by Sheryl Chatfield, HT.com blogger
The Tanglefoot Trail, a 44.5-mile-long Rails-to-Trails recreation facility that runs from Houston, MS to New Albany, MS opened last Saturday.
On Sunday, I had my first opportunity to bicycle a portion of the trail.
We rode from Pontotoc to nearly New Albany and stopped at the Ecru Whistle Stop.
This trail has been in the works for some time and the planning and attention to detail that preceded the opening are obvious. It was inspired by and to some extent modeled on the Hattiesburg to Prentiss, MS “Longleaf Trace.” I spent several years in Hattiesburg and completed thousands of activity miles on the Longleaf so the Tanglefoot quickly felt familiar to me. I had forgotten how much you pedal on a straight, flat surface! The portion we rode had a mixture of up and downward slopes, and long uninterrupted stretches meandered past farm fields. We plan soon to return and ride the Pontotoc to Houston portion.
We managed to hit the trail during a relatively quiet time although we saw more and more people the longer we rode (and the later in the day it became).
As of last weekend, there was still some construction within the last mile approaching New Albany so we turned back rather than trying to ride through the mud around the roadblocks as others were doing. I found the several wooden bridges on the trail a rough ride on road bike tires and I hope that some time and weathering will smooth those surfaces out. For the short term, I just plan to use a little less air pressure in my tubes.
The four Whistle Stops have water and bathrooms for the convenience of trail users. A trail map is available on the website at: http://www.tanglefoottrailms.com/
Pontotoc probably has the closest access points for most people in this area.
If you go ride, walk, or run on the trail, be safe and be aware of others. It is common courtesy to let others know you are passing by calling out or signaling with a bicycle bell and it is common sense to be able to hear others on the trail because there are inevitably going to be travelers of various speeds. This is an incredible recreation resource for the people in the area, and I hope that many of you are able to take advantage of it.
Tell me about your experiences on the Tanglefoot or provide your other recommendations for active recreation in and around Oxford: email@example.com
Sheryl Chatfield is currently a graduate student in Health and Kinesiology in the Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management Department at Ole Miss. She plans to complete her dissertation work during the 2013-14 academic year. In addition to being a graduate student and instructor, Sheryl enjoys running, cycling, swimming, working on bicycles, sewing, and reading.