Now is as good a time as any to rescue the bicycles from the basement and get out to enjoy the growing number of opportunities for cycling throughout Rockdale County.
Combine the completion of several trails in recent years with numerous ongoing local cycling events, people of all ages are sure to find their stride. And with benefits ranging from exercising, reducing the carbon footprint, raising money for charity and making new friends, hundreds of people are peddling throughout the county every week.
There are 400 members in the Conyers Covington Cycling Club, or C4, trekking along rural roads and trails. With this group you will find local cycling enthusiast Eddie Shirey, who is also a member of the Conyers Bike and Trail Coalition. For years, Shirey has worked with government officials to make Conyers and Rockdale County a cycle-friendly community, and he has played an instrumental role in organizing local cycling activities.
"I definitely encourage cycling in the community," Shirey said. "We work to keep the public informed about the benefits of cycling and to make it safer for people who ride for practical purposes."
For cyclists who are looking to jump in head-first, start by joining Shirey and C4 riders every Thursday for a 30-mile ride that begins at 6 p.m. at the Georgia International Horse Park. Along with a promise of whipping into shape, joining this group of cyclist provides philanthropic opportunities as members of C4 also organize several cycling events for charity throughout the year.
If going solo is more your style, hit the trail at Nancy Guinn Memorial Library in Olde Town and bike the 1.7-mile stretches down Parker Road to the Rockdale County Career Academy for a lighter work-out. When it is time to ramp it up a bit, take on the new 2.4-mile trail that runs from the intersection of Daniels Bridge and Union Church Road to South Rockdale Park. A third option is a 1.1-mile trail inside the Rockdale County portion of Panola Park that continues for another 13 miles over the DeKalb County line.
Rockdale County Special Projects Coordinator Andrew Hammer encourages citizens to visit the Department of Recreation page at rockdalecounty.org to obtain maps of the trails. Hammer said there are also maps of the proposed trails that will eventually link Olde Town Conyers with a trail that will run from the Arabia Mountain Nature Center to Panola Mountain State Park to Monastery of the Holy Spirit in south Rockdale County.
"In three more years we will have all 13 miles constructed," Hammer said. "Our long-range plan is to connect to Newton and Henry counties, who have both been working on a trail system."
Perhaps the crown jewel of local cycling options is the eight-mile trail located at the Georgia International Horse Park. Built for the 1996 Olympics, the trail has 1,032 feet in elevation and meanders around the park. A map of the trail is located online at the park's website.
For more information on joining C4, visit c4cyclingclub.org or contact Shirey at firstname.lastname@example.org.