Sunday, April 28, 2013

Exploring Atlanta

Details of a 25 mile trip around various parts of Atlanta.
Peace :)

Around Perimeter and then onto bigger and better things in Atlanta

I started the day early yesterday - Saturday. Woke up around 7 AM, so I can prepare for today's ride. The first part of today's ride was around the Perimeter Center Area. After completing the first part, my buddy Jeff and I went on to 1) ride the Beltline Trail, 2) eat some great food on Irwin Street, 3) participate in the Inman Park Festival, in Inman Park,  and 4) ride around the gorgeous Piedmont Park.

Around The Perimeter - Know your bicycle lanes

Unlike last Saturday, when I went to meet Jeff at Lindbergh Marta Station, this time around, Jeff came to see me at the Dunwoody Marta Station, which is closer to my current digs. The Dunwoody Marta Station is roughly a mile or so away from my digs and I drove Brahma over there, using a new route that I figured out last week.
One great thing about the Dunwoody Marta station was that it not only had a nice bike rack, but there were also no smokers hanging around the entrance to the station. I have seen this plenty of times at the TRE stations in Dallas. I have even seen the TRE operators smoking on the platform. Glad it ain't the case here, at least as far as I know.
At the Dunwoody Marta Station, you can also catch Marta buses, which can take you to different parts of the city. I haven't rode a Marta bus yet, but I figure I will check them out one of these days as well. Why limit myself to a train only?
From the Dunwoody Marta station, you can also see the famous, "King and Queen" buildings in the distance. Please zoom in on the picture below to see why they are given the name that they have been given or click here to see pictures of these buildings from an official source.
The train Jeff rode arrived on time and there he was, the man himself! Right on time and all prepared and ready to ride. During one of my walks last week, I figured out a short, yet very picturesque route around here. I was so happy Jeff agreed to check out this route with me.
For those of you, who may not have read my last post, Jeff rides a very cool Tern folder. You can see it all nicely folded, in the picture below. Jeff's Tern is a Link T8.
Below is a link to a video of our scenic route around the Perimeter area.

Beltline Trail - a great resource that promotes active lifestyle

After we checked out the Perimeter Scenic Route, we headed over to the infamous Beltline Trail. As we got out off at the Civic Center Station, instead of the Midtown Station, where should have gotten off. We were busy talking technology and somehow missed our stop. Oh well :)

We rode down Peachtree and eventually got to the Beltline Trail, which in spite of all that was going on, was not crowded, if you ask me.
Lots of interesting artwork along the trail. You will see some on the left in the picture below.
Bicycle Wheel artwork on the right. Also, you can see newly planted native plants. Plans have also been made to grow native grasses along the trail; native grasses, I am told, are easy on water consumption. In a city where watering costs are quite high, this can be a boon.
And, a bicycle in the artwork on the right, in this picture below.
Apparently, this huge building was a Sears & Roebuck building, back in the day. I believe there are plans to repurpose this great building. Good for you, Atlanta!
Another cool establishment along the Beltline Trail. You can see the reference to Ponce de Leon.
On the trail, we were lucky enough to have Piper Darshan (दर्शन). Piper is no ordinary cat. He is World Famous and has his own Facebook and Twitter pages.
In addition to keeping a busy online presence, Piper also gets mail delivered to him at his Beltline residence. Many of his admirers bring him offerings - such as food, water, treats, etc. If you look closely at the picture below, you can see Piper's mailbox.
Piper reminded me of our own Black Kitty, who is also World Famous, in his own world. But, Black Kitty is more down-to-earth and is not a Facebook or Twitter user. Although computers have mice attached to them, he prefers going after the mice found in the wild.
View of Ponce de Leon Avenue from the Beltline Trail. Gorgeous view! I love tree-lined streets.

Along the Beltline Trail, there are many condos and apartment buildings. Some of these were exceptionally nice. I haven't showed an example of all the ones I really liked, but here is one such a building.
Jeff directing me to back-off just a tad! :)
Here is another beautiful apartment/condo building along the Beltline. If you zoom in, check out the gorgeous spiral staircase.
Among the many attractions along the Beltline was this really nice skate park.
Lots of young skateboarders where gathered here. It is alleged that the famous Tony Hawk himself came here, one day, unannounced and was skating here. Suddenly, one of hte kids realized that it was Tony and he/she started videoing Tony using his/her phone. Then a big crowd formed, so on and so forth, goes the story.
Another dare-devil skater!
And, a BMX-er. This young man was very skilled at BMX-ing. It was a treat to watch him.
There was a lot of artwork along the Beltline Trail. Particularly nice were the graffiti.
Jeff photographing the artwork.

Close to one end of the Beltline Trail, is the Beltline Bike Shop. This was a very nice shop with lots of vintage bikes. Below is a sampling of what was at this shop.

Peugeot Mixte

Peugeot folder. I have seen ones like this before; particularly, in Paris.
A really beautiful Raleigh from the 1970s. I would have loved to ride this bike. But, another time may be?
Beltline Bicycle Shop also had some paintings and other vintage articles for sale. The owner of this real nice shop is Benjamin, who would love to tell you about French bicycles. Benjamin, I believe, originally hails from France.
A beautiful Japanese bicycle with grip-shifters. Perhaps, one of the earliest bikes with a grip-shifter?
A close-up of the grip-shifter.

