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The annual bike ride down Ga. Highway 400 that almost didn’t happen

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GDOT’s construction plans threaten to derail the annual benefit for Emory University’s Heart and Vascular Center

A swarm of cyclists pedal down the interstate.
How the ride overtakes one of metro Atlanta’s most high-traffic freeways.
Screenshot, via YouTube

The Georgia Department of Transportation almost threw a wrench in plans for a massive annual bike ride that takes cyclists down Ga. Highway 400.

Thanks to lobbying by organizers like Eric Broadwell and a few metro Atlanta government leaders, the June 2020 ride is back on. At least for next year.

GDOT officials had previously told Broadwell that construction plans could create safety concerns for riders partaking in the 11th anniversary ride in 2020.

But following “a more in-depth review, it was determined that construction will most likely not impact the ride for this year on the requested dates,” GDOT spokesman Scott Higley told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Sponsored by Emory University’s Heart and Vascular Center, next year’s ride is expected to bring hundreds of cyclists from across the country—and even some from abroad—down the closed southbound leg of Ga. 400.

The entry fee ranges from $40 to $75, depending on how early you buy in, and the proceeds go back to the Heart and Vascular Center, in Druid Hills.

With GDOT’s Ga. Highway 400 expansion plans on the horizon, though, the rides in years to come might have to uproot to a different location, Broadwell told Curbed Atlanta.

“If we go north, then we have to coordinate with Alpharetta, and when we tried that years ago, they said, ‘You’re crazy,’” he said. “That’s why we went south around Sandy Springs, because we had support around there.”

Nowadays, though, Alpharetta has warmed up to cycling, creating new bike lanes and other bike-friendly infrastructure, Broadwell said.

An early heads-up: From 7 until 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 28, Ga. Highway 400 Southbound will be closed from Holcomb Bridge Road to Northridge Road.

Nearly 2,000 attendees are expected, and the ride will happen rain or shine.