If statistics from the American Communities Survey are to be believed (and who are we to argue?), the percentage of Atlantans commuting by bike rose 400 percent during the first decade of the 21st century. That, ladies and gentlemen, was the fastest rate of such growth in the country. Not bad for a city lustily married to automobiles. If you've been on the Beltline's Eastside Trail lately, the sheer multitude of people zipping by on bikes is solid evidence that more Atlantans are catching on to the trend. But there's plenty of less crowded spots around the metro for two-wheeled enjoyment. We'd say these biking destinations are well worth the sore legs ...
-Arabia Mountain/South River Trail:
This 20-mile path stretches along Dekalb and Rockdale County, beginning (or ending) at the Mall at Stonecrest and stretching past Panola State Park. The most impressive scenery? Giant stretches of exposed granite — Stone Mountain pancakes, if you will — that dot 7000 acres of peaceful greenery.
-Stone Mountain Trail:
The sheer contrast in landscape between the two ends of this 19 mile trail makes for quite a trip. You can ride from downtown Atlanta to the base of that giant rock with only 4 miles of the route on-street. Destinations along the way include the Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic Site, Downtown Decatur, and Stone Mountain Village.
- Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area:
Atlanta may be lacking in any kind of signature body of liquid, but boy do we keep trying to make the Chattahoochee happen. And for good reason; while not impressive size-wise it does have its watery charms. There are a little over seven miles of bike trails contained within the preserve, divided into two sections that run near the Cumberland Mall area and up into East Cobb.
- Alpharetta Big Creek Greenway Trail:
You don't generally associate suburban mall areas with outdoor recreation, so this greenway comes as quite the pleasant surprise. It runs for eight miles, basically parallel to North Point Parkway, providing glimpses of birds and deer that are nice reminders of an Alpharetta before the McMansion era. Even better: It hooks up to Roswell's own impressive network of bike trails.
- West End Beltline Trail:
This 2.4 mile segment was the first part of the Beltline to open when its first phase launched in 2008. As it wends from south of I-20 up to Marietta Street, the pavement touches on the historic West End community, Washington Park, and uber-cool Westview Cemetery.
— By Curbed Atlanta contributor Jonathan Carnright