Someone had a brilliant idea: pull up old unused railroad tracks and replace it with blacktop asphalt and violá . . . a bike path is born. Located in North Alabama, the particular bike path to which I am referring is The Chief Ladiga Trail; that is what the Alabama side is called, and it connects to the Georgia side dubbed The Silver Comet. The Alabama side begins in Anniston and continues for 33 miles into Georgia and continues for another 61.5 miles, ending just north of Atlanta. There are introductory signs as the rider makes the transition from trail to trail, but the surface also changes from asphalt to poured concrete. Periodically, there are rest stations along the way and wildlife cross the road every so often, while rolling through foothills of the Appalachian mountains. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail, on either side, and it is built and maintained mostly by private donations.
This trail is a highlight of visiting my mother-in-law’s house, being that I could throw a rock from her front porch and hit the trail. No one could be more excited to visit his mother-in-law than I. So when my wife suggests that we make the two hour drive, I’m all for it . . . besides, my mother-in-law is very nice. I have ridden this trail often, but I have not had the time yet to make a complete ride from Anniston, Alabama to Smyrna, Georgia. It is on my list. One area of caution, as I have ridden into Georgia, is on that side of the trail. Some of the bridges are beautiful wooden bridges that cross over nice streams along the way, but rain and wood most often do not mix. If it had not been for my incredible Sagan-type handling of my bike (or sheer luck), as I crossed a bridge in Cedartown covered with morning dew, I almost went down as my tires made contact with the bridge. Other than that, it is an exquisite ride every single time I ride it.
For more information or donate to a worthy effort, visit the following websites: