The South


Riders, hearing the aspirated I's and 5's, the long consonants, and the sharp I's (that the folks in South Georgia share with their Appalachian counterparts), will find Southerners speak their own dialect of English.  Maybe not the King's English, but English, our common language.  We share much more.  Fierce patriotism.  Even the Creek Indians, once in Georgia, now in Oklahoma, are very proud of their service to our country.  As a nation, we share deep religious convictions and a unique work ethic.  We all love our children and aspire to improve our lives.  We all like to think of ourselves as kind and helpful to strangers.  So, in most of the important ways, despite denying it, the Southerner is not so much different than any other American.

Riders will be surprised to battle their own agoraphobia on this ride.  The stand-out cultural shifts will be from city to rural and back to city.  Atlanta's crowded hustle bustle comes with no-eye-contact passing strangers. Atlanta can be unsettling to riders from the country. In the rural parts of the ride every single passing car will be expecting a wave and smile from the cyclist.  In the rural parts of the ride, for city dwelling cyclists, to be expected to enter in conversation, even the most casual situations can be unsettling, if not tiresome.  Touristy, college town, small town, colonial, cosmopolitan Savannah has its own vibe to sort out.

Riders from other countries are, predictably, likely to find themselves to be rock stars at each encounter.  Riders from the city or up north will find it helpful, in rural settings particularly, to dial it back a bit.  Abruptness is not a virtue.  Consider sprinkling your conversation with genteel salutations and conditional phrases.  The Atlanta to Savannah guidebook explains much more about Southern civilities.