The Silver Comet Trail was home to the second annual FIDF Southeast Region Bike Ride Sunday. About 100 riders, hailing from as far away as Nashville and Montgomery, participated in the fun and friendly ride while raising money for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.
Narrowly avoiding a Saturday evening downpour, which could have dampened the trail, cyclists geared up early Sunday morning to undertake their choice of 36- and 70-mile routes in Mableton.
According to Itai Tsur, president of FIDF Southeast region, the majesty of the ride was not lost on him.
“Being able to bring so many people who have a shared interest together on a beautiful Sunday morning to enjoy one of Georgia’s key landmarks hits all the different facets of what makes a great event,” he said. “It was just a really perfect morning.”
Marshall Cohen, an FIDF board member who was also on the event’s planning committee, explained that after the first ride took place in White, Georgia, the goal was to aim for somewhere a little more accessible.
“[White] was a great location, but logistically it was pretty cumbersome,” he said. “It required a ton of volunteers, and we thought settling on the Silver Comet would be much easier. Last year some people got lost because there were a lot of turns and we had to set out signs, … the Silver Comet is just a straight line.”
This year, volunteers were prepared with water and rest stops at the 18- and 36-mile points, where the turnarounds for the ride were designated.
While it’s still early for next year’s planning to begin, Cohen noted that the route had gotten many positive reviews from participants and was likely to remain the venue in the future.
“It was a good number of people, and it’s hard to accommodate many more on the Comet, but we would like to get a few more people, and that’s what we’re aiming for next year,” he said. “Having the local ride really is a great way to get the FIDF out there to a wider audience.”
The funds raised from the ride are earmarked to benefit wounded IDF soldiers and support families of those who have fallen, according to FIDF Southeast Executive Director Seth Baron.
“When you hear some of the stories of the impact that we’ve had on the lives of these soldiers who come to speak to us, it enriches your soul,” Tsur said. “I think that an event like the bike ride enriches the body in the same way. … I think to go away from the usual model of a lecture, dinner or gala and just share an activity outside with people is wonderful.”