The 10 th Annual Firefly Trail Ticket to Ride returns Saturday, Oct. 9, at 9 a.m., bringing an estimated 300 cyclists to roads and towns from Athens to Union Point – or Union Point to Athens – for the first time since the pandemic struck.
Also for the first time, this year’s ride will highlight completed and near-completed segments of the trail in Union Point, Maxeys, Winterville and Athens.
The Firefly Trail Ticket to Ride is a mass participation bicycle event held on paved roads close to the historic corridor of the Georgia Railroad Athens Branch. When completed, the trail will provide a safe, off-road, 39-mile facility for walking, running, cycling and other non-motorized uses through three counties and seven towns and cities.
The Oct. 9 ride is a non-competitive event for fun and awareness. It features out-and-back options ranging from a few miles up to 83 miles, with start/finish points at Jittery Joe’s Roaster in Athens, the historic Depot in Winterville, and Union Point Theatre in Union Point. Riders are treated to paved roads, beautiful countryside, friendly towns and on-road vehicle support, with restrooms, snacks and beverages every 9-10 miles.
In addition, the finish points in Athens and Union Point will host festivals from about 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with food for purchase, live music, beer (one free can or pour for registered riders) and door prizes.
“It’s a lot of fun for a great cause – a trail that will provide a safe, wide, off-road path that offers opportunities for better health, economic stimulus, historic and landscape preservation, and community engagement,” said Firefly Trail President Mark Ralston. “Because it flattens out most of the hills, it can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of age or physical ability.”
The Firefly Trail will also connect to other trails for even greater opportunities, including the growing Greenway Network in Athens and the proposed Georgia Hi-Lo Trail from Union Point to Savannah.
Volunteers are vital to the event, and numerous opportunities are available. All volunteers receive a free t-shirt. Click here to volunteer.
Click here to pre-register 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. Admission to the festivals is free. All proceeds from the ride benefit Firefly Trail Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to helping local communities build the Firefly Trail.
Here are key facts about the event:
- Online registration is open and strongly recommended at Active.com. If COVID safety permits, a rider packet pick-up event will be held at Georgia Cycle Sport, 1029 Baxter St.,
Athens, on Friday, Oct. 8, to reduce congestion on ride day.
- Day-of registration will open at 8 a.m. at all three locations.
- For COVID safety, there will be no mass starts. Riders may depart when ready after
- SAG stops will open at 8:30 a.m. in Winterville, 9 a.m. in Athens and Union Point, and
9:30 a.m. in Maxeys and Crawford. SAG stops will close after the last rider passes
- Support services will end and the course will close at 4:30 p.m.
- Riders are urged to wear a face covering in registration areas and while at the food and
beverage tables at SAG stops.
- Parking in Athens will be at Jittery Joe’s Roaster, 425 Barber St., until full. Overflow
parking will be approximately 0.5 miles away at Athens Cotton Press, 149 Oneta St.
- Parking in Winterville will be in the Pittard Park overflow lot off Parkview Road.
- Parking in Union Point will be downtown near the Union Point Theatre, 101 Fluker St.
- Firefly souvenir neck gaiters are guaranteed to riders who register before Sept. 20 and
will be available thereafter while supplies last.
- Riders must be comfortable sharing the road with motor vehicles.
- Helmets are required, and riders must obey all local and state laws.
- One-way distances are 7.7 miles from Athens to Winterville, 11.4 miles from Winterville
to Crawford, 9.7 miles from Crawford to Maxeys, and 12.7 miles from Maxeys to Union
- Volunteers driving support vehicles will patrol the course to assist participants who are
too tired to continue or have mechanical problems. SAG vehicles cannot be used as
The pace of progress on the trail continues to accelerate. Several segments are now open and will be used in the Ticket to Ride where possible:
- Athens-Clarke County – 0.8 miles, with another 1.8 miles under construction and 3.5
miles in planning. ACC is also building a 500-foot-long bridge for the trail over Trail Creek.
- Maxeys – 1.4 miles
- Union Point – 0.6 miles
- In partnership with the Cities of Union Point, Woodville and Maxeys, and Firefly Trail,
Inc., Greene County has secured a $2.1 million grant through the Georgia Outdoor
Stewardship Program to build about 5.9 miles of trail in Greene County, Woodville and
Union Point, and roughly 0.5 miles in Maxeys.
Saturday, 3/23, 9AM
Jittery Joe's Roaster (Athens)
Pittard Park (Winterville)
Out and back options up to 87 miles - choose your distance and pace (cue sheets coming soon)
$40 Adv. Registration
Online, hard-copy, or in person at Georgia Cycle Sport the day before the ride; includes newly designed Firefly t-shirt, full support, party, one-year Firefly Trail membership, and goodie bag; $45 day-of, $30 student registrations
Party at Noon!
Details vary by location (Athens and Union Point)
Begins at 8:00 on 3/24 at Jittery Joe's Roaster, Pittard Park, or Union Theatre
Free car parking