We lined up the well-maintained, comfortable, multi-geared bikes (specifically chosen to match the size of each guest) in the open-air courtyard of the old cotton-holding warehouse, which was the first brick building in Atlanta to have been fireproofed many years ago (after Sherman burned Atlanta on his March to the Sea, and after the Great Atlanta Fire of 1917 that ravaged this neighborhood of the Old Fourth Ward). It’s now work/live lofts right off the Atlanta Beltline’s Eastside Trail, and it’s where Bicycle Tours of Atlanta calls home.
Our guests arrived at 9 AM — two families for a total of four adults and five children, one as young as nine years old. After intros, a few minutes to get familiar with the bikes, and a quick overview of safety tips, we headed out onto the Atlanta Beltline; the neighborhoods of Inman Park, Cabbagetown, Grant Park, and the Old Fourth Ward; and the historic Victorian-garden-style Oakland Cemetery.
We paused by and passed tons of street art and public murals (including in the always-changing Krog Street Tunnel), and we reflected upon the ongoing relevance of the Civil Rights Movement at the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change (a designated National Park). We also helped support another local business (the extraordinary Revolution Doughnuts, where at least half their doughnuts are vegan, by the way); saw fun things like a Little Free Library, Tiny Doors ATL, the most surprising little jail, and backyard chickens (well, they are in a street-fronting yard at this particular home); and waved and said hello to everyone we encountered along the way.
By the three-hour-tour’s end, we hoped each guest experienced the promise of the tour’s name: Fall in Love with Atlanta. I know I fell in love again, as I do every time I’m Traveling at the Speed of Bike.