Route, Itinerary, Equipment - Silver Comet Express - CycleBlaze

November 30, 2017

Route, Itinerary, Equipment

(you know, logistics and the "why")

Exactly what is this "Silver Comet Express" all about, anyway?

The Silver Comet was in the mid-20th century, a train running from Atlanta, GA to Birmingham, AL. Sure, it went all the way to Washington, DC, but I'm not riding that far on this trip. Owing to declining revenues, the last train ran on the route in January 1968. Today, the Silver Comet exists as a memory for the thousands of people who use the Silver Comet Trail for recreation. Many users probably are only think about their lap times or beating the latest Strava segment, but I like to think about the history of the trail. And, it's "express" because I'm doing entire thing in basically one day - how's THAT for a Strava segment?*

The trail is ~100 miles long paved recreation path extended from the NW suburbs of Atlanta all the way across the Alabama state line to Anniston, AL. Since Amtrak roughly follows this route, I decided to take the train to Anniston, and ride home, connecting the Silver Comet to other bike trails and greenways nearly all the way to my front door.


What a plan, then! I was riding Amtrak to Anniston, and then hopping off and riding nearly 140 miles home. Perfect.

Doesn't look like I can get my bike off the train in Anniston

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Except for one small little fact - Amtrak doesn't consider Anniston a baggage stop which means I can't get my bike off the train in Anniston which means I would be left standing on the platform watching the train pull away with my bike in the baggage car. Seeing as that was not an ideal scenario, I booked travel through to Birmingham where I could get my bike off the train and have a blissful ride home.

What am I going to see?

It's a quick tour, with a lot of miles (200+) so the highlights will probably be quick pit stops on the journey.

  • Riding the complete combination of the Chief Ladiga/Silver Comet end-to-end
  • Freedom Riders National Monument in Anniston
  • Alabama backroads
  • Just getting away from it all for a few days, and getting on the bike.

The Route

So, with the extension of the train to Birmingham, it means I'm going to add about 60 miles to my original planned 140 for a total of a little more than 200 in three days. Rough approximation of the route outlined below.

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* to be honest, I'm not trying to beat anyone's record, it's only that there are 3 days in which to do this trip for me, and I couldn't get Amtrak to drop my bike with me in Anniston.

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John PescatoreWhat bar bag are you using? I want to try some credit card style touring on my road bike, have a good expandable saddle bag but looked at Apidura and Revelate bar bags in REI and they look huge - hard to believe wouldn't interfere with STI shifting.

John P.
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5 years ago
Paul MulveyTo John PescatoreThanks for looking through the journal. I have a 10L Sea-to-Summit Event compression dry sac looped over my aero bars ( That's it. I found for me it worked better than any other off-the-shelf solution. The dry sac contains my shelter (hammock, tarp, suspension, bug net, 4 stakes). And it all compresses into the space between my shifters. Cheers!
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5 years ago