Saturday, October 12, 2013

Big Creek Greenway - Part I

As mentioned in my last post, I finally found a great place to ride in Roswell. It is at the Big Creek Greenway (BCG).

One of the trailheads to the Big Creek Greenway is located off Old Alabama Road. I made it a point to visit the BCG on Thursday and I had an opportunity to ride parts of the BCG.

The BCG runs from Roswell to Alpharetta to Forsyth County. I only explored parts of the trail in Roswell and Alpharetta during this ride. Below is a map of the BCG in Roswell & Alpharetta. For a complete map of the BCG, click here.
Thursday, when I went to the BCG, the first time, was a very beautiful Fall day, with the highs in the mid 70s, with clear blue skies.
I rode my Thorn Nomad MKII to BCG. As I wasn't sure of the amenities, I carried my lunch, some fruits and 40 extra ounces of water in my canteen.

I got to the trail without any major difficulty (except I had to walk parts of the route, due to traffic conditions). Once I got to the BCG though, I got acquainted to the trail map quickly and started riding. But a few minutes after I started riding, I heard a hissing noise coming from my front tire and by golly, I had a flat tire. Not just a little puncture in the tube, but a big gaping tear.
Normally, I carry at least two spare tubes for all my bikes in my kit. This means I have to carry two each of; 700x38 tubes (for Gikma, my Green Co-Motion Americano), 26x2.5 tubes (for my Thorn Nomad MKII), 16x1.5 tubes (for Brahma, my Brompton), 20x2.0 tubes (for Meera, my Raleigh Twenty). As my tool bag is the same for all my bikes, I don't mind carrying the extra tubes, irrespective of which bike I ride. But, for some reason, today was a day when I had only one spare 26" tube in my kit. I must have used the others some point in time. But, luckily I had at least one spare tube, for fixing this particular flat would have been a nightmare, if not impossible.

So, a little practice in field repair can't hurt, right?
Well, actually I had a little bit of trouble with inflating the tire with my Road Morph pump. I was out of touch and using that little pump was a pain in the neck. But, it worked and I was able to get about 35 or so PSI in my front tire.

I am not sure what caused the flat. I have had trouble with the tire pressure in the MKII before, especially if I put 65 PSI in it. You can read about this here and here. Before I left the house, I thought I inflated both tires to 60 PSI. I wonder if my eyes played tricks on me and I overinflated the tires. And, so, I wonder if the possible overinflation is what caused the tube to tear. The tubes were Schwalbes as were the tires; Marathon Extremes -  26x2.25; recommended tire pressure is 30-70 PSI.

I did not have any more spare tubes, so I went ahead and reduced the pressure in the rear tire to something below 50 PSI as well. And, soon, I was ready to hit the trail, albeit a bit concerned about getting another torn tube. So, I did not explore too much of the trail on this particular day. I think I only rode about 3-5 miles of the trail.
The BCG is well marked and it has sections which are reserved for pedestrians. However, there aren't any sections reserved only for cyclists.

The BCG is home to many different species of birds, reptiles and animals. My wife and I went for a walk, the day after this ride and we spotted what appeared to be a Black Rat Snake, near a pond (see next picture for the pond). During this particular ride, I saw one deer and a couple hawks at BCG.
There are some very beautiful bodies of water at the BCG. The Chattahoochee River runs through the BCG. While I had limited equipment to capture  the beauty of the pond pictured below, you may rest assured that this is a very picturesque pond. If I had my DSLR, I could have taken a better picture. There are several families of Mallards and Wood Ducks that live in this pond.
Soon, it was lunch time. Homemade Cuban Black Beans, Rice and Quinoa, Blister Peanuts and Oranges were it. 
After lunch, I did a bit more riding, exploring one branch of the trail that ended closer to Mansel Road. If I had turned left at the bridge, immediately after the arch in the picture below, I would have gone closer to the AMC Theater off Mansel. Instead, I chose to go straight and went to a branch of the trail which ended, kinda abruptly. There were at least facilities at this point. That was the good outcome! This is where I decided to turn around and head home. The arch, in the picture below, marks the Roswell-Alpharetta border.

Close-up of the bridge that would have taken me to the Mansell AMC. Perhaps, I could take Brahma there, someday and go see a movie. Wouldn't that be fun?

BCG is a very nice trail. It is well shaded and there are plenty of restrooms and water fountains. I particularly liked these features, especially given the lack of shade that I was used to in North Texas. Given the shade and the presence of water fountains, I think I might even be able to ride the BCG, even on a muggy, Atlanta summer day. We shall see about that next year.

On the way back, I stopped to say Hi to Shawn Brunner at Fresh Bike Service, which specializes in Mountain Bicycles. Also, while repairing the flat, I had accidentally lost one of the springs in the front skewer. Shawn was kind enough to let me have one for free. Thanks a lot Shawn. I am a strong believer in, 'No Act of Kindness is Ever Wasted'. I appreciate your kindness and wish you a lot of success in your business.

If you are in the Roswell area and you need your bike tuned-up, please stop by Fresh Bike Service, off Old Alabama Road in Roswell, GA. Below is Shawn's contact information.

By the way, Shawn et al., had some interesting shoppers :)

Next couple of pictures, are of some signage I found at the BCG and a Trailside Bike Repair Station. The signage is particularly interesting in that it emphasizes all types of self-propelled transportation on the BCG. I remember riding past the Bike Repair Station and getting a chuckle out of it, thinking what would I need this for, just before I had a flat :)
 Here is a picture of the Trail-side Bike Repair station.
Here is a close-up of the missing bicycle pump. The bracket that held the pump is still there, but the pump itself has gone MIA. I wonder what happened to it :)
In the next post, I will share with you more information and pictures of the BCG. I can guarantee you that what you have seen and read about, in this post, is just a little portion of this really nice trail.

Peace :)

PS. While the riding the BCG is quite the experience, getting to the BCG, off Old Alabama Road, by bicycle is not a very easy task, given the crazy Atlanta traffic. That's a topic for a future post; which will  likely be appropriately named, something like, 'No Green Way To Get To The Greenway In Roswell, GA'.

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