Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Atlanta Beltline

This past Sunday, my fitness finally felt like it was coming back enough to try something moderately ambitious. The moderately ambitious thing that my mind settled on was the Beltline from my house. So, a little after noon, I jumped on the mountain bike and headed off down Bankhead toward the ATL.

It's not technically correct to call it Bankhead, I guess. These days it's Hollowell, but I always think of it as Bankhead, so there you go.

COVID-19 was just really starting to get cranked up, but it didn't look like anyone was doing much to stave off the spread along Bankhead. Non-essential businesses? Open. Don't gather? Nope. 6-feet apart? Hell no. Hoes? Pfft... all dem hoes was out. It made me wonder how effective the word gets out to lower income residents. I get most of my news on the internet. What if you don't have internet, or a TV, or a radio? I guess you'd get the info from word-of-mouth, but what's the chance a small business owner that needs to keep his money coming in is going to spread the word that you shouldn't be out and about, coming into his store?

I picked up the Beltine off Lena street and spun my way around, counterclockwise.

The message on this bridge meant a lot more today than the last time I saw it.

For now, the Beltline is still open, as are the various shops along it, but there's no indoor dining. I'm not sure if patio dining is available. Maybe just take-out.

There were also lots of signs like this:

Not all were that exact sign, but basically that message.

I actually felt really good riding. I was able to crush the pedals all day - at least tempo climb everything, and sometimes hit it pretty hard.

Near where the west and south sides come together, there was new construction going on - paving a gravel section. Fences were up, big construction equipment was everywhere. It was clear that I needed to go around. I tried going around the outside, but just kept hitting dead-ends. Turns out it was trivial on the inside, but I spent a good 20 minutes going around in circles before I figured that out.

When I got north of Piedmont Park, I couldn't really remember how to get over to the north-west chunk, so I kind of winged it from there and ended up taking a route back home that I used to take when I'd regularly ride from the house to and from the 17th and Peachtree Street area. Looking at my GPS track later, it was definitely the scenic route home. There were much more direct routes, but I didn't know them, and hey, a few extra miles are generally good for you, especially if those miles aren't on Bankhead.

Oh yeah, it was raining too. It started raining somewhere near the park and didn't let up until I was a few blocks from home. Cold rain too. Like, you-better-keep-riding-hard-to-stay-warm rain. It's that time of year - low 70's one day, high 80's the next, mid 60's the next... Sure keeps me on my toes.

I dug that ride so much that I decided to get back out there the following Tuesday (it rained all day Monday). I'd seen some side trails and dirt on the Westside and there's no good reason to let that go unexplored.

Turns out most of it was short and just led over to some street for Beltline access, but two sections were good and long.

One just led behind some buildings, with threatening signage:

Also, it sucked because it had rained a ton the day before, and there was a lot of standing water. It was hard packed under the water, but still... water. Had to creep through it.

The other section was more glorious.

It was weird though, it ended in the backyard of an abandoned house - the ONLY abandoned house on the whole street, as far as I could tell. Maybe the plan, someday, is to run the actual trail through there. A side trail led down to the back of some odd, fenced-off building in the middle of a neighborhood, and to the steepest paved road I've seen in the Atlanta Metro area. Had to be at least 25% grade.

On Tuesday, I saw a LOT fewer people just hanging out on the corner. It seems like they got the message, if a day or two late. All dem hoes was still out though.

All dem.

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