Monday, September 21, 2020


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Cycling has become a favorite outdoor activity for many Alabamians.  The freedom of the trails and roads holds a certain allure for cycling enthusiasts, and it is not uncommon to see individuals enjoying the pastime at all times of day and any time of the year.  One may see cyclists riding with their friends and families for enjoyment and fellowship, or spinning solo in preparation for races and competition.   Coldwater Mountain Bike Trail and The McClellan Bike Trail both offer off road mountain biking opportunities with trails that cater to the novice rider all the way up to the most advanced cyclists.  The Cheaha Challenge is an annual road race that caters to the serious road cyclists involved in competitive cycling.  The Chief Ladiga Trail offers the opportunity for leisurely rides through small towns and countryside alike along a paved path.  However you decide to enjoy the sport, chances are you can find a place to fit your needs in Calhoun County, Alabama.

Coldwater Mountain Bike Trail

Coldwater Mountain Bike Trail is a mountain biking trail with the main trailhead located off of Coldwater Road in Anniston, Alabama.  There are fourteen separate trails at the facility that comprise 35-40 miles of purpose built singletrack.  Trail difficulty ranges from beginner to advanced so there is an opportunity to enjoy the trails whether you are a novice or an advanced rider.  The Coldwater Mountain Fat Tire Fest is an annual event held at the trail and is sponsored by the NEABA, Forever Wild Land Trust, the IMBA, and the SORBA.  During the festival, a beer garden with local and regional brews is available to the patrons.  Live music is also provided.  Group rides are offered on Friday and Saturday for all levels, including women’s only and kid rides.  The Friday group ride takes place at night so plan ahead and bring your lights.  The Funduro section of the event consists of three circuits: enduro/downhill, upduro/climbing, and cross country.  The top ten winners of each circuit are awarded points to determine overall winners and winners for each circuit.  A Scavenger Hunt is also conducted and points received from the hunt can be redeemed for raffle tickets.  Co-ed skills clinics are also available at a discounted rate for registered festival attendees.

McClellan Bike Trail

Coldwater Mountain Bike Trail is not the only trail system in Calhoun County.  The facilities of the former Fort McClellan also offer quality biking opportunities.  The McClellan Bike Trail comprises 4.5 miles of purpose built singletrack and caters to beginner riders of all ages. Currently there are four trail segments in the system: Reveille, Retreat, WAC, and 2 Star Betty.  The trails on the facility roll around Sunset Hill and along the base of the Baltzell Mountains.

Chief Ladia Trail

The Chief Ladiga Trail is a 33 mile rail-trail that was constructed on top of an old CSX railroad bed.  It begins in Woodland Park in Anniston and traverses the towns of Weaver, Jacksonville and Piedmont before connecting to the Silver Comet rail-trail at the Georgia state line.  The trail is remarkably flat and is open to cycling and pedestrian traffic only.  The trail offers many access points along its route and the facility provides the general public an opportunity to enjoy northeast Alabama, including pastoral views of the Dugger Mountain Wilderness area.

For 28 years the Cheaha Challenge has begun and finished on the campus of Jacksonville State University in the city of Jacksonville in Calhoun County, Alabama.  Touted as “the toughest ride in the South”, the race is not for the faint hearted.  The Challenge offers the Century Ride, ULTRA, and Chief Ladiga Cruise options.  These options allow cyclists to choose their difficulty levels from the 50 mile cruise to over 120 miles of tough climbing to the top of Mt. Cheaha.

For cycling enthusiasts, there is no better place than Calhoun County.  Regardless of whether you are interested in mountain biking or street riding there is an outlet for your interests right in your own backyard.

Calhoun County hosts a number of world class cycling events each year including Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo Century, ULTRA, and Time Trial. Read more about annual cycling events in Greater Calhoun County.