+ Savannah 101
- Walk Score: 42. Walk Score measures the walkability of any address using a patented system. For each address, Walk Score analyzes hundreds of walking routes to nearby amenities. Points are awarded based on the distance to amenities in each category. Amenities within a 5 minute walk (.25 miles) are given maximum points.
Bike Score: 48. Bike Score measures whether an area is good for biking. For a given location, a Bike Score is calculated by measuring bike infrastructure (lanes, trails, etc.), hills, destinations and road connectivity, and the number of bike commuters.
Founded in 1733 by General James Ogelthorpe, Savannah is today a city of 144,000 strictly within city limits, and closer to 400,000 including the surrounding area. And the good General had a plan... He made sure Savannah was laid out on a grid, so that it was easily defended. Fast forward 283 years or so, and that still equates to "an easy place to get around." Today it is positively ripe with public green space, fountains, massive trees, and old gorgeous buildings. Savannah doesn't have much in the way of high-profile bike infrastructure - there are no soaring car-free bridges or cycle tracks - but it also doesn't really need them. Much like its cultural cousin Charleston just to the north, the atmosphere and traffic here are very laid back. Navigation is simple. Distances are short. Food is excellent. Drinks are cheap. And the stories here are big, bordering on Texas-size big. Everywhere you bike, you will see tour guides telling spectacularly tall tales in stage voices about secret tunnels used for the benefit (and detriment) of slaves, for the abduction of unwilling seafaring labor (the term "to shanghai" was coined here, as locals assumed the abducted drunken sailors were sent off to work the trade routes to China), for the illicit import of rum, and for the discrete disposition of bodies lost to Yellow Fever. As with many such things, there's an element of truth to most of these stories, but the truth is often not really exciting enough to enthrall 4 tours a day / 7 days a week. Take Savannah for what it truly is - a stately, green, shaded Grande Dame of the southern Atlantic coast with gobs of charm and a refreshing lack of pretense.
+ Biking in Savannah
Around town, bike traffic is light and unstressed, with almost no one bothering to use (or really needing to use) hand signals. Cars are largely patient and friendly, and pedestrians seemed to be aware of their surroundings. Resident bike commuters are mostly SCAD students (Savannah College of Art & Design), and they fit the usual student profile... low budget, low stress, low speed.
Georgia has the usual "Front white light / red rear reflector" and "mandatory helmets for everyone under 16 years old" laws. Georgia also has an amazing number of laws prohibiting any eccentric cycling, such as; carrying a passenger on the handlebars, any bike with the pedals more than 12" off the ground, and any bike with hand grips higher than the operator's shoulders, among others. Why they decided to find time to care, we cannot guess, but "tall bike" fans, take note: Not in Georgia, buster.
Much like Charleston, we saw very little in Savannah to make us think bike theft was rampant. You still need to lock your bike up during the day and absolutely u-lock it if leaving out overnight, because you're a responsible adult who doesn't feel like buying a new bike on their vacation.
Students dominate the bike scene here, with youngish local commuters coming in second, and tourists on hotel bikes / rentals / bike shares third. Almost no one is in a hurry, and you shouldn't be either. The only time we wanted to pedal quickly was to get past the occasional smell of horse pee. It's nice here, and visitors from large cities will immediately notice the lack of hustle, in the best way imaginable.
These self-guided cultural tours were curated by locals who bike and wanted to share their favorite nooks and crannies with you.
Coming soon! If you live in Savannah and love food, music, art or just being outdoors? Curate a route for us by inquiring here.
- CAT Bikes (bike share)- $5 daily for sturdy city bike with front basket, lights, fully enclosed chain guard and skirt guard.
- Electric Bikes of Savannah- $50+ daily for electric city, fat and tandem bikes
- Perry Rubber Bike Shop- city, hybrid and road bikes for rent
- Savannah on Wheels- $30+ daily for city and electric bikes
- Sekka Bike- $20+ daily for rentals
- Savannah Bike Tours- $25+ per person for 2 hours, 3 miles of flat sightseeing Savannah's landmarks. Includes bike, helmet and water bottle.
- Savannah Pedals- $27+ per person for group pedal bike tour of pubs, ghosts or scenery
- Savannah Slow Ride- $25+ per person for group pedal bike tour of pubs, history, ghosts, urban planning, churches or painters
- Chatham Area Transit, CAT (Map) - $1.50 one way. "CAT wants to help people get around Savannah as easily as possible, so we've equipped our standard buses with bike racks."
- Amtrak Silver Service / Palmetto (New York - Washington, DC - Charleston - Savannah - Jacksonville - Orlando - Tampa / Miami) - $20 for walk-up checked bicycle service
None at this time.
- Delta- $150 to check bike
- JetBlue- $50 to check bike (folding bikes in container under 62 dimensional inches and 50 lbs are FREE)
- Southwest Airlines- FREE bike check in place of one piece of luggage
- Sun Country Airlines- $75. Sun Country will accept non-motorized touring or racing bicycles with single seats. Bicycles must have the handlebars fixed sideways and the pedals removed, or be placed in a cardboard container, or the pedals and the handlebars must be encased in plastic foam or similar material.
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Bikabout donates 25% of annual revenue to local advocates. You, too, can power better biking in Savannah by donating to Savannah Bicycle Campaign!