June 12, 2014 Doug Wiley

Cycling Fitzgerald

fitgerald_town_sealThe “Colony City” of Fitzgerald is a testament to celebrating diversity. It was founded and developed in a spirit of collaboration by Union and Confederate veterans after the Civil War.

That spirit lives on and is so much a part of what makes this town such a cool bike weekend destination. From it’s famous fowl to it’s historical heritage there’s something unique at every turn in the road.

We’ve mapped out some choice routes to help you get the most out of your trip to Fitzgerald!

City Chicken Route

Fitz-chickenBecome a Fitzgerald City Chicken yourself by pedaling this leisurely introduction to the sights and sounds of the city of Fitzgerald. The sights include historic districts, neighborhoods, and cemeteries. The sounds include the call of Fitzgerald’s unique Wild Burmese Chickens who free range throughout town!

Begin your ride in the center of town at the Fitzgerald Welcome Center (plenty of info on Fitzgerald available from these friendly folks to aid you on your route) next door to the Blue & Gray Museum (fascinating glimpses into the founding and history of Fitzgerald.) Roll through downtown and neighborhoods to unique Evergreen Cemetery, final resting place of both Union and Confederate veterans.

Dorminey-MasseyExercise caution when exiting Evergreen Cemetery onto Benjamin H Hill Drive. You’re only on it for a short distance but it is a busy Fitzgerald street. Turn right on Frank Rd and continue on through quiet city neighborhoods into the outskirts of Fitzgerald to get the flavor of Fitzgerald’s easy modern living lifestyle including interspersed waterfront homes and pecan groves.

Return to central Fitzgerald, rolling past the classic Southern style Dorminy-Massee House B&B on your way back to where you started.

 

TOUR MAP - Fitzgerald City Chicken Bicycle Route 

 


Jefferson Davis Route

B&G-museumThis scenic route begins at the Blue and Gray Museum and Fitzgerald Visitor Center just off West Central Avenue, the main thoroughfare of town. You’ll make your way down S. Main Street into the Downtown Development and Historic District past the Grand Theater, a 1930’s Art Deco Movie House, and Cirillo’s, the local Italian restaurant.

Visitors will weave through the city’s residential streets lined with beautiful homes and Wild Burmese Chickens making their way across streets and yards. It’s quite an astonishing surprise!

While still in town, you’ll roll through the high school campus. Hit this at the right time of year and you can enjoy the Fitzgerald Purple Hurricanes football team practicing next to the stadium. Many of you will reminisce of your own glory days (or not!)

big-trucksFor the first 4 miles of the journey, it feels like old town “cool” with a little suburbia mixed in. Once you come to GA 107, things turn rural quickly. Our favorite sign on this journey is the one that states “NO BIG TRUCKS” — which you’ll see scattered throughout this region.

At mile 6.2, you’ll turn on to Stephens Road known to locals as “The Rebel Highway”. Close to mile 7, you will notice a Confederate “Rebel” Flag painted on the roadway. “Been there for years”, a local informed us. This low traffic road threads past lakes and fields. Watch out for turtles on the road!

At mile 11.3, you’ll turn north on Jeff Davis Park Road. Be cautious on this roadway, as it does have the occasional big rig. We’ve been informed that motorists and truckers are considerate of cyclists, but be extra careful on this 1.5 mile stretch leading to the Jefferson Davis Historic Site.

Doug-John-Jeff-davisWe encourage you to make the Jefferson Davis Historic Site, built in 1939, the destination for the day. While inside the temperature controlled museum building, John Hughes, the Manager on site, will be sure to show you Civil War weapons, uniforms, artifacts and exhibits about Davis and the Confederacy. For an interesting viewpoint, engage John in a conversation about the challenges of maintaining and funding an “opposite of politically correct” historic memorial site.

The facility offers clean restrooms, picnic areas, Davis monument, gift store with Confederate items we’ve never seen anywhere else, and a nature path all open to the public. Consider supporting the site before you leave as keeping historical memories and legacies intact reminds us where we have been along our American journey.

Once refreshed from your visit at the Jefferson Davis Historic Site, you will head north and make your way to the beautiful shaded dirt roads that begin at mile 12.8 as you turn right on Monroe Road. The road signs along these dirt roads are a little tricky – keep the map handy while you make your way through “these parts”. You’ll enjoy these pastoral scenic twists and turns through farms, fields, and orchards for 9 miles before reconnecting with a paved road at mile 23.4.

You’ll make your way back to town along low traffic roads and more scenic old town neighborhoods.

TOUR MAP - Jefferson Davis Bicycle Route 

 

Blue & Gray Route

The Blue and Gray Bicycle Route takes cyclists though the southeastern part of Fitzgerald and out into rural Ben Hill County for a ride on a combination of mostly flat paved and dirt roads.

The dirt roads serve as agricultural farm service roads so they are well maintained and marked. Mountain, Hybrid, CycleCross and road bikes with 28” tires will do well on this route.

Along this route, guests will roll down the main street of town past the old historic Art Deco theater, weave in and out of some of the residential streets and on to the historic Evergreen Cemetery.

Evergreen-CemEntering along the north side of the cemetery, visitors will find lovely burial grounds reflecting the history of Fitzgerald with well maintained Union and Confederate sections. Roads within the cemetery recall the War Between The States and are named for famous Civil War battles. Cyclists with a historical bent might be surprised to learn that Lewis Clute, Company H, 1st Wisconsin Calvary is buried here. He is given credit for the capture of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy.

When leaving Evergreen Cemetery, use caution as you exit along the west border on to Hwy 107. You’ll only be on this roadway for short distance, but it is one of the main roads in town.

From miles 4 to 18, the route is fairly flat with straight stretches of 4 miles at a time. At mile marker 16.6 and for 1.5 miles, riders along Hwy 206 (Broxton Highway) should proceed with caution as this is a main thoroughfare for traffic.

At mile 18 riders will slip back into low traffic and scenic rural countryside for their return to the City of Fitzgerald.

 TOUR MAP - Blue & Gray Bicycle Route 

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