Clayton County, GA

If you have flown around the United States, there’s a strong chance you’ve been to Clayton County, Georgia. That’s because that’s where Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is located, and, as the busiest airport in the United States, many planes stop there even if it’s not their final destinations.

That’s just the tip of Clayton County, however. If you watched the volleyball events in person or on TV during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, you’ve been to Clayton County as that’s where the “beach” was (and still is — an impressive water park is apparently under construction there right now).

If you saw the movie Gone with the Wind, you’ve been to Clayton County, as the scenes at the plantation named Tara in that movie were filmed there, and in fact, a road named Tara Boulevard was named after it.

And if you saw former President Obama deliver a speech the day before the recent presidential election from a place named Slutty Vegan, well, you’ve been to Clayton County, as that local Black-woman-owned vegan place (one of three locations — see a previous post about the owner Pinky Cole here) is located in the Clayton County seat of Jonesboro.

But now let’s get specific about bike riding in Clayton County:

  1. A media review shows stories about a four-year-old child being given a bike by first responders after his mom was killed, and a thirteen-year-old who was shot who apparently “liked to ride his bike.” And that’s about it. So, yes, there are a whole lot of stories not being told (because I know for a fact that there are good things happening everywhere), and I intend to find and share some of them with you;
  2. One of the good stories seems to be about C4 (the Clayton County Cycling Club) so I’ll be reaching out to those folks to see if I can find out more about this “very unique group of cyclists that love our Clayton Co. community, parks and trails. We desire to uplift our community via civic involvement from a cycling group platform. Community involvement off our bikes will be our brand and is our passion”;
  3. Another good story seems to be about the Clayton Connects trails master plan, which I’ve read, and so I have a person or two from the steering committee I want to interview. Short answer: feast your eyes on the Kaizen Collaborative case studies. I am also excited about the potential for using water treatment facilities for public greenspace and conservation education, as indicated in the master plan;
  4. Clayton County Government did apparently offer bike rodeos for kids three years in a row (as recently as 2019), so that’s some good educational outreach — I’d like to know if they found a way to keep it going during the pandemic;
  5. There are a few existing paths of note, although I can’t find one mention of a bike lane anywhere — maybe there are some that I just missed;
  6. And finally, Aerotropolis, in general, is worth a little more exploration (possibly as my next RideSpot tour). This is the whole planned reimagining of the area around the aforementioned airport (which, please note, was originally communities that were destroyed to build the airport). (You may appreciate a prior story I’ve written about Porsche, located by the airport, and the work that Robyn Elliott and her team at Bicycle Tours of Atlanta are doing together.) (I also loved this memoir, Flight Path, by Hannah S. Palmer.) And what is this Spin the District?! Must. Find. Out.

So, look forward to some of those stories throughout February. If you know of any other underreported stories or unsung heroes involved somehow with making it more welcoming to ride bikes in Clayton County, let me know. I only do three or four posts per county, however, so lots of stuff will continue to be underreported, unfortunately, as that’s not nearly enough to cover all the good I find, but it’s a start. I hope there is a ripple effect and you notice all the good happening where you live as well. (If anyone wants to hire me for any additional coverage, see here.)

Next month, we’re on to Cobb County (according to this 10-county schedule). If interested, here’s my 3-month Executive Summary as your Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor. (If you want to apply to become the Bicycle Mayor of Clayton County or any of its individual cities, feel free to contact me for info. One of my goals is to work myself out of this Metro-Atlanta-wide position and encourage folks who actually live in various places to join the global movement! People in Atlanta, Norcross, Duluth, and Sandy Springs have already talked with me.)

See ya’ out there, Traveling at the Speed of Bike!