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Ride Report 5/10-11/2022

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JS from Anderson SC on 5/13/2022 9:42:39 AM:
Chief Ladiga - Silver Comet Trail Ride
May 10 - 11 2022

May 10: 2:00 - 5:30 Anniston AL to Cedartown GA Quality Inn.
May 11: 7:30 - 1100 Cedartown to Powder Springs Root Trading

Just want to say “Thanks” to Jake and Zach at Root Trading in Powder Springs GA.

My buddy and I decided to give bike packing a try and decided on the Ladiga-Comet as a good test run. I started emailing back and forth with Jake at Root Trading the middle of 2021 about their shuttle services. We finalized our plans early in 2022 with the weather being our only deciding factor. May 10/11 provided us with the perfect weather so it was all systems GO!

We arrived in Powder Springs, surprisingly a quiet, quaint, small town just 25 miles out of downtown Atlanta at about 12 noon. We were unpacked, repacked and in the shuttle with Zach within half an hour. We left the keys to our car with Jake and the parking area looked perfectly safe and secure with lights, cameras and just enough people coming and going etc.

It is roughly a 1.5 hour drive from Powder Springs to the trailhead park on the outskirts of Anniston AL. (Note the time there is central but will have no bearing on anything) Zach was good driver/host and patient while we unloaded, switched into our riding gear, loaded our bike - bags and handed off what was going back to our car with him.

Standing in the park’s open parking lot we both had a moment of doubt. It was full on sun from a cloudless sky and easily tipping the mercury around 85. But - Zach was long gone and it wasn’t like we had any choice. We chatted with another couple who had just completed Cedartown to Anniston for a bit and then hit the trail ourselves where we almost immediately found ourselves comfortably under a heavily shaded tree canopy with a mild breeze blowing - perfect riding weather!

Now, about the trail. With the exception of perhaps 10 miles of our nearly 90 the trail was always in the shade. The trail was also, with the exception of about 10 miles, a bit of a mess - branches, twigs, sticks, pine needles, pine cones, leaves. Keeping in mind this was May 10-11 so I have no idea if that is normal or not. Yet it was also easily and safely rideable and nothing I would even be remotely concerned about. It is after all a “trail” not a road. The trail surface is excellent (paved in AL concrete in GA) with only a handful of “watch-its” along the entire ride.

May as well get this over with now. There is one “hilly” section just past Cedartown headed back to Powder Springs. That’s it. Maybe 3 miles with a few short climbs. You do have the typical rail-to-trail 2% gradient (Cedartown to Powder Springs) but no other hills, mountains, climbs or even any moments of out-of-the saddle. Heck they would be welcome once in a while… Seriously, I think the longest “climb” is Main Street on your way to the hotel in Cedartown. If you have prepared for two back-to-back days of 45 mile rides this isn’t going to be very hard.

Encountered rabbits, snakes, turtles, lizards, suicidal/homicidal squirrels, cats and some deer.

I’ve ridden many rails-to-trails and I put the Ladiga at about a 5 out of 10. Nice, but not really much to see. No “wow, gotta stop and look at that” kind of stuff. Beyond that, Anniston to Cedartown was a pretty typical road ride. Keep pedaling, take a break every 10 miles to stretch the shoulders and then keep pedaling.

WARNING: Our Google maps led us astray in Cedartown. If you pass over the rubber grip matting at or literally on the station platform you have gone too far. That is Main Street and you want S. Main to N. Main and at 1.7 miles the hotel is on the left. Nice, friendly, clean enough, quiet enough. They let us roll our bikes into our rooms. Decent breakfast including one of the waffle makers which is a good way to start a bike day. Zorba’s Greek restaurant just below the hotel was quite good. Lots of good biker food and pitchers of water. [No alcohol is served]. Called it a night a bit after 7:30 and the hotel was quiet and sleep came easy about 9. We did breakfast at 6:30 Wednesday morning and met back in the lobby ready to roll at 7:30.

The trail from Cedartown to Powder Springs jumps from a 5 to 6. A little more varied, a little prettier, a little more to see and several established maintained rest areas too.

We loaded Root Trading in Google maps and turned it on about 15 miles out and it brought us in on the spur trail just below the store - mission accomplished.

Again - thanks to Jake and Root Trading for two clean sizable bathrooms to clean up and change in. We finished packing up and hit Suga’s across the street for lunch before heading back home. The crispy chicken wrap sure hit the spot.

I’m 61 my friend is 59. We bike 2 to 4 times a week both on and off road. Our average mountain bike ride is about 8 miles and our average road ride is just 15. We did a few gravel rides in the high 20s and low 30s and one 40+ road ride to prepare. The added weight of bike packing does make a difference but nothing we couldn’t easily handle. Just take it easy, take a break every 10 miles, have a snack, drink plenty of water and keep on pedaling.

The ROCKBROS pannier bags are fantastic and amazing bang-for-the-buck.

I’d call it about as successful a trip as you could have. Weather/heat aside I’d recommend it as the perfect bike-packing bike-touring shakedown run you could get.

Bruce E Coyle from Marietta on 5/20/2022 9:34:08 AM:
Nice report

Riverbliss from Nashville, TN on 9/4/2022 12:11:09 AM:
I'm curious about your rating the Silver Comet a 5 out of 10. What would be your favorite trails?

mike_bikes from Columbus GA on 1/5/2023 9:13:21 PM:
I just rode a few days ago.

I started at Cedartown and headed east for 25 miles to just outside of Dallas, GA. Some pretty rough patches of trail with tons of leaves and pine straw, branches, and acorns. It was wet under the leaves, so kind of slippery. The pavement was not visible in a few sections of the trail. Completely rideable though, and started improving west of rockmart(I think it's a new county there and it looked better).

Some of those hills are really steep, combined with the leaf litter and wet pavement under, was a little careful, a few of those hills are deceptively steep and your speed picks up quickly, but you can't always get on the breaks heavy due to the wet leaves....a guy died like that on the hill at the dump.

In general I find the trail between cedartown and rockmart tickey tacky, it's off the railroad grade, some really steep little hills and tight corners with limited visibility, just feel like I can't really get up to speed in that section.

After Dallas, i rode back to Cedartown and rode west from Cedartown for about 12 miles, trail conditions were the same, patches of heavy tree litter on the trail, but completely ridable,

Bruce E Coyle from Marietta on 1/11/2023 11:47:54 AM:
We had over 4" of rain and high winds prior to you ride.
Generally, takes about a week to get cleaned up and blown off.