By Maria Borowik
My spring and summer plans disappeared without saying goodbye. The big trip across the pond for my best friend’s wedding, the backyard birthday parties, the large social bicycle rides, every single one was cancelled. But despair not, Georgia is full of beautiful places to go on outdoor adventures. If you want to explore local, I promise you, the Peach State will not disappoint.
With Memorial Day weekend coming up, I drummed up my very own Tour de Georgia. This was not meant to be a revival of the acclaimed professional cycling stage race or an ambitious bicycle ride across Georgia. The premise was to ride my bicycle on as many multi-use paved paths I could find through-out the state in three days. Let me tell you, we have many more than just the Silver Comet Trail or the path to Stone Mountain and one could fill many weekends exploring them. Every single one of these paths can be easily accessed and enjoyed by bicyclists, runners, walkers, wheelchair users and four legged friends of all ages.
Tour de Georgia Day 1:
1. The Carrolton GreenBelt: One of the newest paths in the state, the 18-mile loop connects neighborhoods, shops and the University of West Georgia. It currently boasts the title of “the largest paved loop trail system in Georgia.”
2. Chattahoochee Riverwalk: 15 miles filled with historic landmarks, the largest urban whitewater and kayak course in the world and although I didn’t see any alligators there are signs alerting you to their presence.
3. Fort Benning Recreation Trails: located at the southern end of the Chattahoochee Riverwalk you will see signs and a connector path to Fort Benning. I highly recommend you visit and ride through the 102-year United States Army post. Don’t miss the thee jump towers and nose art on Eubanks Field.
4. Columbus Fall Trace Line: this 11-mile rail-trail is not just a phenomenal fitness and recreational path but also has the potential to become a transit corridor connecting northern residential areas with downtown Columbus and the Metra bus system.
Tour de Georgia Day 2:
5. Ocmulgee Heritage Trail: sections of the 11-mile path in Macon are currently closed due to flooding and construction work including bike path access to the Ocmulgee Mounds Historical Park and National Monument. The open sections still allow for a selfie in front of the famous Luther Williams Field baseball stadium and home of the Macon Bacon.
6. Clayton Connects: the 6 miles connecting the International Park to Lake Spivey Golf Club are just a taste of what is to come. Clayton Connects’ progressive master plan may one day make Jonesboro and surrounding cities the envy of the state with 112 miles of multi-use paths connecting Clayton county to the airport and the Atlanta BeltLine.
7. Michelle Obama Trail: originally the South River Trail in southern Decatur and now the first trail in the country named after the former First Lady. Lined with hundreds of wild blackberry patches, this 3.8- mile path rides by the Barack Obama’s magnet school and ends at the Atlanta Radio Club Field.
Tour de Georgia Day 3:
8. – 11. Suwanee Creek Greenway + Brushy Creek Greenway + Ivy Creek Greenway + George Pierce Park Trails: ride one of them or ride them all together for a longer 20-mile bike ride. Under the care of the award-winning Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation department, these paths feature wildlife viewing, boardwalks, swampy lakes and even disc golf. The detour to Town Park Center in downtown city of Suwannee is a must for a quick bite, live music and sidewalk art.
12. Big Creek Greenway: Spanning 19.7 miles connecting Roswell, Alpharetta and Cumming. This family friendly path may look flat like a pancake but beware of the infamous Sawtooth Pass on the northern end of the path in Forsyth County for a heart thumping rollercoaster.
My impromptu “Tour de Georgia” added up to 172 miles over 3 days. I shared the paths with many tiny tot bike riders and kids who are growing up with access to formerly unused infrastructure that has now been reshaped for public good. I’m excited about the trails that are in the works in so many counties across Georgia, some being built today and others in planning stages. They are going to make some epic follow up editions of my Tour de Georgia.
Maria Borowik is an Argentinean/Canadian who has made Georgia her home for the last decade. She loves the outdoors, traveling and recently completed a traverse of the entire US east coast using human powered mobility. When she isn’t working at Hagen Rosskopf/Bike Law GA she is out riding her bicycle or training for ultramarathons.