Saturday morning O and I had an amazing bike ride: 14.3 miles in 72 degree "heat" under a bright blue sky. Starting at our house in Grant Park we headed North towards Piedmont Park. Crossing over Edgewood Avenue, I was excited to catch construction workers laying some of the very first tracks for the city's new electric streetcar. It felt like I stumbled into a special moment in history. I snapped a few photos and imagined them being printed in an Atlanta history book 100 years from now.
Entering Piedmont Park we encountered a film crew shooting something. (What to expect when you're expecting was filmed here and Anchorman is currently in the city filming the sequel). We continued to wind our way North through the park and Atlanta's St. Patty's Day 5K. At the North end of the park we tried to jump on the Beltline's Eastside Trail but the path was loose gravel and too hard to bike on so we turned back and re-entered on Monroe across from Park Tavern.
Sidenote: This section of the Beltline continues to blow my mind. It feels like the game changer Atlanta has desperately needed since we landed the Olympic Games in 1990. The idea that the Beltline and the Streetcar are finally becoming realities thrills me the way Santa thrills a 6 year old. I feel giddy at the prospect of my hometown finally living up to it's potential. (More details about both of those projects at the bottom of this post).
The path was packed with bikers, runners and rollerbladers. With the aid of my little bicycle bell we were able to keep up a quick pace and weave around the crowds. When the trail hits Inman Park the pavement ends so we jumped off and headed South through the always fun Krog Tunnel. Krog to Cabbagetown to Memorial Drive, south on Bill Kennedy to Glenwood. Glenwood east to East Atlanta Village then further east to a friend's house where we had plans to pick up a dozen fresh eggs. Eggs in the pannier, back to EAV and stop at Midway for a much deserved beer! Then West on Glenwood to get home again.
I started biking with O four years ago this spring. We joined the gym three years ago in February. Last year I got the new bike. This ride felt like four years in the making. And by that I believe I'm mostly reacting to the comment my best friend from high school left on my Facebook page after I posted our route. She said "Bet that hurts!". But I can honestly say it did not hurt. In fact, it was almost easy. My butt burned a tad towards the end but a day later I'm not even sore.
Three years into making our health our day to day priority it no longer feels like work. We instinctively eat real food and are not tempted by fake, processed foods. We exercise because enjoy it. Being healthy comes naturally now. And that makes me really happy.
More about the Streetcar
The streetcar will loop through one of the nation's most important - yet almost completely ignored - historic areas: Sweet Auburn. After the Civil War and before Civil Rights, during the height of segregation in the South, Auburn Avenue was the heartbeat of Atlanta for black Atlantans. It had more financial institutions, professionals, educators, entertainers, businesses and politicians than any other African American street in the south. But since the 1970s this historic and beautiful part of the city has become mostly abandoned. The only visitors are those coming to pay homage to MLK's tomb and history center. My dream is that the streetcar will revitalize this important part of our nation's history. (http://sweetauburn.us/intro.htm)
Street car info:
• Route: 2.6 track miles with 12 stops.
• Vehicle: a modern electric streetcar made by Siemens with an overhead power system (single trolley wire) that operates on-street in lanes shared with other traffic
• Frequency: planned service anticipates a 15 minute frequency (average) and 10 minute one-way running time
• Hours: service will operate 7 days a week; 5:00 am to 11:00 pm weekdays, 8:30 am to 11:00 pm Saturdays, and 9:00 am to 10:30 pm Sundays*
• Fares: will be consistent with MARTA fares and will use the Breeze smart-card technology
• The first planned expansions are anticipated to extend from the Downtown Loop to the Atlanta BeltLine.
• Download a PDF with great details click here
More about the Beltline
At it's core, the Beltline is a rails to trails project that encircles Downtown, Midtown and 45 intown neighborhoods. I think of it as an ITP 285 for bikes. There are plans to incorporate a light rail along the path - but I think that is solidly two decades away. The official website does a better job hyping it up then I can. So check it out here: CLICK!