- WalkScore 69
- League of American Cyclists Community Rating: Bronze
Bike Map (pdf)
One of the quintessential American college towns, Athens is a city of 115,000 (35,000 of them students) located 70 miles east of Atlanta in the rolling foot hills in the middle third of Georgia, below the mountains to the north and the flat sandy plains of the south. The University of Georgia is the oldest public chartered university in the United States, dating back to 1785, and north campus is rich with history that cannot be bought or faked. As is typical of towns with a large liberal arts college, Athens has earned its reputation for having a vibrant arts scene. Athens has a robust restaurant scene, too many bars to count, and a pleasantly laid back atmosphere permeating everything. In Madison, Wisconsin, the common joke is that the person driving your taxi probably has a PhD. In Athens, the odds are very good that the person making your burrito is probably a phenomenally good musician... and if you ask him, he'll tell you when and where his next gig is.
- Walkscore 46
- Bikescore 50
- Transitscore 43
- League of American Cyclists Community Rating: not rated
Atlanta is the capital of the New South, and is currently in the midst of a fairly massive re-imagining of itself. For decades Atlanta was the poster child for Car Commuter Culture, with a donut of outlying suburbs supplying millions of single-occupancy cars into the machinery of Downtown every morning and back out again at 5, leaving most of the city’s inner neighborhoods in a state of half occupancy, and with more than their share of decay and neglect. Today young families are once again choosing to live inside the belt line in larger and larger numbers, with neighborhoods like Decatur and Old Fourth Ward shaking the dust of the 1970’s off and putting those old empty buildings to vibrant new uses. Bike lanes are sprouting up like kudzu, including some pretty dreamy cycle tracks and bike paths that are beginning to offer serious connectivity for people who want a better way to get around town than sitting in Atlanta’s infamous traffic. Atlanta has always had the climate and the culture, but they’re now beginning to make it accessible to everyone.
Generally Athens conforms to the slower cultural pace prevalent in smaller southern towns, with people getting from place to place in a mostly unhurried manner. The strong academic and international influence exerted by the university has created a very diverse and unique town that is a pleasure to explore, particularly the fringe areas of greater downtown that are not immediately abutting the university itself.
Commuter cycling culture in Athens is in its infancy, so it's unlikely that you'll run across many sticklers for hand signals and bells. As ever, signalling your intentions to others around you in traffic is just good common sense, but Athens is mostly full of students riding cheap beaters to class.
Georgia has the usual "Front white light / red rear reflector" and "mandatory helmets for everyone under 16 years old" laws. Georgia also has an amazing number of laws prohibiting any eccentric cycling, such as; carrying a passenger on the handlebars, any bike with the pedals more than 12" off the ground, and any bike with hand grips higher than the operator's shoulders, among others. Why they decided to find time to care, we cannot guess, but "tall bike" fans, take note: Not in Georgia, buster.
The crime rate in Athens isn't particularly high, though there is some trade in stolen student bikes. Expect opportunistic bike thieves used to preying on students who don't know better than to use cable locks, and as always, bring your bike inside at night.
The bike culture in Atlanta tends to be young, fresh, and vigorous. Bikes are gaining traction here, and cyclists are eager to meet up and share fellowship. It’s an exciting time to bike around Atlanta.
Atlanta is pretty relaxed, but hand signals and bells remain remarkably simple and effective ways to keep you out of collisions. Tell the people around you what you intend to do.
Front white light and at least a red reflector is required. Helmets required under the age of 16. Stay off the sidewalks, stay to the right as much as you can (it’s a law), don’t ride more than 2 people wide, and motor vehicles are required to give you at least 3 feet of space when they pass.
Normal “big city” rules apply… bring your bike inside at night if even remotely possible. If not, use at least one serious U-Lock or high-grade (preferrably German) cable lock. Secure the wheels to the frame, and don’t lock up to something that can be unbolted or lifted out of the ground, like many street signs.
Spinlister is like the Airbnb of bikes! Use promo code, BIKABOUT, for $10 off
Bulldog Bikes - FREE for UGA students, faculty and staff
Ben's Bikes - $20+ daily includes lock, helmet & map
Relay Bike Share - $8/hour for sturdy city bike with easily adjustable seat post, chain-less pedaling (no grease stain), lights and basket.
- DECATUR fiets - family cargo bike rental. Call for pricing.
- Bicycle Tours of Atlanta - $40/day for city bike, helmet, map and bike lock. Extra costs & services include drop off / pick up, lights, basket and tube kit
- Atlanta Beltline Bicycles - $20/day for hybrid bike
- Civil Bikes - $25/day for mountain or youth bike
- Decatur Bikes - $25/day for hybrids or $45/day for road bikes includes helmet & lock
- Skate Escape - $40+/day for single speed, tandem or mountain bike. Lock and helmet extra.
- Bicycle Tours of Atlanta - $59 for 3 hour tours: "Fall in Love with Atlanta", "Old South and New Beginnings", "Downtown to Midtown, Past to Present" and "The Sweet Twilight". Includes bike, helmet, water and snacks.
- Civil Bikes - $30+ for walking and themed bike tours
- Beltline Tours - FREE tour of the Beltline, Saturdays at 9am and Sundays at 3pm. Must register in provided link.
We curated this list of our favorite bike shops, coffee shops, restaurants, museums, scenic vistas, playgrounds, ice cream, microbreweries and more in Atlanta & Athens!
MARTA - "MARTA allows bicycles on trains at any time of the day or night", itsmarta.com. 100% of buses are outfitted with bicycle racks on the front and they are first come, first serve.
Crescent (New York - Atlanta - New Orleans) - folding bikes allowed. Full bikes must be boxed (boxes are $15) and pay $10 to check as luggage.
Greyhound - bicycles must be boxed or bagged and if they exceed 62" in length, a charge of $30-40 will be applied.
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