Why, why, why can’t I stfu?!!!! I keep telling myself no, no, no no more local comments. Nothing good ever comes of it. And then a woman, possibly new to bike riding or back to it after many years, asks a simple little question on some community forum: Where is a good place to ride?
She’s looking for paths. In parks. Which I interpret as code for no f-ing way am I mixing it up with this god-awful increasingly-aggressive motor vehicle traffic in the burbs. Folks reply with the obvious Big Creek Greenway, a place I ride often because it’s on the way to/from my mom’s (plus she and I go there together once a week — see my recent post Mom Update). However, it’s a boring ride. Back and forth. Back and forth. Very little art. No food. Connects to nothing. Plus the creek smells and often floods. But it’s pretty, and there are deer, and that has its place. But it’s not the only place.
So I start to write a little something. And then I just can’t stop. I’ll probably delete it on that Facebook thread as they haven’t even “approved” me there and my comment will say “pending” for days now.
But the info is good, and I thought I’d share it here instead. So, if you happen to be local to Metro Atlanta (or planning a visit):
You can meander for miles on both paved and dirt trails (flat!) by the river in Roswell in several areas (including the Riverwalk boardwalk that makes me feel like I’m having a beach staycation — go in the other direction and there are wooded trails) (plentiful parking at Riverside Park, a quick right at the light after you cross the river on Roswell Road). Here’s a way to get to one of my faves: a new multiuse path is almost done in Sandy Springs on Abernathy from the Dunwoody border ALL THE WAY to the Cobb County border (and you pass the most amazing linear park, including a playground made entirely with playable art sculptures!), which puts you at Columns Drive, where there is a wide bike lane on a road that quickly drops from a posted speed limit of 30 to 25 (you will feel this difference in your soul when it happens — it’s pretty extraordinary), which takes you 2.5 pleasant miles past mansions and duck breeding grounds to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Center.
Once at this gorgeous natural wonderland, there’s even bikeshare, provided by the Cumberland Community Improvement District, if you meet a friend who drives there who doesn’t have a bike ($5 to park). It’s a 3-mile loop on a (mostly) wide, firm, gravel path through a meadow, wetlands, riverside and forest. From the mid-way point (when you get to the river, turn right instead of looping back left), you can cross a little parking lot and connect under 285 to the very first mile of multiuse path along the Perimeter. Stop for coffee and snack at the Walton on the Chattahoochee: https://chattahoocheecoffee.com/#BikesMeanBusiness (note there are no bike racks, however, so lock up to a pole).
That path takes you to an entire world under and around the highways, waterfall, Galleria area (where Cobb County transit’s main station is and connects you via bus/bike to lots more places), even Truist Park! and beyond (note once you go under 285, things get very hilly — GREAT place for an ebike!). Honestly, it’s shocking. There is SO much good happening out there right now, not in 20 years!
Re: Big Creek Greenway, in addition to the greenway there, there are two super fun “Pump Tracks” next to the Alabama Road parking lot. You just use your arms to get your bike around a circle of mounds. This is fun for all ages — I’m 59; I do it. Re: that greenway, my preferred place to park is Rock Mill Park on Kimball Bridge Road (bathrooms, public piano, covered pavilions). From there, it’s a 4 mile ride in each direction to the current end (so 8 miles RT in each direction — soon to be connected to the stunning trails at shockingly-bike-friendly Halcyon and beyond.).
You can also get to a different entrance (on Northpoint Parkway) by bus 141 from the North Springs MARTA Station. It whips up 400 — you secure your bike on the front bike rack — see my video tutorial with MARTA bus driver Anthony: https://www.instagram.com/…/highlights/18145294978263179/. Here are a bunch of welcoming routes throughout Metro Atlanta, if interested. Note you can take your bike at any time on every MARTA bus, train and streetcar any time they are operating. SO from Dunwoody, you are literally 15 minutes away from a huge amount of safe bike infrastructure. See routes: https://travelingatthespeedofbike.com/routes/.
For a very special park not that far away, you don’t want to miss riding your bike at McDaniel’s Farm (number 12). It’s a preserved homestead filled with so many interesting things to explore. You can also take a bus from Dunwoody to the Chamblee station (I take the 132) and ride the rail trail. It goes directly to Whole Foods (where there’s a nice bike rack) as well as to Keswick Park, passing public-play instruments, ping pong table and more along the way . (You can then take Bus 19 from there to Downtown Decatur! See #7 at my link. Stop along the way at Mason Mill Park or Brookhaven’s Model Mile (#9) for more outstanding paths.
FYI, it’s only 6 miles via the PATH from Decatur to Clarkston (#8) in one direction or to the Atlanta BeltLine in the other direction. And you can take the MARTA train directly to intercity buses (which I’m doing in 36 days) and the airport. Which means you can go anywhere.
The bigger Why Why Why question? Why is my local city still fighting about this stuff? (See Happy Trails)
Update: The Dunwoody Community Forum Facebook moderator deleted my pending post. I had cross-posted it on NextDoor. I received notice this morning that 1.8k people in 48 hours had viewed it. You can see the comments here.