Yes, it can be done- an entire weekend in Atlanta by Bicycle! The boys and I lined up our weekend activities and decided that we were going to do them all by bicycle- all over the city. We pulled up google maps and determined that it was about 5 miles to Piedmont Park where we would hit the pool; this despite my long-running and completely justified phobia of public swimming pools. Afterword we would head over to the Atlanta Streets Alive event in Sweet Auburn; all by bike. Sunday would be our usual Kirkwood Sunday Ride- a loop around intown Atlanta.
We set out to the Piedmont Pool around 11:30 and by the time we rolled through the gates at around noon, the heat even had me considering a dip in the public waters. My phobia of public pools is born mostly from my being accustomed to swimming in the vast, uncrowded and COLD waters of Lake Ontario growing up. The St. Lawrence River and the Thousand Islands remain my vision of ideal aquatics to this day. I would actually feel refreshed and cooled after a dip- not just wet and covered in a film of chlorine and sunscreen. My phobia grew after moving to Atlanta and after being goaded and guilted into the Candler Park Pool by my ex. No sooner had I tentatively ventured in than a kid next to me aspirated some water while being dunked then proceeded to vomit a viscous neon orange jet of vomit into the pool. It was Cheetos. I had watched him scarf down an entire bag before cannon-balling his siblings moments before. Now it floated in a glowing orange slick as people lept from the pool. It took me two years to venture in again.
We arrived at the Piedmont pool to find a friendly foreign student worker who informed us that the pool was closed due to “contamination”. Even through her hard-to-place accent (South Africa?) I could read what she was telling me: some kid had dropped a deuce in the pristine and over-chlorinated waters of the Piedmont Park Conservancy’s newly renovated and immaculately kept aquatic gem. Scenes of Bill Murray in Caddy Shack donned in a hazmat suit and ceremoniously coaxing a presumed turd into his skimmer at the bottom of a hastily drained clubhouse pool immediately popped to mind. No Baby Ruth in this pool. I also learned from some nearby moms that this was a not infrequent occurrence. A phobia is defined as “An extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something”. I am thinking that my phobia may not be so extreme or irrational…
So we left Atlanta”s version of Bill Murray hunt down his Baby Ruth and headed over to the new Piedmont Park extension that I first learned about during my volunteer as a ride leader for the Atlanta Beltline Bike Tour. I recalled from the tour that there was a water feature similar to the fountains at Centenial Olympic Park. The boys had a blast running and jumping through the fountain for a couple of hours and I enjoyed some time in the sun (too much it turned out) and we headed over to Sweet Auburn on our bikes.
Atlanta Streets Alive
We rolled down Jackson street and came into Atlanta Streets alive just below its Western end at Boulevard. The boys thought we were sneaking into Area 51 as we passed the police and barricades while an SUV (from Cobb) did a halting and angry u-turn at the street closure- I liked it already. I have to admit that I was expecting a little more action, but then we got into it- the streets were ours! No buses, no SUV’s from cobb or anywhere else- there was no immediate vehicular danger to our lives while astride our bikes in the middle of Edgewood Avenue- a normally bustling corridor connecting the heart of downtown Atlanta and the Little Five Points neighborhood. There were a few skateboarders, a lady desperately trying to set up up some sort of bike challenge course, LOTS of Atlanta Bicycle Coalition volunteers (thanks Katherine!) and then it hit me- the streets were not closed, but they were open. Anything was possible on the paved canvas- not just not getting hit by a car!
Soon we careened toward downtown just to check it all out. We took wide arcing swaths out of the street- no on comming
traffic. We waved at shop owners and a hipster selling used books off a blanket. We filled our waterbottels with ice-cold water from one of the stations and noted how quiet it all was. The boys took turns astride the painted bull in front of a Georgia State University campus building. I chatted with Chris, the owner of Loose Nuts Cycles about themerit of bamboo bicycle construction and the merit of me winning the Linus Bicycle they are giving away next month (it will be mine). We turned around and headed again from whence we came- stopping in at the Sweet Auburn Market for some unsalted but freshly roasted peanuts which the boys and I ate curbside .
All in all it was a fun event and I am glad we came. If I had any input (which I soon might) I would suggest trying to connect the street opening the full length of Edgewood Avenue- buying into the vibrant and creative energy that is Little Five Points to the west would spill the entire length of the route to downtown. Think L5P halloween parade on bikes…I like it. A longer and freakier route!
Kirkwood Sunday Ride: Kickin’ It Intown
First I just have to say that I am secretly proud of how much our little Sunday Ride has grown! It started out last year as a solid group of 4-5 Team In Training riders for a nice Sunday recovery ride after harder training for the Tahoe Century. There are now over 120 members in the Kirkwood Sunday Ride Group on Facebook (join if you like!) and we are now regularly having 15-20 riders show up to ride their bikes every Sunday.
I have to admit that today’s ride had me feeling a little frustrated- mostly with myself. We split the ride into two groups (A & B) earlier this year to keep everyone riding at their own comfort level. This works out well when we are going to Stone Mountain and nearly everyone knows the way- but if we do something different like we did today I am realizing the importance of ride leaders or cue sheets. We had neither today so everyone went in one group which was fun- but agonizingly slow. We had three flats and a crash- and lots of waiting for the group to coalesce at stop lights. As a result we had to cut the ride short (15 miles after 3 hours) and we had riders peeling off to head back.
I don’t think that anyone wants to ride out to Stone Mountain EVERY weekend, but if we are going to vary the route it is going to take some (gasp) improved planning and coordination to come off smoothly. This probably means that we will have to have some folks volunteer to lead each ability group if we are not doing Stone Mountain, and may have to develop cue sheets so riders can catch up if lost or due to a mechanical. My frustration hit mid-ride when it became apparent we were going to have to cut it short- so my apologies to everyone if I was a bit of a grumpy bear. My appollogies too to Bridgette for causing her to wreck her new bike into me- I hope that your toe is okay!
An extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something:
Read Full Post »