Why We Love Biking in Atlanta with Kids
See that mom with three kids on her bike cycling through Midtown? Or that dad racing the neighborhood kids on his bike during his last few blocks home from work? Metro Atlanta is fast becoming a bicycle friendly city.
With more opportunities through a growing network of pathways, bicycle lanes and bicycle friendly areas, families are biking together all around Atlanta and finding lots of benefits, from a healthier lifestyle to together time. If your family wants to give it a try, now is the perfect time, with a confluence of great greenways, mild temperatures, the Atlanta Cycling Festival, and Atlanta Streets Alive this spring and summer.
“I was really active but didn’t cycle before I got a big family cargo bike,” says Rebecca Wells, who has been loading her three kids, ages 3, 5 and 7, on the bike for a couple of years, for trips to their childcare center or errands around Midtown. “Now they’re like superstars on the back of the bike.”
Corny Delasalas of Decatur took up cycling as a stress reliever, but became an accidental role model in his neighborhood when kids started racing him home. “My son and daughter [5-year-old twins] are learning how to ride, and so are their peers. And, of course, the parents have to start biking to keep up.”
Aside from health benefits and family time, “It’s just fun to see the city in a different way with your kids,” says Jeffrey Wisard, organizer of the Atlanta Cycling Festival.
“The timing is right for biking in Atlanta,” Wells says. “It’s good for the community, good for kids and good for what we need, for people taking pride in their community.”
Where to Bike in Atlanta with Kids
Metro Atlanta likely has a bike trail or bike friendly area near your home, so it’s easy to get started. “The Silver Comet Trail is the first thing to come to people’s minds,” says Jeremy Leifheit with Atlanta Cycling in Vinings and Ansley Mall. “If you live near it, it’s an awesome path for kids and families, with no steep gradients.” Another good path for families is Big Creek Greenway in Roswell and the BeltLine in Atlanta, he says.
Everyone has their favorites, from biking through Piedmont Park to tooling around Freedom Park or Stone Mountain Park and Yellow River Park in Gwinnett County.
Made up of multi-use trails and colorful art and murals, the Atlanta BeltLine is a pedestrian friendly area that can be used for biking as well as jogging and walking. The BeltLine links many of Atlanta’s existing parks and trails together with dining and retail options nearby. Take stops for playgrounds at Piedmont Park or the Old Fourth Ward Park. The Westside Trail, which runs from University Avenue to Washington Park, and the Eastside Trail extension from Irwin Street to Memorial Drive are set to open in summer 2017.
Where: 24 Fairlie St. NW, Atlanta. 404-477-3003.
This trail is made up of a 3-mile path around Chastain Park, and on any given day you can find it full of bikers and joggers. The trail is marked as two 5K courses and a separate 3K course. It is an asphalt trail with a few hills, which may be more challenging with a stroller, or young child.
Where: Chastain Park Trail, Atlanta. 404-237-2177.
In Marietta next to Roswell Road, it is a short trail, around 2 miles long, but perfect for young bikers and with parents walking or running beside them. It is also an easy connector to many neighborhoods in the area. Make sure to also check out the events listed on their website, as well as the playground.
Where: 3322 Roswell Rd., Marietta.
This 19-mile on-street and dedicated trail offers great views of Atlanta (bring a camera to take a picture at the Jackson Street bridge near Downtown), and has several great stopping points along the way. Take a stop at Stone Mountain village, Milam Park in Clarkston, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, Candler Park, and Downtown Decatur.
Where: Begins at Piedmont Ave. in Downtown Atlanta and ends at the loop around Stone Mountain.
Made up of 30 miles of biking, hiking and running trails, the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Trail takes you past exposed granite and lakes along the way.
Where: Arabia Mountain Trail, Stockbridge. 404-998-8384.
This 61.5 mile rail to trail is named after the Silver Comet Rail Train that once ran from Atlanta to Birmingham. Ride your bikes across a 500-foot trestle and bring a picnic basket on this woodsy, paved trail.
Where: Mavell Road Trailhead, Smyrna.
Atlanta Biking Resources
- There are several biking organizations and groups throughout metro Atlanta, including the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, Bike Roswell, Decatur Bicycle Coalition, and Families Bike Atlanta, which can get you connected with other bike enthusiasts in and around Atlanta.
- The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and Georgia Tech’s Students Organizing for Sustainability offer “starter bikes” ranging in price from free to $150. Bikes can be viewed on the Georgia Tech campus 4-6 p.m. Fridays. Find more information at atlantabike.org/starterbikes.
- The Atlanta Cycling Festival occurs each June and offers kids bike clinics, a kids zone, and even a bike race for kids.
– Amanda Miller Allen