With nearly 6 miles of flat to moderately sloped paved surface the Smyrna #Greenway is perfect for our needs. The greenway has a no shortage of things to see. The paved path winds it way around sections of Percy Priest Lake, along the river, some urban areas, around an airport, points of historical interest, and ball fields.
Today we have decided to enter the greenway at the Espey Trailhead. We pull into the parking lot of the Sharps Springs Natural Area of off Jefferson Pike and easily find a parking place. The trail is easily accessed from the parking lot which has two trail access points. Well maintained bathrooms are conveniently located between these access points.
We feel like seasoned veterans as we unload our #recumbent trikes from my Ford Ranger. We perform our pre-ride checklist: hats, sunglasses, bottled water, bike tool kit, spare inner tube, snacks, camera, glucose tablets , and cell phone. We remind each other to set our preferred fitness trackers; I use a Fitbit — my wife uses Jawbone. With these tasks complete we are ready to ride!
You don’t need to be reminded that it’s August in Middle Tennessee. The summer’s heat and humidity won’t let you forget. We enter the trail and are immediately greeted by shade which makes the paved riding trail feel much cooler.
The sights, sounds, and feel of summer are all around us. The foliage is lush and green. We ride past corn standing 7′ tall, its tassels starting to turn brown. The insects are conversing loudly; as to what they are talking about I have no idea. We pass a family fishing off one of the wooden piers. Our timing is perfect; we hear one of the children exclaim that they have “caught one!”
We pass the frisbee golf course and see a group of sweat-soaked players taking a rest. We know from experience that just beyond the frisbee course is the most challenging slope on this section of the greenway. Our reward for riding to the top of the hill is to have a long downhill ride (or coast) on the other side. Most of the trail is in the shade but this section is wide open and allows the sun unfiltered access to the trail. We travel approximately 3/4 of a mile and form more than a few rivulets of sweat before we escape the direct sunlight.
We now ride in the shade all the way to our pre-planned turn-around spot at the Dellwood Drive trailhead. Laura and I enjoy an ice cold bottled water and make our way back to the truck. We meet walkers, runners, and other cyclists on the trail but it never feels crowded or busy. We see lots of wildlife on this trail; Rabbits, squirrels, and deer are a common site.
My wife and I reach the parking lot and start the loading ritual. We load our trikes in the truck, check that they are secure, and check our fitness trackers. We log our rides and head for home. What more can you ask for on a midsummer bike ride?
The town of Smyrna has a useful website with information about their greenway including maps. Their website opens with the following statement which I find encouraging:
The idea of the Smyrna Greenway is to allow citizens to travel through various parts of the town via the greenway as well as allowing users to recreate. Greenways and recreation are tools that can improve the quality of life in communities. Greenways are great assets to park systems because they are constructed for low maintenance while using land that may not have had any other uses. The Town of Smyrna has made an effort to construct the greenway in areas that allow users to enjoy nature and wildlife. The Smyrna Greenway System will offer something for everyone in the community.
There are several places along the trails that have markers that provide interesting information about the ecosystem and points of historical interest.
The following greenway map can be found on the Town of Smyrna website: