RIDE AND FLY MTB EXPERIENCE
The ATL Gateway Trails.
Imagine flying into the world’s busiest airport and within minutes hiking, jogging or biking your way on trails surrounded by old growth oak, large rock formations and small streams, all without ever getting in a car. That’s the vision of MTB Atlanta’s Ride and Fly MTB Experience. Now imagine those same trails interconnected within two miles of nineteen different area schools and three bustling downtowns. Are you now starting to get a pretty fantastic picture in your head? We know we are.
The Ride and Fly MTB Experience (RFME) is the brainchild of MTB Atlanta. The RFME could become one of the most extensive Urban MTB Trail System in the country and serve as a blueprint for a network of similar trail systems throughout the entire Metro Atlanta region. Utilizing the natural rugged and woody terrain of the Piedmont region the RFME trails will use local city and county pocket parks that have been too hilly to be used for traditional park amenities, to create a network of interconnecting low impact, highly sustainable trails. Each pocket park, an oasis from the hustle and bustle of the rapidly growing ITP (“Inside the Perimeter for all you outsiders) was selected for the initial phase will include approximately 4 miles of trails – each – varying in difficulty, and each containing a pump track and skills area. No matter which trailhead you start from, the local community will be provided with all the resources for the young and inexperienced, all the way up to the most advanced rider. The Ride and Fly MTB Experience will become a destination facility, attracting people from all over Metro Atlanta, while also attracting business and ecotourism to the area.
Planned Features Include:
- 17+ miles of off-road trails
- 1 – 7 Acre Bike Park
- 4 Additional Pump Tracks
- 3 Additional Skills Areas
- 19 Schools accessible within 2 miles of trailheads
- Endless miles of Paved Trails in the works to connect it all together.
BUSINESS TAKES FLIGHT
The RFME trails will serve the ATL Airport District and the Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance region. This area is an up and coming group of communities that encompasses Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and is booming with new corporate headquarters and all the necessities needed to sustain them. As more and more business travelers descend on the region, the more they will be looking for post-work entertainment. As an airport traveler, they will literally be able to go from baggage claim to a hotel, to trails in minutes without ever getting into a car. Business Travel at its best. However, if they do need to get a car, they can do that too on the same FREE Skytrain to the Georgia International Convention Center Complex and ATL Car Rental facilities… and did we mention that all of our trailheads will be minutes away from Atlanta’s MARTA rapid rail system?
ECO-TOURISM RIDES THE MOMENTUM
The Metro Atlanta area has the potential to be a cycling paradise like no other city in the union. Taking advantage of the World’s Busiest Airport and Atlanta’s mild winters, tolerable summers, and central location in the Piedmont region, we have an opportunity to bring Eco-Tourism to the area in a major way. Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina already have some of the best riding on and off-road in the country. Rides like the epic flow of FATS in Augusta or Cold Creek in Anniston to the Pisgah range in North Carolina – arguably the most mind-boggling trails on the East Coast, and everything in between (Blankets, Chicopee, Pinohti, MTB Atlanta’s Cochran Mill & Silk Sheets for you roadies). Atlanta will be the conduit to get you to them all. The Ride and Fly MTB Experience can and will be the starting or ending point for these adventure seekers looking to spend a week bombing down runs and soaring over rocks. As the Gateway Trails of the North Georgia Trail Corridor and beyond, the RFME trails will contain enough variety of features to thrill even the most persnickety mountain region shredder. However, just by the nature that any rider in the world can fly into Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, with more connecting flights than any other airport, and be on trails in minutes is justification enough for them to start and/or end their stay in the ATL Airport District.
THE COMMUNITY DIGS WHAT WE HAVE GOING ON
As The District grows, so too does the local neighborhoods that are already rich in history. From the fourth largest historic residential district in Georgia to the largest private school in the country, and three charming downtown districts, the RFME trails will serve this diverse community the most. thirteen schools, including three high schools and six middle schools, will be within a mile and easily accessible to one of the trailheads; another six will be two miles away. Since each park is smack in the middle of both College Park and East Point, residents can ride or walk right from their house and onto the MTB trails using the East Point PATH and College Park paved trail systems that are in the works or use any of the neighborhood streets for easy and convenient access. Phase two will include more permanent connections through the purchase of adjacent property and utilizing easements.
PARKS OF THE RIDE AND FLY MTB EXPERIENCE
The full concept is still being flushed out with some projects underway and some still on the table for continued discussion. Phase one of the RFME trail system will consist of three pocket parks. Phase two, if completed as suggested, would consist of an additional three parks in East Point and College Park. Each park unique to itself and full of different, exciting features perfect for outdoor entertainment.
Sykes Park in East Point is the flagship and is already well under construction. We expect the Sykes Park Trails to be fully operational by the spring of 2018. The Sykes Trails will include a central loop of hybrid flow and cross-country trails ranging from beginner to intermediate in difficulty with advanced spurs mixed throughout. Sykes Park, while only 40 acres is a trail builder’s dream with old growth trees, large rock gardens, and massive granite boulders, some as large as 8′ in height and 10′ in diameter that consumes most of the park. These rock formations are not only visually stunning, but they will serve as the backbone of an advanced system of trail spurs from the main loop. Think of it as an urban Pisgah. These advanced spurs will allow riders to complete two to three loops while keeping your day on the trails feeling fresh and never dull. Sykes Park will also include a pump track and a couple of skills areas filled with a variety of rock formations to allow even the most novice rider the practice they need to hit our advanced spurs sooner rather than later.
Brenningham Park in College Park, is less than a mile away and easily accessible to Sykes Park, will be the second park in the network. The MOU to build at the park was approved by City Council in early February and MTB Atlanta will be designing this trail system soon. Brenningham Park is a hidden gem created within a long sloping U shaped hill perfect for a mix of beginner to advanced downhill, flow combinations, as well as cross-country style trails that will get you back to the top. The Brady Recreation Center sits at the top and anchors the park. It is the perfect starting point for beginner trails, pump track, and small skills area where a local National Interscholastic Mountain Bike League could be formed. (HINT HINT) This league could be the gateway to a lifelong experience of cycling, and who knows, scholarships to schools.
Southside Park is east of the other two parks and is located in the City of Atlanta. It is the first trail system in the city of Atlanta is well underway and is a joint project between MTB Atlanta, the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, IMBA Trail Solutions, the City of Atlanta P&R, Park Pride and Arborguard. You can read the full details of Southside Park on its own page, by going here. The trail system will be a traditional stacked loop system consisting of beginner, intermediate, and expert. The entire system will be close to 7 miles when complete.
Note: We are aware of other projects, all in different public phases, and are including our take on what’s being discussed. This is MTB Atlanta’s stab and let’s “dream big” and work together to make it happen and does not represent, or suggest to represent, concepts from any other organization. It’s just a big map of fun ideas to get everyone excited and motivated.