Ride to the Garden: A personal account by Péralte Paul
I’ve called Atlanta home for nearly 17 years and crisscrossed its streets countless times — almost always behind the wheel of my car. But I’ve always been a curious person and making new discoveries, and I love to cycle and have fun.
So when I had the chance to bridge both interests recently, I jumped on it.
“Ride to the Garden,” an initiative of the Fresh Harvest farm in Clarkston, Ga. and the Spindle bike gear and clothing shop in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, took more than two dozen bicycle enthusiasts on a trek through the city. The roughly 20-mile ride took us on a leisurely but brisk tour from the bike shop to the farm and back to Spindle.
The idea came to life following meeting between Fresh Harvest’s David Melton and Spindle’s Shariff Hassan, who connected last year at TEDxPeachtree’s annual fall event. Last year’s theme was “Together” and the ride did just that for me on so many levels.
Having heard some of the TEDxPeachtree presentations last year, I was inspired to get involved this year and this ride was my first opportunity to do something with my new, fellow TEDxers. It was great to bring together a group of individuals from all across Atlanta — including four of my friends — with a common passion for cycling and the fresh food, farm-to-table movement. As we pedaled (and sweated) I had some great conversations with old friends and got to meet and make some new ones and have a lot of fun.
Cycling the streets of metro Atlanta also made me realize just how different the city streets are when experienced from behind the handlebars of a bicycle, compared with seeing those same streets from behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. When I’m in my car, I see folks, but on bike, I get to interact with them. From pedestrians giving the thumbs up,to toddlers in strollers being mesmerized to people on restaurant patios waving hellos and giving shouts of encouragement.
The farm itself was a treat and getting to tour it as well as sample some of its foods was a highlight of the day. Who knew such an oasis of goodness was right here in our midst? It certainly made me curious about what else is out there waiting to be discovered. I even remarked to one ofmy friends riding with me how my perspective of what I saw was such a different experience on bike. The whole experience gave me pause to think about our theme for this year’s upcoming TEDxPeachtree fall event: “Beneath the surface.”
Clearly, there’s a lot to see and experience and get to understand about the community I call home. So I’ve got a lot more riding to do.
Anyone want to join me?
Péralte Paul, who is even more handsome in person, is a writer and former journalist based in Atlanta, Ga. His non-writing passions include cycling, overseas travel, and his existential dog, Camus.