On the same bike, textured bolts on the brake assembly.
Every great bicycle shop should have a dog. Didn't I say that Beltline Bicycle Shop was quite the place? Another very calm dog. Had the pleasure of meeting two very calm and nice dogs in two weeks. Awesome!
A 1932 Schwinn New World bicycle with an awesome head-badge. How cool is this?
This 1932 Schwinn had the original License Tags from Waterford Township, Michigan.
The same bike. which had the License Tags above, also had another form of identification on it. This one had a Motown association.
Another beauty at the Beltline Bicycle Shop. With not just the pump pegs, but the actual pump itself. Neato!

Chow Time - Erwin Street Market - A Must See Place

Next up, it was chow time. So, rode down the Beltline Trail to Irwin Street Market in Inman Park. We got our lunch from Bell Street Burritos. In the same strip mall as Bell Street Burritos, there were some other eateries as well.
Inman Park is quite groovy. You can see some cool graffiti on the walls across the street from where we were seated while waiting for our burritos.
Entrance to Bell Street Burritos - part of the Irvin Street Market.
The food at Bell Street Burritos was exceptional, in my opinion. Excellent recommendation, Jeff! I had a Broccoli Burrito that was to die for. Such a delicious treat.
If you wanted something other than a burrito, you could go to Hilda's.
Or get some delicious pastries...or a nice cup of java...
Talk about some macaroons. Boy these were not only good lookin', but they were also great tastin'. Yes, guilty as charged. I took home a couple for a late night snack.
Incredible Apple Pies. If you are ever in this neck of the woods, make sure to try some.

Inman Park Festival - A Festival of Arts, Crafts and lots of food

After lunch, Jeff and I headed over to the Inman Park Festival. Atlanta Bicycle Coalition (ABC) provided free Bicycle Valet service. Thanks, ABC.

So, we simply parked our folders and went around on foot.

Inman Park Festival had a whole bunch of arts and crafts booths; and lots of food and beer. There were all sorts of booths containing woven articles and paintings, to hats and other nick-nacks. Of particular interest to me were the hats. There were at least 3-5 hat sellers at the festival.
There were some remarkable buildings around the Inman Park area. I tried to take a photo of the Trolley Barn; yes, that green structure behind all the inquisitive and smiling faces. I had some luck, I suppose. You can read about the rich history of Inman Park, on Wikipedia. Here is a link to the same.
United Methodist Church in Inman Park. I was reminded of some churches I saw in France. Hence, the B&W picture. I think it looks great. Don't ya?
There are some incredibly beautiful older homes around the Inman Park neighborhood. This particular one, which you can only see parts of; because the focus was on the Coastal Redwood Trees in the front yard, is one such a home. One of many!
Here is a plaque which tells more about these majesties.

Piedmont Park - Or should I call it The Central Park of Atlanta?

After we got our fill of the Inman Park Festival, Jeff and I rode to Piedmont Park. This is one of the most beautiful parks that I have had the pleasure of visiting, of late.
Piedmont Park has a sprawling campus with many amenities for the public, including a swimming pool, multi-purpose paths for walking, bicycling, rollerblading, a phenomenal dog park, and many other very nice features.
There is no way I can do justice to this very beautiful park, through the pictures I have posted here. I will try and post more pictures in the future, but no matter how hard I try, I can not convey all the beauty of this park, through just a blog post.

Below you can see a picture of a Tool Shed in Piedmont Park. This is how good the Tool Shed looks. You can imagine how great the rest of the park must look like.
Tree Farm in Piedmont Park. They have done a great job of growing and planting lots of native trees in this park.
Although, you may not see any dogs in the photo below, the photo serves the distinct purpose; one of conveying how big the dog park at the Piedmont Park is. It is humongous. And, yes there were a bunch of dogs, all over the dog park. I just didn't take any close-up snaps of any of them.
Jeff leads the way around the park, while I follow closely.
Another view of the huge dog park.

Yet another view of the dog park. Can you tell I was very impressed by Piedmont Park yet?
Verdant says it all.
Very green - all over the placee.
So green and beautiful, even Mr. McGruff is smiling.
A huge pond in Piedmont Park. In the distance you can see the tip of the Bank of America building.
A gazebo in the pond. Lots of ducks and geese in the pond. You can see one of them at the bottom of this picture.
And, last but not the least, Piedmont Park even has a Volleyball Court. I was so glad I got to see this park.
There is more to see in Piedmont Park. I will check it out again, in one of my future trips.

Jeff had a pamphlet in his shirt pocket, which for some reason looked like a name tag to me. I kept looking at it, over and over again, and finally upon close examination, realized that it was just a pamphlet. Why would Jeff wear a name tag to go cycling anyway? Just something funny/crazy...

Final Analysis

It was a great day out. Thanks to my buddy Jeff, I got to see a lot of cool things. It is really nice when people go out of their way to acclimate someone, to their new city, ain't it? :)

Paz :)