Article originally appeared in February 2016 Georgia Trend by Christy Simo.
Bicycle tourism is a growing trend in the state that can help cities and regions not only showcase some of their unique outdoor assets, but also draw thousands of people to their communities for organized bike rides.
It also has a substantial – and increasing – economic impact. According to a 2013 study, the 61.5-mile Silver Comet Trail, which runs through Cobb, Paulding and Polk counties all the way to the Alabama state line, generates $120 million in total expenditures each year and supports roughly 1,300 jobs and $37 million in earnings.
Beyond that, biking can also be fun. So, whether you’re interested in bicycle tourism for your town or just want to get outside come springtime, take a look at some of Georgia’s best places to be outdoors and hit the trails. – Christy Simo
Try: The North Oconee River Greenway. The 3.75-mile linear park skirts downtown Athens to the east.
Try: The Chattahoochee Riverwalk through downtown or the 11-mile Fall Line Trace. Together, the two trails form a 26-mile path between Fort Benning and Columbus.
Try: Stone Mountain Trail. As part of the larger PATH system, this 19-mile paved trail begins in Atlanta and runs along College Avenue near downtown Decatur before ending at Stone Mountain Park.
Try: Rent a bike for less than $14 a day from the Jekyll Island Bike Rental Shop to discover more than 20 miles of biking trails throughout the island.
Try: The Oconee River Greenway. With 4 miles of trails, the park is just a short jaunt from the city’s bicycle-friendly downtown, which has bike racks throughout so you can hop off any- time for a quick shopping excursion or a bite to eat.
Try: The city known for its golf carts has established more than 90 miles of multi-use paths throughout the area. Or for a little mountain biking, check out the Peachtree City Bike Park.
Try: BikeRoswell’s weekly Saturday morning ride that starts at Roswell Area Park and wends 25 miles throughout the city.
CITY BIKE SHARE
Try: The city’s CAT (Chatham Area Transit) Bike bicycle share program, which has stations at Ellis Square and Rivers Exchange downtown.
Try: Bike anywhere around the 2.75-mile-long island or try the nearby six-mile-long McQueen’s Island Historic Trail, which follows an 1887 railbed from Fort Pulaski along the Savannah River.