The 11th Annual Firefly Trail Ticket to Ride, presented by Athens Physical Therapy, returns Saturday, March 26, at 9 a.m. The non-competitive event will bring an estimated 300 cyclists to roads and towns from Athens to Union Point – or Union Point to Athens – to celebrate progress on the Firefly Trail and build momentum to connect the existing segments.
We need volunteers! Signup here!
PRE-REGISTER FRIDAY MARCH 25TH 3-6 PM AT GEORGIA CYCLE SPORT IN ATHENS!
Registration form - PDF
Registration form - Microsoft Word
- In-person pre-registration at Georgia Cycle Sport, 1029 Baxter St. beginning Feb. 1 with packet pick-up and registration on Friday, March 25th from 3 - 6 a.m.
- Day of ride registration begins at 8 a.m. and riders may start as soon as registered.
Ride Cue Sheets:
Route URLs and Overview
The ride will be held on paved roads and segments of trail on or close to the historic corridor of the Georgia Railroad Athens Branch. The route highlights completed stretches of the trail in Union Point, Maxeys, Winterville and Athens. Funds generated by Ticket to Ride are used by Firefly Trail Inc. to support its work to assist communities in building, promoting, and maintaining the trail.
When completed, the trail will provide a safe, off-road, 39-mile path for walking, running, cycling and other non-motorized uses through three counties and seven towns and cities. As rail-trails have done all over the U.S., it will improve health, create economic opportunities, promote equity and build a greater sense of community.
The Ticket to Ride is unique among area cycling events because it features out-and-back options up to 87 miles. Riders can tailor their ride to fit their riding style by simply turning around. Start/finish locations will be at Jittery Joe’s Roaster in Athens, the historic Depot in Winterville, and Union Point Theatre in Union Point. Riders are treated to beautiful countryside, friendly towns, and on-road vehicle support, with restrooms, snacks and beverages every 8-13 miles.
In addition, planning is in progress to welcome riders back to Athens and Union Point. At Jittery Joe’s Roaster, Rashe’s Cuisine food truck will provide Jamaican-inspired fare for purchase, and a variety of canned Creature Comforts beer will be available for purchase by those 21 and older with ID (one free can for registered riders). Union Point plans will be announced soon.
“It’s a lot of fun to support a great cause: building a major rail-trail to connect our communities with a safe, off-road path,” said Firefly Trail President Mark Ralston. “Because it flattens out most of the hills, the Firefly Trail can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of age or physical ability.”
In addition, the Firefly Trail will connect to other trails for even greater opportunities, including the growing Greenway Network in Athens, Corry House/Hart Farms mountain bike trails in Union Point, and the proposed Georgia Hi-Lo Trail from Union Point to Savannah. It will also serve as an important connector in Oglethorpe and Greene counties for “gravel grinding,” an increasingly popular form of cycling that uses little-traveled unpaved roads.
Volunteers are vital to the event, and numerous opportunities are available. All volunteers receive a knit beanie. Click here for volunteer information and signup.
Pre-registration is now open on Active.com. Adults are $40 each, students are $30, and teams of 5-12 riders can pre-register as a group for $35 each. Ride-day registration will be $45 for adults and $30 for students. Riders will receive a knit beanie while supplies last. All proceeds from the event benefit Firefly Trail Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to helping local communities build the Firefly Trail.
Because COVID-19 remains active in our region, this year’s ride will use “trickle-out” starts, hand sanitizer will be available at SAG stops, and drivers and riders will be asked to wear masks and keep a window or two rolled down anytime a participant is using a SAG vehicle. Other precautions may be implemented if conditions warrant.
The pace of progress on the trail continues to be strong. Several segments are now open and will be used in the Ticket to Ride where possible:
Full Press Release - Microsoft Word