Southeast - persnickety road bikers on silver comet
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08-11-08, 07:49 AM
Visiting family in Smyrna GA (Atanta) this weekend, I realized my bro-in-law practically lives at the head of the Silver Comet Trail...so I took my kids for a little 8-10 mile jaunt to check it out. I'd heard about attacks & such....I guess on a rather busy Sunday (or Saturday), such things are less likely, yes? Anyway, I didn't worry too much about that, but I did end up rather annoyed at the road bike riders (of which I would normally be part..but I happened to be on a beater mountain bike at the time) yelling to "get over" and muttering curses at other people + the kids. At one point, yes, my 10 year old took a dive across the on-coming lane & cursing (or soiling of biker shorts) was appropriate. Given. On all other occasions, we were all in our lane. In fact, a few times, the hollering biker was actually riding on/over the white line. Well, just wondering if this is why I never got into a certain aspect of 'cycling culture' over my 30+ years of cycling....I mean, when I see someone passing ahead of me, I move to the right give them room. I don't worry that they may be crossing the sacred line & I don't yell at them. Seems arrogant & rude...and a bit over-sensitive. Of course, I can understand that after years of being purposely or randomly harassed by cars and crashed by careless kids, dog owners, etc., that you lose your patience. But, from my perspective, it seemed like a good way to cause people who are just getting into the sport to think "what a bunch of jerks". FWIW. I had a great time & some silly stuff like that really had little to now bearing on the day for me or the kids. It did make me wonder what is the norm and whether there is a sort of 'handbook' for etiquette for riding a trail like that. I don't want to make other trail users uncomfortable any more than I want them to make me so.
thanks for thoughts & comments.....and, hey, maybe I'll be yellin' at folks on trails one day......anyone have a bullhorn mount on their bike? just kidding.....
Too many road cyclists ride from the Smyrna trailhead way too fast. The first 4-6 miles is packed with joggers, kids, rollerbladers, and pedestrians.
I totally agree about their inappropriate behavior. That's why I start at the Floyd Road (4.3 mile marker) or Florence Road (9.0 mile marker). Then the non-cyclists don't bother me and I don't bother them.
08-11-08, 01:29 PM
thanks. that makes sense about the traffic. We probably rode to about the point where traffic thins out. I was riding a bike that I had picked up while in town thinking it would be more of a "parts bike" and as it turned out it was a nice riding bike for the most part (though i didn't have proper gear and was riding without any kind of clips or cages). personally, i don't have an issue with someone riding at speed if they are reasonably in control (and/or understand they're risking practicing a controlled spill maneuver....your risk, your wreck; just don't take out innocent bystanders) & in fact I always move over to the right of my side of a path as much as I can to allow oncoming folks to pass with some room. I guess it takes all types. I'm looking forward to going back. I'll be on my road bike.....but I won't be cursing people :)
Road Bike Guy
08-11-08, 02:06 PM
I totally agree that there are a lot of "roadies" or "tri-guys" that go WAY too fast on most MUP's. I've ridden on the Silver Comet a couple of times with my wife and we have been yelled at each time by people zipping down the trail at 20+mph telling everyone in their path to move to the right.
I like to ride fast as much as the next guy but it is unrealistic and rude, not to mention dangerous, to ride so fast with other people on the path. The Silver Comet is a great place to train once you are out 8-10 miles, but close in people need to be going a lot slower and be a lot more courteous.
I pretty much avoid MUP's completely if I'm looking to do a real training ride, the open road is much safer.
the one time I rode on the Silver Comet was from Rockmart to Dallas and back which is a good ways awy from Atlanta. There was virtually no traffic but we did get buzzed by a group of roadies in full team gitup. I suspect they were training for some race. It was no problem as they passed us from the front both times but I would hate to have ment them on some of the sharper blind curves. Of course they may have slowed down for those but where we met both times was on fairly straight areas. I did notice that all the other bikes we met were friendly but these guys were all buisness. I was on a bent and several wanted to check it out.
Gives a whole new perspective to "Share the Road". The "boys" in their racer wannabe garb, some of which, think they are elite and the trail was built just for them. Maybe there needs to be a speed limit of 12 mph when passing other trail users.
04-14-09, 06:11 PM
Oh right, lets have another law that can't be enforced, 12mph on a bike path. I agree that there are people riding to fast for conditions on the Silver Comet and other trails. Speed limits are not the answer. That is the only trail where I feel compelled to take my lane when riding with my wife. She is slower and perhaps not as agile as others, but we still love to ride together. If I didn't take the lane the wanabes would run her off the trail without even batting an eye. Get a life dudes, if you want to go that fast hit the road.
On the other hand, I have also been literally run off the road by a gaggle of senior citizens who just think it is their right to ride three abreast down the trail. They are old after all and everyone should just respect them for it. They give cycling just as bad a reputation as the wannabes.
You want a stupid law, how about this. In Cook County Forest Preserves the code states that bikes will stay to the left and pedestrians will stay right. It is posted everywhere, but only some people do that. It is so counter-intuitive that almost no one can ride/walk/hop/skip or jump down the left side in America.
I ride the first 12 miles or so of the trail when ever I work down that way. The fast bikers mixing it up with the walkers and joggers and skaters is dangerous. If I am in my appropriate lane my comments to their get out of the way is "my, aren't you special". I had one guy actually stop and threaten me after that response. My response to that was "nice to see your brakes work, use them more often" My bluff was bigger than his bluff and he rode off imagining he was Lance no doubt.
