- 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.
Biking in Athens 101
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.
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Bulldog Bikes - FREE for UGA students, faculty and staff
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