As promised, here is another of my Ride Spot self-guided tours. This one is the Downtown Decatur Tour. See the Ride Spot link for more photos.
Honestly, this ride will blow you away. The City of Decatur has worked for years to create safe, accessible bike infrastructure; a culture that is proud to be bike friendly; a citywide commitment to local businesses; and FUN at every turn, mostly imbued through art. Painted utility boxes (and a random fire hydrant or two)? Check. Painted crosswalks? Check. Painted wall murals? Check. A giant public XYLOPHONE, for goodness sake? Check, check, check it outttttt! (Go to my Instagram @sustainablepattie and you’ll see me banging out Ode to Joy, or is that Rode to Joy?)
And, here’s another thing — Decatur doesn’t shy away from its turbulent past (check out the contextual signs at the Beacon Municipal Center about the African American neighborhood that was erased here) or our current events (I take you right over a Black Lives Matter mural being painted right on the street in front of Decatur High School). The wall murals you’ll pass celebrate diversity as well (but do note that this former-heavily-diverse hippie city is getting whiter and richer every year). Check out the murals on the previously-Section-8 housing on Adair Street, now under new ownership and market rate (or so I hear). Is that art as gentrification? You can’t avoid these questions when you’re Traveling at the Speed of Bike (there’s lots about these sorts of topics, and more, in my book by that name).
There are so many surprises for you on this route (pop-up planter-protected bike lane NEXT TO a multiuse path so you have options coming out of your ears!) (pink flamingoes!) (a seafood restaurant that lines its chef’s garden rows with its used oyster shells!) (separated, protected bike lanes that almost made me CRY) that I don’t want to give it all away. Just ride. And see for yourself. And if you’re a city leader in metro Atlanta and you’re not doing this ride to see how you can make your city more human-scaled, what exactly are you doing? (If you are a city leader from anywhere in the USA and you want me to accompany you on this tour, contact me. Like, I’m actually serious. Contact info is at TravelingAtTheSpeedOfBike.com)
Note: I start you by the parking garage on East Trinity (that you would use if you drive to serve on Dekalb County jury duty). This is also a short walk from the Decatur MARTA station. You can also access Decatur easily (and pleasantly) via bike from Atlanta. I’ll take you on that ride soon, and you’ll get to meet my emu friend! (Bring grapes. He likes grapes.)
Quick bike tips: Watch for some random door zones (bike lanes next to parked cars), and take the lane when you’re riding through the shop areas (it’s legal and usually feels comfortable.) (Take my free Basic Bike Skills class at TravelingAtTheSpeedOfBike.com/classes via text or downloadable PDF if you have concerns.) Oh, and stop to eat somewhere and support a local business, okay? You shouldn’t have trouble finding a bike rack in this Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community (certain to sail to Silver, maybe even Gold, soon).