I really like riding and have met many wonderful folks, but the bicycle society seems to have an inordinate amount of those "special" people. I find them on the multiple use trails in the Chattahoochee National Forest as well. Deaf people should not hike on the Pinhoti Trail, they will get run over, literally. People careening down a steep hill with no way to stop if the need arises just yell "get off the trail". The depth of arrogance seems to be proportional to the price of the bike and the clothes.
I've vented enough! The Silver Comet is still a good place to ride. A good mirror is helpful to avoid being run down. Be thoughtful, be polite to other trail users. They are having a good time, too.
04-16-09, 08:22 PM
I try to avoid it just for the reasons you've mentioned.
Completely out of hand for those first 10 miles near the trailhead.
And I agree with most folks. They've got to get some of those "hardcore" folks out on the road where the speed belongs.
I was working in the north metro area all day and got to ride the trail before heading home. I started at Florence Rd and went west 10 miles into Paulding County and back. Still plenty of people and fast riders, but not the crowds of the eastern 10 miles. There were actually several times when I could see no people ahead of me. Fewer road crossings, too. Real friendly and more room for the fast riders. I actually got the old Trek 820 up to 24 MPH on one downhill grade! It is so nice to ride without traffic. Also to see whole families out riding together.
Working in the metro area again and I rode even further out the trail than last time. West of Rambo trailhead I saw very few people. West of McPherson Church Road I saw nobody to the tunnel and back except the sheriff deputy in his little cart patrolling. It was a wonderful ride. As I was coming back there was a group of fast riders headed west out of Rambo. This is a stretch on which they can really fly. Few road crossings and very few people.
I rode from the park at Seaboard Road to the tunnel and back. What a beautiful piece of trail!
05-10-09, 06:04 PM
I'm a roadie that likes to go long and fast. The Silver Comet Trail is a great resource for this. The Atlanta metro area is crowded and congested and well known as a dangerous place for cyclists. Motorists here view bicycles as an inconvenience that shouldn't be on the road and generally show disregard for our safety. The Silver Comet is a mixed use trail that has become dangerous to many due to the careless nature of some "elite" roadies on their "oh so important" training ride. Families, children, and pets are a crazy variable. Wildly unpredictable. It is up to the cyclist to approach with extreme caution. If you plow into a child at 20mph it won't matter that YOU had the right-of-way. YOU will be the a**hole! I've seen plenty of these jerks on the trail and am embarrassed to be associated with their representation of our sport. If you want to go fast, I say "Go West Young (Wo)Man!" The further out you go, the faster you can go. Solitude, scenery, and unobstructed speed. It's a beautiful thing. If you need a good workout and must use the crowded eastern portion of the trail, try some interval training. Speed along 'til you see "The Unpredictables", hit the brakes, slowly pass with a kind smile, get out of the saddle and start hammering again. Repeat as necessary. Think about it. On a mixed use trail that is open and belongs to everyone, the high speed cyclist(in effect) has become the dangerous automobile.
05-10-09, 09:15 PM
I rode it this morning - 15 miles in & back from Smyrna. I understand the sentiment of not wanting to be associated with the jerks. This morning (early) it wasn't very crowded in general but I noticed that all the folks I passed or who passed me seemed to be minding the 'rules of the road' well...as it should be. There were some great divergencies of speed, but it all worked. I think the factor that was almost completely missing was kids....but, then again, I'd rather have to slow down & know there are some kids getting to enjoy the trail.
Out of curiosity - are there good country road riding areas slightly outside of ATL? Here in Knoxville, there are many that are (for many) close enough to literally ride to from the house. I wonder how far you have to go outside of Atlanta to find the same thing.
Ed in GA
05-10-09, 09:34 PM
On Saturday, my wife and I, along with a friend of ours, rode from Tara Drummond (suggested by several here) to Rockmart and back. We hit the trail at around 8:30 and did not find that portion of the trail to be very congested at all. We did have a few "high speed" riders come by but most announced themselves and the ride was quite pleasant. We didn't encounter very many people on foot until we were about three miles from the Rambo Trailhead on the return trip. Overall, a very pleasant ride.
05-11-09, 12:26 AM
I rode about 13 miles in the western-most section of the Silver Comet as part of 44 miles of mostly off-road. It was a rainy day (Sunday, 5/10) and I didn't see one other person on the path.
The section from Cedartown to Piedmont, AL (Chief Ladiga trail) is really pretty and very lightly used, even on pretty days.
Definitely the farther from Smyrna the better it becomes. It is very congested the first 10 miles but once you get out to Paulding Chamber it really lightens up and you find a lot of people just making a nice 15mph ride. Very few kids some Rodies training but not a problem with the lighter traffic. Once you get past rockmart you get into pasture land...just awesome.
I plan to ride Rockmart to Piedmont AL this week.
I have rode as far west as Grady rd (45mile mark, about halfway between Rockmart and Cedartown)). Work cohort lives near Cedartown and says it gets really out there as you head west to AL. Watch for snakes he warns...they like to sun on the path. Said he has more then once come up on a rattler.
05-25-09, 08:16 PM
Park at Florence Road. 49.7 miles to Alabama line. Make it a fast century. Even on the weekends, you shouldn't see much congestion at all.
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