If you just want to ride curves over and over again, try this Snake Sportbike Route. When we stay in Johnson City, TN over the Summer and Fall, we ride this almost every Sunday to practice riding curves. A lot of sport bikers use this route as their race track to practice getting their knee down and going fast around the curves. You most likely will see some of them especially on weekend afternoons when the weather is good. If they come up behind you when riding, just move to the right side of the road, signal them to pass, and slow down a touch, and they happily will ride on by. The US-421 Track Boys have a fun poster in the Shady Valley General Store and use the store as their hang out when riding this road.
When we ride this route, we like to stay to the right side of the road (like riding a bicycle) when going around the curves just in case a biker or car driver driving in the opposite direction goes over the yellow center line. It is a good practice, staying to the right side of the road, because it is pretty common for a car or motorcycle to ride over the center line on this road. In addition, staying to the right side of the road will increase the degree of difficulty when riding the curves, making for much better practicing. Plus if you misjudge a curve and take it too fast or too early, you will be way over on the right side so if your screw-up causes you to swing out to the left, you have less chance of going over the center line yourself! Forget about perfecting hitting the apex if you stay to the right side though; that is for track days on a track.
US-421’s road surface is starting to get pretty beat up especially north of Shady Valley, but we have heard that that part of the road will be repaved some time in 2017. The road surface south of Shady Valley had a patch job late 2016, and where there are patches, they are excellent, no bumps. Who ever did the patch job must have been a motorcycle rider!
In the detailed ride route shown below, I have pointed out easy turn around points. That way you can ride to north of Mountain City, turn around, ride through Shady Valley, turn around after finishing up the majority of curves on the Snake and head to Shady Valley. Then it is always nice to take a break at the Shady Valley Country Store, to get a drink and bathroom break, and to chat with and watch all the motorcyclists with motorcycles visiting the store. It can get pretty busy on the weekends.
After a rest, you can get back on the bike and head north on US-421 N, go through the fun curves again and then stay on US-421 N to TN-44 which will take you back to Johnson City if you follow the detailed route plan below.
The Snake Sportbike Route – 115 mi
From BP Gas Station at intersection of TN-36/Roan St, Boones Creek Rd/TN-354 and Pickens Bridge Rd,
Head northeast on S Pickens Bridge Rd Go 0.4 mi.
Curve to the Left to stay on Pickens Bridge Rd Go 6.4 mi to stop sign.
Right onto Allison Rd Go 0.2 mi crossing over Bristol Hwy at stoplight.
Straight on Piney Flats Rd Go 0.8 mi to stop sign in Piney Flats.
Left onto Main St Go 0.3 mi.
Curve to the Right onto Tank Hill Rd Go ~300 ft.
Curve to the Left onto Tank Hill Rd. Go ~0.1 mi then cross over RR tracks.
Left onto Mountain View Dr Go 2.2 mi to stop sign.
Right onto US-19E S Go 7.1 mi.
Exit Right onto TN-91 N/Shady Valley/Stoney Ck exit Go 0.2 mi to stop sign.
Left onto Lovers Lane/TN-91 N Go 22.1 mi to Shady Valley stop sign/blinking light.
Right onto US-421 S towards Mountain City Go 8.8 mi.
Continue straight into Mountain City, TN for lunch and/or gas (another 2 or 3 mi) OR
Turn around at school buses before Mountain City to head back on US-421 N.
Head west on US-421 N Go 8.8 mi back to Shady Valley blinking light.
Continue straight on US-421 N Go 6 more mi to turn around corner.
Turn around and head back for 6 mi on US-421 S to Shady Valley blinking light.
Turn around in Shady Valley and go for 16.4 mi on US-421 N.
Left onto TN-44 S Go for 1.9 mi to stop sign.
Right to stay on TN-44 S Go for 7.3 mi.
Left onto Chinquapin Grove Rd (instead of taking right to stay on TN-44) Go for 3.9 mi.
Continue straight onto Bunker Hill Rd Go for 1.1 mi to stop sign.
Right onto US-19E Go for 1.9 mi.
Left onto Mountain View Dr Go 2.2 mi.
Curve to Right going over RR tracks onto Tank Hill Rd
Curve to Left onto Main St Go 0.3 mi to stop sign in Piney Flats.
Right onto Piney Flats Rd Go 0.8 mi crossing over Bristol Hwy at stop light.
Straight onto Allison Rd Go 0.2 mi.
Left onto N Pickens Bridge Rd
Go 6.8 mi to BP station on corner of Pickens Bridge Rd, N Roan St, and Boones Creek Rd.