Sunday, April 21, 2013

2013 Great Atlanta Bicycle Expedition

Early yesterday morning, I took part in the 2013 Great Atlanta Bicycle Expedition, conducted by the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition (ABC), in Atlanta, Georgia. The ride started at 9 AM, but my buddy Jeff and I headed over there catching the Southbound 0705 train. I caught the train at Dunwoody and Jeff joined me at the Lindbergh station.

To get to the Dunwoody Marta station, from my current digs, there are a few alternatives, all of which are much better than riding down the ever busy, Ashford Dunwoody. My temporary digs is closer to Ashford Dunwoody, but I wouldn't want to ride it, even if someone paid me to do it. Ashford Dunwoody is very busy. I mean lots of cars, moving at 40-45 MPH. Constant chaos, if you ask me!

I am no stranger to cars, but it takes the fun out of riding the bicycle, if you have to deal with such intensity and density; if you know what I mean. Below is how Ashford Dunwoody looks during non-peak hours.

However, on Saturday morning, given I left around 0645 to catch the train, Ashford Dunwoody was quite empty and simply drove Brahma down Ashford Dunwoody, to get to the Dunwoody Marta Station.
We got off at the Five Points station and rode a short distance to get to the starting point - Elliott Street. ABC provided a great breakfast - coffee, donuts, bananas, pastries, granola bars, croissants, pastries, etc. I tried to behave. There might have been electrolyte drinks and water in those big orange coolers. I can't remember.
A quick view of some of the bikes that participated in the ride. Nicely organized parking area for all the bikes.
The ride started and ended at the Elliott Street Pub - a cool pub, which I will show you more of, later in this post.

A close-up of Brahma and his new friends; a couple of Terns. One of the Terns belongs to my buddy Jeff. Terns look like they are very nice bikes. I have never ridden one myself, but Jeff says it is a nice ride. I believe him!

By the way, it was 39 degrees, earlier in the morning. So, I was happy I had on my convertible pants and a windbreaker.
ABC did a very nice job of printing the route map and cue sheets. They were printed on thicker paper and hole-punched. All we had to do was to hang it on our respective handlebars, using the zip-ties that ABC provided. If you look closely at Brahma's cockpit or the Tern's cockpit, you can see the map attached to the handlebar.
Behold - the awesome crow/raven on the rack! Belongs to Jeff. More on this in a future post.
Nice Carradice bag on Jeff's Brooks B-17. Real nice! I love Carradice bags. I have one myself.
The nice folks at the Fire Station on Elliott street were kind enough to let us use their facilities. This was a very clean Fire Station. I have been inside a few Fire Stations. They are all, usually, very clean.
Nothing like a group of friendly cyclists, sharing stories, learning from each other. Camaraderie rocks!
We rode through the Georgia Tech campus. Here is one picture of the campus.
Jeff rocking out on his Tern. It was his "tern" to lead, anyways :)
Georgia Tech Campus - Photo 2. Note the Polzei :)
Many parts of the route that we rode had bike lanes. While I am not used to bike lanes, in some sense, I got used to riding in them in a heartbeat, during this ride. As one would, in any walk of life, one must also use sound judgement and caution, while riding in bike lanes.
A nice nursery in the middle of urban setting.
Comfortably wide bike lane.
No bike lane here. We simply took the right lane. No biggie for a confident cyclist, eh?
We stopped at the High Museum of Art, for a few minutes, as I got cramps in my thighs. Chris, if you are reading this, remember our Mineral Wells Tour and my cramps? I think this time, it was not the dehydration that caused the cramps. But, rather the lack of practice riding hills. There is no shortage of hills in Atlanta. If I ride regularly, I am gonna lose some of the extra weight, which I have added on, by dining out more frequently.
Gramp/Cramp stop # 2 - Woodruff Arts Center.
View of Beltline Trail from the street. While I did not get to ride it, based on what I have heard thus far, Beltline Trail is a very nice trail. There is more information about the Beltline Trail here.
Zoom in on the "Coming Soon" part to see the goodies that would be available at this joint. I would love to go here, when they open.
Headed towards the only tunnel along the route. Some cool graffiti on the walls, as you can see!
Getting closer to the tunnel; with Jeff in the lead.
Our first official rest stop. This building, which will be the future HQ of the ABC, is in the process of renovation. So, we used a bike headlight in the restroom.
My buddy Beth's really nice Diamond Back hard tail. Nice bike from the late 80s to early 90s, if I am not mistaken.
This photo was taken in Cabbage Town, which is alleged to have been a "rough" neighborhood, back in the day. These days, I believe, it is as cool as many other parts of Atlanta.
Super cool, VW van. Just missing the flowers and the Peace Sign. May be I should make that my next project: Get myself a VW van and paint it with some cool flowers and a ton of Peace signs!
I can't remember why I took this photo. However, given I always have a good reason for taking a photo, I am going to leave this one in :)
 The infamous MLK Drive. Pretty little church in the background!
The rates at the Star Hotel were so low, some guests came all the way from LA and FL, to stay here. You can see one such a guest, relaxing outside the hotel :)
On our home stretch, we saw the majestic Georgia State Capitol building in the distance. Something to check out, in more detail, once I get rejoin my DSLR.
We stopped to admire the current digs of the ABC. ABC will move to its new HQ, soon as the renovation is complete.
No post is complete, in my opinion, without a lovely animal in it. We met this young man (a Rat Terrier and Chihuahua mix), belonging to Snyder Cycles. This young man was uber-calm. I was very impressed.

Our last stop was the Elliott Street Pub. A group of us ate lunch at the pub. I had a highly addictive club soda and a mucho delicious Tomato, Mozzarella - Caprese Sandwich.

Some cool wall decoration at the Elliott Street Pub.

Our little group of cycling buddies. A diverse group, but everyone in this group, in some fashion, either used a lot of Statistical Methods in their job, or was interested in learning about Applied Statistics. Go figure :)

In summary, it was an awesome ride. I got to see a lot of nice places in Atlanta, including Castleberry Hill, the CBD, Georgia Tech, Howell Mill, Peachtree Battle, Buckhead, Midtown, Piedmont Park, Virginia Highland, Ponce, Inman Park, Cabbage Town, Grant Park, MLK Drive, etc. I could not have listed all these names with Jeff's help. So, thanks Jeff.

Thanks, ABC for this lovely event.

I will leave y'all, for now, with this song.

Paz :)

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