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Brookhaven's "Model Mile" while Traveling at the Speed Bike

Atlanta, Georgia , United States
2.6 mi




ft elev +


There's a creek running alongside busy Interstate I-85 in Metro Atlanta, but you may never have known it. Now, with the creation of "The Model Mile" multiuse path alongside the creek in the city of Brookhaven, you can start to see a whole new way of traveling at the speed of bike both for that previously-harrowing commute to work as well as for other utilitarian and recreational purposes. The Peachtree Creek Greenway holds the potential to eventually run 12 miles long through four cities (Doraville, Chamblee, Brookhaven, and Atlanta) and unincorporated Dekalb County, eventually connecting to the northern arc of the 22-mile Atlanta Beltline loop.

If you don't live nearby it and would be accessing it via car, it is a true find — an oasis, really — for a quick ride when driving home from somewhere else (I keep a bike in my car at all times and often stop to ride all over Metro Atlanta if I'm out driving somewhere). You park down that side street where REI is if you enter from the Clairmont Road direction, or via a little side road off North Druid Hills Road if you enter from that direction. There's also a parking lot by Corporate Square off the I-85 service road, and several MARTA buses have routes nearby as well (note that you may take a bike on a MARTA bus at any time that room is available in the front carrier, which is equipped to carry up to two bikes). Fun fact: All trail heads have free-to-use bike fix-it stations. 

I rode the Peachtree Creek Greenway for you twice recently, with different bikes — a road bike and an upright 7-speed to see how easy it is to ride re: elevation, and it's a breeze (I'd say three gears would cover it just fine). I think I might have said wow about 50 times during that one little mile (1.3 miles, to be precise). It is stunning, and has attributes that many other multiuse paths in the region do not: 

(1) It has lights and is open from 6 AM to 11 PM, thereby setting the stage for it to be a true commute option during those times of the year when it is dark during traditional commute hours and for those who do shift work;
(2) It has mostly clear and open sight lines, making it more welcoming to women and teen girls than other isolated, wooded paths (I did, in fact, see a young teen girl with a backpack riding it alone, which you really don't see that much nowadays);
(3) The seating options are so thoughtful, from bump-out bench areas exactly where you would want them to large rocks that make immersing-in-nature inviting;

(4) It has numerous little sand bars alongside the creek in certain areas, which with my powers of imagination enabled me to feel like I was on vacation (or back home again on Long Island in NY), which is no small thing during this seemingly-endless pandemic;

(5) It will eventually showcase the City of Brookhaven's new municipal building (currently under construction) right there on the path! (Note: until that happens, there are no restrooms.) 

(Warning: It IS in a floodplain, so you may run into flooding after heavy rains.)

My ride recommendation is to ride the entire Model Mile round-trip, starting at the Briarwood entrance (which is what is reflected on this Ride Spot route map). You can even wander up the spur trail next to the Salvation Army mural. (If you go right at the road, you can get bibles and books at the Salvation Army's southeastern headquarters; if you go left, the Pink Pony strip club greets you, with a place named Lips for dining-in-drag just around the corner.) 

Then, back on the greenway, after completing the 2.6 total mileage roundtrip, make a left at Briarwood Road and bop up (on the left-side sidewalk, which widens into a multiuse path in just a short while) to the Northeast Plaza shopping center nearby on Buford Highway, where you will find the murals I show below. (Plus, there are some places to grab a bite and use the bathroom.) 

I recently interviewed the head of the Peachtree Creek Greenway advocacy group and did some additional research, and I will be doing a story about that on my blog, 

Bottom line? This path seems special, if it can continue to be a public place for all. See its website here: