Wednesday, March 23, 2011

2011 Georgia Rides to the Capitol

On Tuesday, March 22nd at noon cyclist from all over Georgia converged on the state capitol to support legislation promoting better bike safety through the annual Georgia Rides to the Capitol event sponsored by Georgia Bikes.

I planned to ride with others cyclist from Epic Bikes in McDonough.  I worked all night and only got home at 6:15AM.  I got ready and had some breakfast before I left the house on my bike at 6:45AM.  It was an 8 mile ride in the dark to the shop.  I used a headlight and worn a reflective vest so that I'd be better seen.

Timeline of the day's events
  • 6:45AM - I departed home on my bike enroute to Epic Bikes in McDonough
  • 7:15AM - I arrived Epic Bikes
  • 7:30AM - We departed Epic Bikes enroute to downtown McDonough
  • 8:00AM - We arrived downtown McDonough
  • 8:15AM - We departed McDonough enroute to the Decatur MARTA station parking lot
  • 10:30AM - We arrived at the Decatur MARTA station
  • 11:30AM - We arrived at the Georgia State Capitol
  • 12:15PM - We departed the capitol
  • 3:00PM - We arrived back at Epic Bikes
  • 3:30PM - I arrived back at home thanks to Ken who gave me a ride in his car
Epic Bikes in McDonough
We met at the bike shop and left for the McDonough square at 7:30AM.  There were six of us riding from Epic Bikes to the capitol that morning along with a contingent of police. 

Henry County Police Department escort from Epic Bikes (the sun is just coming up)
Chad from Jail House Brewing was kind enough to provide SAG (Support and Gear) support for the ride along with being our official cameraman.

Chad standing by the Jail House Brewing truck (in Decatur)
The route took us north on Hwy 155 by Panola Mountain State Park and through Pathersville, by Agnes Scott College then west on College Ave. through Decatur, Lake Claire, Candler Park, and Inman Park.

Just outside of McDonough we were stopped by a freight train.

Waiting for a train to pass
Five of us got caught at the railroad crossing.  Ken made it through before us.
At the railroad crossing
In McDonough we met up with eight more riders, more police, and the mayor of McDonough at the Wells Fargo bank parking lot.
A picture before we left McDonough
Chad's view from the Jail House Brewing truck
Ken and Frank
Carlos, Tim, Eric, Michael and Junior ready to ride the last few miles to the capitol 
Other cyclists in Decatur
Scott getting a bit to eat as we prepare to leave the MARTA parking lot in Decatur
Mix1 provided free all-natural protein drinks to the riders.  I had the blueberry-vanila and it was very good.
A rider from Griffin, Georgia in our group
There were probably 20 cyclist when we arrived.  There was no line to the only port-o-let!  When we left there must have been 500 riders (and a long line at the port-o-let).  I'm not kidding, 500 riders and a long line! 
Riders lineup to leave Decatur
I apologize for not having any images of the rally at the capitol.  I brought a Nikon D-50 DSLR camera which was too big to carry while riding.  Chad took my camera back to the shop for me when we left Decatur so I was camera-less.

The announcer said that 2500 riders made it to the capitol.  I have to agree.  It was packed.  The weather was perfect for a bike ride; mid-50's at the start and in the low-80's at the finish.  We all got sunburned.

Ultimately, I rode 85.65 miles on Tuesday.  It was a long ride and an even longer day!