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About Remembering the Coffle

about remembering the coffle bike Tour


 A coffle of slaves being marched from Virginia west into Tennessee, c. 1850. (Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia)   

A coffle of slaves being marched from Virginia west into Tennessee, c. 1850. (Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia)

 

This July 4th weekend, we invite to join us for a 4 day bike camping tour that will explore 200 miles of the Mississippi portion of the Natchez Trace parkway.

Natchez Trace Parkway, a unit of the National Park System, runs 444 miles from Natchez, MS to Nashville, TN. The parkway is a trip through fine scenery and 10,000 years of human history on the Old Trace, which was used by first nation folk-the  “Kaintucks” to be exact, colonizers, and enslaved Africans as part of the Slavery’s Trail of Tears.

Slavery’s Trail of Tears was a forced march of enslaved Africans overland from the fields of Virginia to the slave auctions in Natchez and New Orleans. It a travesty that America has forgotten that herded a million African-Americans from the tobacco South to the cotton South and it used the Old Natchez Trace from Nashville to Natchez. The Natchez Trace was possibly the most recent legal slave route in North America from the 1830s through the Civil war.

This bike tour offers a wealth of  history along the Natchez Trace to be learned and explored. Additionally, this parkway is build with bikes in mind. Over the 200 miles we will bike, keep the below in mind:  

  • National Park Service designates the entire parkway as a bike route. Numerous signs instruct cars to share the road with bicycles.
  • Commercial traffic is prohibited.
  • No stop signs or stop lights. Access on and off the Trace is via on/off ramps which means no need to worry about cross traffic.
  • Scenery is awesome. Instead of utility poles and buildings, the Trace is lined with forests, farmland, creeks and beautiful vistas.
  • All along the Trace historical and nature attractions offer interesting breaks and rest stops.
  • Restroom facilities on the Trace are available about every twenty to thirty miles.
  • Numerous side trails take you past antebellum and victorian homes, sunken roads, civil war battlefields and southern towns.

This bike tour provides a unique space for riders to have both and individual and collective experience. Our riding style ensures that no one is left behind and you are able to ride a pace that is both safe and enjoyable.  As a collective, riders contribute to the success of the tour by co-leading various tour activities such as leading portions of the route, meal preparation, setting up nightly accommodations, leading dialogues, and skill exchanges just to name a few. This  tour is guaranteed to be an experience of a lifetime and truly unforgettable as it is an example of ongoing love and resistance.