Grab your Artsy Bike water bottle and let’s go! Wait, not so fast. It’s crowded out there in the usual spots for bike riding in Metro Atlanta, and that’s a (good) problem because that means human-powered movement is increasingly popular. But maintaining distance is more important than ever right now, and the overflowing Atlanta Beltline’s Eastside Trail or your local park’s multiuse path filled with packs of relatives out for walks on this Thanksgiving weekend may not be the safest choice during COVID-19’s surge.
You may find my free Baker’s Dozen self-guided bike tours particularly helpful in providing you with additional options throughout Metro Atlanta. Considering that these concerns will last through the holidays, you could even package up a tour “gift certificate” with a bike bell or a promise of a picnic to create an original, affordable holiday gift for a friend or loved one. (See more fun, functional, and free holiday gift ideas here.)
If your family or pod wants to take a bike ride together and you don’t own bikes or might have trouble transporting them to a desired and safe location to ride, consider booking a tour with Bicycle Tours of Atlanta. See their more-than-800 5-star reviews for why.
I’ll be adding more carefully-curated tours each month to coincide with my Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor schedule. I’m also adding random new routes every so often that are invitations to simply wander, and I provide what are meant to be a taste of what’s out there waiting for you to discover. Here’s the first one in the Wander series (Wander Around Atlanta while Traveling at the Speed of Bike.) Here’s the second:
Wander Around the River while Traveling at the Speed of Bike
The City of Roswell and the Roswell Arts Fund have worked hard on its ArtAroundRoswell public art program and you’ll find a few sculptures along this route. You may enjoy taking the time to read the markers and explore the art a little. There’s an app for that!
This sculpture is a long-time favorite along the route. The fish is a rainbow trout, and depending on the time of day when you ride by, it catches the light and appears in rainbow colors.
As you’re riding along Riverside after you cross the little bridge, you’ll see a random bike rack on the side. Stop there and treat yourself to the beautiful shoals below in the river. There are often herons, geese, and other wildlife as well.
My route takes you down a seemingly-secret dirt road that is an absolute treasure (and probably on borrowed time as I see some new big houses have been built there). As you round a corner, you’ll see this simple, sweet sign. It’s one of my very favorite in Metro Atlanta — and is currently the working title of a new Young Adult book which I’m writing! Keep going just a hair longer and you’ll see an old, photo-worthy produce stand. By the way, you’ll also pass a blue-glass bottle tree (traditionally used to catch demons and keep them from coming in a house), which is a reminder that culturally-important art doesn’t just sit in museums. (Turn around and backtrack to get back to Riverside. Don’t go on Riverside at Eves.)
My winter project 🙂
I’ve been exploring cities designated by the League of American Bicyclists as Bicycle Friendly Communities, by the way, and the City of Roswell is one of six in Metro Atlanta. Any bike lane on a 35 mph+ road that’s included in that designation must be at least 4 feet wide. The bike lane on this route is 5 feet wide! (It does narrow and end at one point, however, but you’ll be on it for a very short while at that point. As always, if you ever feel uncomfortable, walk your bike on sidewalks or grassy shoulders.)
You’ll pass some historical markers back in Riverside Park and these are all worth a read. Here are two of them. These are undisputed facts that stop me in my tracks every time I go by. By the way, the name Chattahoochee is believed to derive from Creek words meaning “river of painted rocks.” (The Chattahoochee River was believed to be the dividing line between the Creek and Cherokee tribes.) See this recent article about how Indigenous people are reclaiming their land.
Back by the public bathrooms, you’ll find this fun, artsy bike rack. There’s also a bike fix-it station.
I left you a book! If it’s already taken, you can get your own here. All proceeds help more women and girls ride bikes.
By the way, if you went in the other direction from Riverside Park, you’d get to this stunning boardwalk. Ride along with me here! It’s a bit crowded right now during COVID so I only go there occasionally anymore.