I really enjoy bicycling. Not epic 100+ mile cycles but more modest cycles. Lately on the order of around 30 miles or so.
I *used* to commute into work, back when I lived in Toronto. My house was located just four houses up from lake Ontario on Sixth street. I was able to cycle along Lakeshore Blvd for about 3 miles until I picked up the Martin Goodman Trail. I was then able to follow the Lake Ontario shoreline until just South of where I worked downtown. A quick jaunt through city rush hour traffic and I was there. My company offered convenient bicycle parking. I would work out at the company gym and shower to get to work for about 8:30 every morning. It was about a 9 mile commute each way and it was glorious from about April through October.
Unfortunately, the prospect of commuting in and around Atlanta seems pretty laughable between the rather narrower roads and complete lack of awareness or care on the part of car drivers for anything smaller than another SUV on the road. So I cycle on weekends or early evening on very sparsely populated roads or – my favorite – Rails to Trails paths.
I’ve only explored a small part of the Silver Comet Trail (SCT) so far. I used to always begin at mile-marker zero (near Nickjack Elementary school) but have recently been making my way out to Hiram, GA to cycle the portion between there (mile marker 14.7) and the Historic Brushy Mountain Tunnel (mile marker 30.9). This trip *seems* to me to be just mildly uphill all the way out and mildly downhill all the way back with the tunnel representing some kind of watershed. It may just be my perception but I really do look forward to the return cycle.
There are multiple trailheads along the the SCT. The one at the zero mile marker is pretty good. It’s got a good bathroom facility and overflow parking at the elementary school if necessary. The downside is that it’s usually VERY busy and you’ll find yourself dodging pedestrians and other trail traffic for the first couple of miles of your trip.
I read an article that gushed about how attractive the segment of the SCT is between Hiram and Rockmart. I tried it several months back and I have to admit that it *is* a super attractive and pleasant ride. There is a great little cycling support place just off the Hiram trailhead (beyond the Sheriff’s caboose) that has washrooms big enough to just bring your bike in with you so you don’t need to worry about it. Also, it’s MUCH less crowded, even during peak times. Also, there are far fewer street crossings here than at the Zero mile marker trailhead. There are about 3 that you hit in fairly short order and then only the occasional slow-down-and-whiz-across one from then on.
Going beyond the Brushy Mountain Tunnel the trail starts to get much more hilly, especially for a rails-to-trails ride. I’ve been told that after Rockmart the trail really can be challenging (especially if you’re already bonking :)).