I arrived in Woodstock, Georgia, a 30,000-citizen Metro Atlanta suburb-city thirty miles north of Atlanta, via car after turning off busy multilane State Road 92 onto Main Street, where within five minutes you enter a charming downtown.
After parking my car in the back of the local stores and unloading my bike, I was immediately drawn to the art (as usual). The back of a local shop named Blue Frog Imports (plus a company car covered with all kinds of objects). Wings painted on a wall honoring children with cancer and their families. A mural that celebrates the city’s history and community just around the corner. Sculptures in the greenspace.
Turns out this is the majority of the art on this tour, but don’t let that stop you from exploring beyond the parking lots. A multiuse path named Noonday Creek Trail, part of an ambitious plan named Greenprints, starts in one of the contiguous parking lots and takes you up-close-and-personal past some new townhomes and condos. Then you get to enjoy the art of nature for a quick three miles round-trip (to SR 92 and back, by the way), with a little detour over the bridge to Woofstock Dog Park, if you want (there’s a public bathroom there that was big enough I could roll my bike into it).
Speaking of bathrooms, don’t miss the repurposed shipping containers back by the greenspace by the parking lots. Honestly, I love these. The art of upcycling.
If you follow my cue card, I take you past more new homes in a nice neighborhood across Main Street (the art of architecture). I recommend meandering a bit. Tip: If you ride down any part of the downtown where there is back-in motor vehicle parking, please be extra alert and ride in the middle of the road, if possible, so you are more visible.
If you need a quick bike repair, or a beverage and bite before or after riding, don’t miss Reformation Brewery (right there by the parking lots as well). In addition to the bike repair station, there’s a bike rack and wonderful socially-distanced outdoor seating with fire pits (not lit when I was there).
Wanna take the Woodstock bike-thing up a notch? Consider mountain biking. I drove from downtown to Olde Rope Mill Park (passing what looks to be the beginning of a network of wide sidepaths beside the road) where you’ll find the Taylor Randahl Memorial Bike Trails as part of the Southern Off Road Biking Association (SORBA). And, folks, that’s a whole other world out there. Props to you mountain bikers. That is some skillful riding you’re all doing. I got stuck deciding among trails named Raceway, Powerhouse, or Turbine (the names of which made it clear I was way out of my league).
I also teetered precariously close to a ravine at one point, so I’m not sure I’m ready for my mountain biking debut yet. In fact, I sat on a bench and googled “basic mountain biking tips.” We’re not talking just unpaved, folks. We’re talking, as they say, technical conditions like roots and rocks and jumps. My GoPro footage from this experience is hilarious. Maybe I’ll share it sometime. Let’s just say I was glad a little paved section of the Greenprints trail network was there as an alternative option!
I tried to get to another destination named Sixes Pit, where there’s a whole additional slew of killer trails (which I intended to avoid) but also an easy one I was eyeing named Mosquito Flats at Blankets Creek. I hit the limit of my capacity for driving, however, and will have to come back for that one. Maybe not in the summer, or I may find out the uncomfortable reason for that name!
Anyhow, I’d say Woodstock is worth a special trip if you want a comfortable, relatively flat, paved ride and to eat out at one of the many local places, and/or to do some serious mountain biking (which is its own art form). Plus, if you have little ones, there is a terrific arts-focused playground right there by the greenspace. You can even bang out (R)ode to Joy on the musical instruments.
And of course, I took my usual Leap of Faith — because that’s what it always is when you’re Traveling at the Speed of Bike.
You may also enjoy the Artsy Bike Face Mask (2 for $20US!) when you’re exploring artsy downtowns!