To celebrate Black History Month, we're proud to bring back for its second year this late-April/early May tour which will begin with a day in downtown Atlanta in the vicinity of the MLK National Historical Park and Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, and end with an afternoon/evening/morning stay in downtown Birmingham at the historic and elegant Hampton Inn Downtown Tutwiler Hotel, just blocks from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the 16th St. Baptist Church. In between we'll ride the magnificent Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga Rail Trails, which together stretch almost 95 miles across western Georgia and eastern Alabama, among the longest paved pedestrian paths in the country.
These two trails are rich with tributes to the glorious age of passenger rail, with three trestles and a railroad tunnel integrated into the trail designs, as well as numerous train depots restored as resting places for trail users. Both are remarkably flat and smooth,and pass through small towns that embrace the trail with welcome centers, ice cream and sandwich shops, as well as long stretches of protected wilderness and alongside enchanting wetlands. where you may spot fox, deer, and numerous species of birds.
We'll cover 94.5 miles in 3 days of riding on the Silver Comet & Chief Ladiga Trails; the mileage in Atlanta and Birmingham will depend on your desire for cycling on trails/local streets vs. touring museums and memorials in the area.
Tour Leaders: Jack Pettry & Tony Palmer
Day 1 - Sunday evening
We'll meet at 5:00 pm at our hotel, the Holiday Inn Express Atlanta Galleria-Ballpark to introduce ourselves and discuss what the week of cycling and sightseeing will look like. Then we'll have some Italian food brought in for a relaxed evening meal as we continue to get acquainted.
Day 2 - Monday
Today we will van all participants and bikes into downtown Atlanta to the vicinity of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum. From there, bike path possibilities include the Freedom Park Trail, the Atlanta Beltline Eastside Trail, and Stone Mountain Trail, with destinations including Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, MLK's Birth Home, the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Piedmont Park, Freedom Park Bird & Butterfly Garden, and Stone Mountain Park which offers a Summit Skyride.
Day 3 - Tuesday
After loading the van with our luggage, we will set out from our hotel on the Mountain to River Trail, connect to the Concord Road Trail and then get on the Silver Comet Trail heading west. Our destination will be the lovely family-owned Three Strands Winery & Vineyard in Dallas GA. After enjoying lunch and some wine tasting, we'll backtrack to the town of Hiram to spend the night at the Best Western Hiram Inn & Suites.
Day 4 - Wednesday
We'll hit the Trail again heading west and stop for lunch in the little creekside town of Rockmart, where you can explore and choose from several options. Then we'll continue on to the town of Cedartown, where we'll load into the van and head for our evening's lodging at the Hampton Inn Jacksonville-Anniston.
Day 5 - Thursday
After a full hot breakfast, we'll van back to Cedartown to complete our ride on the scenic Chief Ladiga Trail. After a lunch, we'll pack up and van into downtown Birmingham for our overnight stay at the elegant and historic Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Tutwiler. We'll have time to begin exploring Birmingham or just relax and enjoy the accommodations.
Day 6 - Friday
On our final day, we'll spend the morning with a ticketed visit to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, a tour of the nearby 16th Street Baptist Church, then have a quick lunch and get back in the van and return to our starting hotel.
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
This tour begins and ends with a day of "free form" riding, according to your desires and interests, in southeast Atlanta and downtown Birmingham. On Monday we will van all riders to the vicinity of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum. From there, bike path possibilities include the Freedom Park Trail, the Atlanta Beltline Eastside Trail, and Stone Mountain Trail, with destinations including Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, MLK's Birth Home, the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Piedmont Park, Freedom Park Bird & Butterfly Garden, and Stone Mountain Park which offers a Summit Skyride.
The middle three days are on paved, smooth Rail Trail, with about 30 miles of riding each day. The support van is always available for those wishing to ride less. The routes are suitable for all bicycles.
On Thursday afternoon we'll van from the terminus of the Chief Ladiga Trail to our hotel, the elegant and historic Hampton Inn & Suites Birmingham Downtown Tutwiler. We ought to have a few hours left to cycle and/or walk around downtown Birmingham, and we'll spend the morning the same way - there are some designated bike lanes, and attractions include the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Linn Park, the Birmingham Museum of Art, and Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark. We'll have a quick lunch in Birmingham before vanning back to our starting hotel, the Holiday Inn Express Atlanta Galleria-Ballpark.
Suggested tire size for this tour: 28mm and larger
- Overnight accommodations for 5 nights
- 5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
- Area-knowledgeable and cycling expert tour guides
- Gratuities for included meals
- In-ride drinks and snacks
- Van support
- Detailed maps and itineraries
- Reservations and admission to Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and 16th St. Baptist Church
- Airfare/transportation to and from Atlanta/Holiday Inn Express Smyrna
- Alcohol with meals
- Items of a personal nature such as laundry
- Gratuities for Tour Leaders
- Trip Insurance (Please purchase!)
- Pre-& post-trip hotel (Saturday / Friday nights NOT included)
- Bike rental
$2,325 per person (based on double occupancy)
$475 – Single Supplement (extra price to have your own room)
$150 – Bike Rental (helmet and bike bag included)
Trip Insurance and Cancellation Policy
Please review Senior Cycling's Cancellation Policy here.
Please purchase Trip Insurance. Especially at our age, even though no one expects or wants it, health issues arise and accidents happen. At Travelinsurance.com you can get quotes for coverage from several different providers and get all your questions answered about different levels of coverage, such as "Cancel For Any Reason (COFR)" polices and Pre-Existing Condition waivers. Allianz Travel Insurance and TravelGuard by AIG are also well-known companies with reasonable rates. Please check it out and protect your travel investment.
Your Travel Plans
For this tour we meet riders at 5:00 pm on Sunday evening at our hotel in Smyrna, GA, the Holiday Inn Express Atlanta Galleria-Ballpark. The trip ends on Friday in Birmingham; we will travel by van back to our starting Atlanta hotel, arriving between 3-4:00 p.m.
If you are traveling by air, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport is 20 miles from the hotel. We return you to our opening hotel at the end of the trip.
If you are driving, you drive to the hotel. We'll return you there at the close of the trip. You may leave your car there during the trip for no charge.
Your Lodging Plans
Your lodging from Sunday through Thursday is included. Our return to our starting point, the Holiday Inn Express Atlanta Galleria-Ballpark (in Smyrna, GA) is expected to be about 3:00 p.m. on Friday April 28th. If you'd like to stay that night, please contact the hotel directly and tell them you're with the Senior Cycling tour.