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Tennessee requires that children age 16 and under wear a helmet, and it's strongly recommended that all riders do so, regardless of age.
Cades Cove. Arguably the best place to bike, the 11-mi loop road is mostly level, and being on a bike allows you to get around traffic back-ups. However, traffic can be heavy, especially on weekends in summer and fall, and the road is narrow. The best time to bike the Cove is from mid-May to mid-September on Wednesday and Saturday mornings until 10 am when it is closed to motor vehicles. Bicycles and helmets can be rented ($20 per day) in summer and fall at an annex behind Cades Cove Campground Store (Cades Cove Campground 865/448-9034).
Foothills Parkway West. The 17.5-mi road has light vehicular traffic and is a scenic and fairly safe place for bicycling. Safe biking also is available on the lightly used access roads to Greenbrier picnic area and Cosby campground.
Cherokee National Forest. Mountain biking is available in the nearby Cherokee National Forest, which encompasses 650,000 acres in eastern Tennessee, stretching from Chattanooga to Bristol along the North Carolina border. 2800 North Ocoee St., Cleveland, TN, 37312. 423/476-9700. www.fs.usda.gov/cherokee.
Gatlinburg Trail. This is the only hiking trail on the Tennessee side where bikes are permitted. The trail travels 1.9 mi (one-way) from the Sugarlands Visitor Center to the outskirts of Gatlinburg. Pets on leashes are also allowed on this trail.
Parsons Branch Road. The unpaved, narrow, one-lane back road that twists and dips from near Cable Mill on the Cades Cove Loop Road to U.S. 129, appeals to mountain bikers.
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