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Old 12-06-06, 11:49 AM   #1
LittleBigMan
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Atlanta: worst or best for cycling?

Despite all the talk about Atlanta being bad for bicycling due to traffic, road design, and lack of bicycle facilities, it occurs to me that the weather here is almost perfect for cycling. Lots of sunny days. Mild winters. Rarely ever any ice. Does Atlanta have an unnecessary stigma attached to it?

Even if Atlanta was considered bad for bicycling, couldn't it be a great candidate for a cycling mecca? If not, why not? If so, why?
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Old 12-06-06, 12:21 PM   #2
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All you give is one advantage, simply that it does not get too cold. The flip side is that it does get too hot. Add in that the entire Southeast gets pretty humid and it does not look like a cycling mecca at all.
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Old 12-06-06, 12:25 PM   #3
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There is no such thing as being too hot to ride. Too cold yes. The heat don't bother me when it comes to riding as long as I have plenty of proper fluids to drink. But I can't stand riding in the cold. By cold I mean anything less then 45 degrees F.
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Old 12-06-06, 01:00 PM   #4
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Heck, the whole south has an unnecessary stigma attached to it which ticks me off. Ive never rode there on a bike but I drive through there alot. It could be nice for biking if they had more and or better bike lanes. You could however ride in the emergency lane (far right shoulder) of most of the major interstates, IF thats even legal, I dont know, but its absolutly big enough for a bike or two. Ive always wanted to start on 515 in Blue Ridge (home) and ride atleast to where 575 meets I75 South. It could be done in a day and it looks like real fun.
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Old 12-06-06, 01:54 PM   #5
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For people who aren't into cycling, anything can be looked at as an impediment when in reality, it's either a good or indifferent thing in terms of benefitting cycling. Narrow roads seem high on many people's list of what makes an area cycling-unfriendly yet many cyclists like myself prefer those types of roads. I've yet to see a city-environment that did not look like a good place to ride a bike. Most are very flat with many destinations within a short distance and relatively slow speeds. What more could you want (well, besides 50F and partly sunny every day, though maybe I'm the only one who likes that weather)?
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Old 12-06-06, 02:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
Does Atlanta have an unnecessary stigma attached to it?
I think that stigma flows from Atlanta's reputation of the most automobile-centric cities in the country, a "giant hairball of a thirteen-county demolition derby," as Kunstler called it. As a two-time former Atlanta resident, I often wonder if I would have taken up utility cylcing and commuting, had I stayed there.

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Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
Even if Atlanta was considered bad for bicycling, couldn't it be a great candidate for a cycling mecca? If not, why not? If so, why?
Well, some folks seem to be working on it. I saw a lot of these during a weekend visit last month:

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Old 12-06-06, 02:08 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by N_C
There is no such thing as being too hot to ride. Too cold yes. The heat don't bother me when it comes to riding as long as I have plenty of proper fluids to drink. But I can't stand riding in the cold. By cold I mean anything less then 45 degrees F.
Try Death Valley in the summer.
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Old 12-06-06, 02:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith99
All you give is one advantage, simply that it does not get too cold. The flip side is that it does get too hot. Add in that the entire Southeast gets pretty humid and it does not look like a cycling mecca at all.
Average temperatures for August 1 by city:

Atlanta, GA 89
Denver, CO 88
Boulder, CO 87
Chicago, IL 84
Minneapolis, MN 83
Davis, CA 93
Phoenix, AZ 104
Orlando, FL 92
Miami, FL 87
New York 85
Washington, DC 89
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Old 12-06-06, 02:15 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by joejack951
I've yet to see a city-environment that did not look like a good place to ride a bike.
You really need to get out more.
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Old 12-06-06, 02:16 PM   #10
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Ok, here's my take on Atlanta as a cycling mecca. First if you're a hard core roady you won't mind the fact that Atlanta's pretty hilly, but if you've got a bike loaded with groceries those hills start to become a real pain. Then there's the heat. I know some people say it's never too hot to ride, but when you combine our heat with our humidity it gets really uncomfortable really fast. I don't use a camelback so my water bottles empty pretty quickly in the summer. Speaking of summer it usually arrives in early May and lasts until late September. Then there's the traffic. The number one problem with Atlanta traffic is speed. Too many people driving way too fast. It's not unusual to see someone doing 50-60 or even more on a 35mph road. Did I mention the drivers seem none to fond of cyclists? Atlanta's air quality get's really bad starting in late spring to late fall which can really wear you down while riding. Roads tend to be narrow with no bike lanes or shoulders which is why I almost always take the lane.

All that being said, there's not a lot better in life than bicycling through midtown in the spring when the dogwoods bloom. Winter is pretty easy here compared to our northern neighbors but a 1/4 inch of snow can paralyze the town. MARTA and CCT are very bike friendly and because so few people bike here there's always room on the bike racks.

37 years in Atlanta and I've seen it transformed from a sleepy southern capitol into a sprawling suburban behemoth.
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Old 12-06-06, 02:34 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Keith99
You really need to get out more.
Enlighten me about some cities that are not good places to a ride a bike and why.
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Old 12-06-06, 02:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikebuddha
37 years in Atlanta and I've seen it transformed from a sleepy southern capitol into a sprawling suburban behemoth.
I've lived/driven in the Atlanta area about 32 years. I know exactly what you're talking about.

The thing is, Atlanta is surrounded by lots of little towns. Each has it's own character. I live in Stone Mountain, but commute to Atlanta through Avondale Estates, Decatur and the Candler Park/Inman Park neighborhoods. The trip is very beautiful, but I'd have to say that the outermost portion between Stone Mountain and Avondale Estates is not for the inexperienced. But once you hit Avondale, the ride is very pleasant indeed.

I've rarely had any honkers. One I had was a MARTA courier in a sedan, who was quickly reprimanded when I reported him/her. After that, the driver passed me very slowly and quietly.

One thing I've noticed is Atlanta's desire to be known as a nice place to live (what city doesn't want that?) which is seen in an increased awareness of cycling as transportation. The city wants to attract people and business, and being "bicycle friendly" is one thing on the list of attractions it wants to be known for. Mayor Franklin took part in a ride from Roswell to downtown Atlanta last summer. The politicians want to be seen in a positive light.
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Old 12-06-06, 11:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith99
Try Death Valley in the summer.
I plan to some day. Looking forward to it.
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