Here’s a great sample ride. The above photo was taken on this ride by the author at a switchback on Walker Gap Road.
Ride Loop #2: Springville, Gallant, Oneonta, Remlap Ride
Approximately 78 miles
Riding time 3–4 hours
Start/End Point GPS Coordinates:
Springville, Gallant, Oneonta, Remlap Ride (Click this link to download the GPX file for this ride)
This scenic rural ride touches parts of St. Clair, Jefferson, Blount, and Etowah counties and features several switchback roads that traverse mountains northeast of the Birmingham metro area.
Beginning at Exit 156 on Interstate 59 in Springville, the first leg heads east toward Ashville on Highway 23, a quick-paced sweeping blacktop road.
About twelve miles into the ride comes the first tight, twisty ascent up Walker Gap Road, which climbs from the Crawford Cove valley floor almost two miles to the crest of Straight Mountain at County Road 24. This section is very tight and steep in places, and the switchback turns were not smooth asphalt as of this writing, so caution is advised, particularly if you are riding a long wheel-based cruiser.
After a few miles along the brow of Straight Mountain, the route dives back into a valley on U.S. Highway 231 South before turning onto Gallant Road. About two miles down Gallant Road, you’ll pass the right-hand turn up Chandler Mountain to Horse Pens 40, a mountaintop cluster of rock formations that formed a natural “pen” where locals hid livestock from raiding parties during the Civil War.
Gallant Road meanders through a wide valley dotted with farms for the 8.4 miles between U.S. 231 and the turn for Tumlin Gap Road. This ascending road has some tight turns as well, but they are neither as narrow nor extreme as those along Walker Gap.
From its connection with Highway 132, the route follows another valley through the town of Altoona in Etowah County back to Oneonta in Blount County, where it joins Highway 75 to follow the valley back toward Pinson to the town of Remlap and the third switchback ascent at Pine Mountain Road.
After climbing atop Pine Mountain, the route makes its way back to Springville along the Jefferson-Blount county line, winding in and out of lakes and hills on scenic narrow lanes.
At Springville the route joins U.S. Highway 11/Main Street and takes you back to the start.
Along this route, Springville and Oneonta are the only two towns of significant size. Each has several offerings for dining, ranging from fast food to various sit-down restaurants. While there are few major towns on the route, fuel is available at numerous places along the way and shouldn’t be a worry.