. 

Other happenings… 

NC Year of The Trail (YoTT) & Youth Helmet Giveaway Event. SABA hosted an event at the Jackrabbit Trail System on 8/12/2023 to celebrate NC’s Year of The Trail which is to encourage people to get outside and do something.  Many thanks to SABA members that volunteered that day to explain trail etiquette, rules of the road, fit some of our future riders/members with bike helmets and cook burgers and hot dogs for the those that attended.  Additional support was provided by Leave No Trace, Mountain High Hikers, Hayesville Middle & High School Cross-country teams and the great crew from Clay County EMS and Sheriff’s Dept.  The parking lot was packed, lots of people of all ages having lots of fun!!!

Trail Crews Kept BUSY!!!..With the crazy weather that the area has experienced so far this year the Trail Crews have been busier than I have ever remembered them being. The Jackrabbit trails have taken a beating with too many trees to count blown down. The SABA Sawyers are out there clearing the trails so that everyone can ride, hike or whatever. The crews have been busy at the Piney Knob trails well due to storms.  If you enjoy the trails, come lend a hand by helping to pull the branches and trees that the crew cut up. They have all earned a big thank you!!! 

Weekly Group Road Bike Rides are happening… 

Rides will be determined by weather, if it’s raining an hour before the posted start then there is not a ride.   All riders are required to wear a helmet. Lights front and rear are recommended. All riders are required to read & sign the SABA Liability Waiver annually (
Scheduled rides are:

  • Tuesday Evenings 6PM Hayesville Square – Ride up through Tusquittee valley approximately 20 miles out and back.

  • Thursday Evenings 6PM John C Campbell Folk School Brasstown NC – Route varies based on riders present, distances typically 15-20 miles.

  • Saturday Mornings 9AM Location & route rotates between Murphy, Hayesville and Blairsville, ride will be posted to the SABA group FB 6PM on Friday.  Distances vary from 25-45 miles.

*All rides have a “No drop” policy with regrouping at points along the route.

Thirsty Thursdays @ Piney Knob Trail System
MTB ride at 5:30PM Meet at the parking area at Piney Knob.
Ride an easy pace 5-10 miles. This ride is for everyday people with jobs so we’re not racing… 

Upcoming Events… 

Big Ring Challenge by Chainbuster Racing 10/14/2023 at Jackrabbit Trail System. A mountain bike endurance race showcasing the Jackrabbit trails. Per Chainbuster Racing the Jackrabbit trails were named the favorite in their race series.  This is a HUGE fundraising opportunity for SABA as we provide support in marking the racecourse, trail marshals, parking assistance, etc. that SABA has been doing for the past 13 years.  WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!!!  Watch your email to volunteer by picking a slot at or contact Joanna 828-361-2088

SABA Club Meeting

Wednesday 10/04/2023 6:00PM
Location: Nocturnal Brewing, Hayesville NC
Come socialize with your fellow cyclists, meet new riding partners and learn more about what is ahead for SABA….

Jackrabbit Trail System Picnic Shelter

The collaboration continues between the USFS, the Clay County Communities Revitalization Association (CCCRA) and the Southern Appalachian Bicycle Association (SABA) to construct a picnic shelter at the Jackrabbit trailhead.  All trail construction has been completed, and the shelter is the final remaining goal from the initial wish list that began in 2003.   The shelter is estimated to cost $100,000.  Fundraising efforts have begun and will continue throughout 2023 during North Carolina’s Year of the Trail campaign.  Help us complete our final project by donating today.

“Consider patronizing our Corporate Sponsors!”


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Join the Southern Appalachian Bicycle Association:

Individual - $25.00 yearly

Family - $35.00 yearly

Corporate - $100.00 yearly

Calendar of Events:

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The LAB leads the movement to create a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone. As leaders, their commitment is to listen and learn, define standards and share best practices to engage diverse communities and build a powerful, unified voice for change.

Trail Conditions

We update our local trail conditions at Trailforks. You can rate trails, share, and plan your rides as well!

Our Sponsors

Andrews North Carolina Chamber of Commerce
Appalachian Electric Bikes - Murphy, NC
Blairsville Bikes & Gear Logo
SABA Members get 10% off on parts and accessories with membership card at Blairsville Bikes & Gear in Blairsville, GA!
Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce - Cherokee County, NC
Clay County Chamber of Commerce - Clay County, NC
Ferncrest Winery - Andrews, NC
Mountain Eye Care Logo
Ragon Creative - Andrews, NC
The Hayesville Bike Shop Logo
Natural Landscaping Services Logo
Walnut Hollow Ranch Logo

Area Information:

Thanks for Providing Generous Funding:

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