02

Blog

2017 BeltGrind Atlanta Ride Recap

On a picture-perfect Sunday afternoon in Atlanta, a diverse group of Urban Explorers set on an off-road adventure to ride around the city in areas not typically traversed in our daily lives. The first annual “BeltGrind” ride on April 2nd was billed as a “Bicycle Odyssey through Southern Space and Time” and, oddly enough, lived up to its billing.

Background of the Atlanta BeltLine

Like many Southern cities, the early days of Atlanta’s commercial development were made possible by a network of railroad tracks that ran through and around the city. Over time, many of these tracks became obsolete and unused as ground transportation via highways and trucks supplanted and replaced trains. While Atlanta remains a busy hub for railroads, many in town neighborhoods are threaded with the unused remains of a dormant rail system. In 1999, a visionary Georgia Tech graduate student named Ryan Gravel crafted a thesis paper around the idea that these rails could form the basis for a wide-ranging urban redevelopment program that would reconnect over 40 Atlanta neighborhoods covering a 22-mile area. The project that Gravel envisioned became known as the Atlanta Beltline and the beginning stages have changed the landscape of our great City.

The Eastside Trail of the Beltline opened in October 2012 and has been an overwhelming success, drawing visitors by the thousands and development dollars by the multi-millions. The next stretch to be developed, the Westside trail, just started being paved. However, the rest of the area comprising the 22-mile loop is an undeveloped jumble of old train tracks, brambles, rocks, and goat track.

Enter the BeltGrinders

Atlanta subterranean community organizer Angel Luis Poventud and his band of merry pranksters had the idea that it would be fun, educational, and more fun, to organize a party disguised as a race around the full length of the Beltline. With a loosely hashed out route and some checkpoints along the way, 100 or so riders on all types of rigs and in all kinds of gear set out to explore. Along the way, riders were encouraged to stop at several checkpoints to have their belts stamped with the digits for 2-0-1-7, with a final BeltGrind logo being stamped as a reward for finishing the ride.

2017 BeltGrind Ride Recap

With spirits high and flasks full, we set out to meet the unknown. While some folks had been on this path before, for most of us it was uncharted territory. Despite the best efforts of the organizers, several folks wandered aimlessly and got off the trail. No worries, all roads eventually led back to the finish line, where our scratched up limbs were met with a Bluegrass band, a pickup truck converted into a swimming pool and lots of cold beer. Most importantly, the finishers received the BeltGrind Brand on their belts as a reward for their efforts. A true Badge of Honor.

As you can see from the photos, everyone had a great time. Thank you to all the organizers and I can’t wait to ride again in the 2nd annual event.

Comments

Bike Law RAAM Team
Arleigh Jenkins Jun 19, 2017

2 days ago our RAAM team’s started journey began. Make sure to track their progress!

Read More
2017 Bike Law Michigan Bicycle Tour
Bryan Waldman Jun 08, 2017

Tales and tips on doing your own self-guided tour through Michigan leaving right from your own driveway.

Read More
Bicycle Dooring Education
Brendan Kevenides Jun 01, 2017

The urban bicyclist rides in perpetual fear of having a door flung open into their path. Sadly, the number of such incidents is going in the wrong direction.

Read More
Bike Law Canada - Martin Goodman Trail Toronto
Pat Brown May 31, 2017

This may seem to be about a basic barrier on the side of a path but this fight is to ensure our children and all vulnerable road users have safe roads or paths to ride on.

Read More
Toronto Youth Biking Death
Pat Brown May 25, 2017

How many tragedies do we need in Toronto before we invest in keeping Vulnerable Road Users safe?

Read More
Cycling Law Podcast
Arleigh Jenkins May 23, 2017

Ann Groninger of Bike Law NC & Jeff Viscount of Weekly Rides have become regulars on the TotalCyclist Podcast. Click through to give a listen to their episodes!

Read More
biking on highway laws in texas
Arleigh Jenkins May 17, 2017

Charlie answers a frequently asked question whether one may legally ride a bicycle on highway Interstate 10 and other freeways in Texas.

Read More
2017 Ride of Silence
Arleigh Jenkins May 15, 2017

A guest post from Chris Phelan, founder of Ride for Silence. This ride can be found in 450+ cities across the world on May 17th to honor those who have been injured or killed, to raise awareness that we are here and to ask that we all share the road.

Read More
Charlotte Law Enforcement Bicycle Ride to DC
Ann Groninger May 10, 2017

Yesterday, Bike Law Cycle Club members Julia Engle and Garet Johnson joined the first leg of CMPD’s Annual Law Enforcement Bicycle Ride to Washington D.C.

Read More
Maine Traffic Safety Education Bill
Lauri Boxer-Macomber May 03, 2017

In Maine, proposed legislation on traffic safety education in schools for students in grades 2-12 could have tremendous long-term effects on making Maine’s roads safer.

Read More
NY Five Boro Bike Ride
Daniel Flanzig May 03, 2017

Bike Law New York is entering its 4th year of supporting the TD Five Boro Bike Tour, the world’s largest charity ride with over 32,000 riders. Riding? Stop by to say hello.

Read More
Michigan Needs Better Cycling Laws
Bryan Waldman May 02, 2017

I am outraged when I see motorists that kill bicyclists charged with only minor crimes. It is time we stopped looking to blame others for this lack of accountability and look for solutions.

Read More
Load More