New cycling event showcases Atlanta and GWCCA’s increasing connectivity

It’s no secret that Atlanta has become more bicycle-friendly in the last two decades with bike lanes installed on major thoroughfares, a network of cycling infrastructure built or in the works and bike-share outposts cropping up across town.

“These improvements to the bike network are important because they highlight the city’s commitment to improving citizens’ health, providing affordable transportation options and becoming a bike-friendly city,” reads an excerpt from the City of Atlanta 2017 Annual Bicycle Report.

VeloCity’s registration and ticket pick-up tent at the GWCCA’s International Plaza.

Celebrating the city’s burgeoning cycling connectivity, VeloCity, a multi-course bike ride to benefit Grady Hospital, makes its debut Saturday (May 5) on the Georgia World Congress Center Authority’s (GWCCA) downtown Atlanta campus. The inaugural four-course ride starts on Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s field Saturday morning and ends at International Plaza, between the stadium, the Georgia World Congress Center and Philips Arena.

But it’s not simply a ride – VeloCity kicks off at 5 p.m. today (May 4) with a pre-party on International Plaza, featuring food, drinks, a concert by ATL Collective and information about how to support Grady, metro Atlanta’s top trauma center. The post-ride celebration on Saturday will also take place on the same footprint. Tickets to the pre and post-ride celebrations are available here.

The GWCCA campus is an apt site for hosting such an event as the Authority too, is becoming more bike-friendly, part of the organization’s overall strategy to improve the 220-acre complex’s connectivity.

Artist rendering of bike path on the perimeter of Centennial Olympic Park.

Running parallel to Baker Street, the Path Foundation will add a bike path on the northern edge of Centennial Olympic Park. Starting at Park Avenue West, the path will continue to Centennial Olympic Park Drive.

In addition, plans are underway to connect the western edge of the GWCCA campus with the Atlanta Beltline’s Westside Trail via Path Foundation paths.

Meanwhile, VeloCity is intended to appeal to multiple levels of cyclists – from novices to competitive riders. So there are four courses laid out for Saturday’s ride: 5-mile, 25-mile, 50-mile and 100-mile routes. The 5-mile route sticks close to the GWCCA campus and is a closed-road course running from MBS, past the park, down Peachtree Street and around the state capitol building and ending at International Plaza. The 100-mile route is quite the challenge, as it heads southwest into furthest stretches of south Fulton County, through East Point, College Park, the newly-created city of South Fulton, Chattahoochee Hills, and past Palmetto to the outskirts of Newnan, then back downtown.