Cumberland is an edge city which means it’s 90% parking lots and 10% dickheads in cars. I lived there for two years and did quite a bit of riding around the area. As far as general cycling, it seems like a really good place to live & ride. The reality is a little different.
Starting with the features of the area:
The Akers Mill Trail: Features a 99% (one sidewalk section over a bridge) complete pathway to the Silver Comet trail. It’s the “wide sidewalk” model so it’s quite bumpy but it does work for getting to the Comet as well as the Dobbins AFB connector to Marietta.
The Silver Comet is pretty well known. From my apartment it was about 45 minutes to the trailhead off Concord road. You can take the connector but I preferred the surface streets since they’re less trafficked and flow a little better.
Sope Creek: This is a gravel loop as well as a 6 (8?) mile MTB loop. This is actually the most amazing thing. It’s a fully realized MTB trail within what is becoming one of the most overdeveloped areas in the country. This provides a nice low stress riding option within easy riding distance. It’s also possible to ride Sope Creek and then take the path on Lower Roswell Road to Big Creek and ride there as well. I’ve never done it because it takes 3-4 hours total with a significant amount of time on pavement.
Bandit trails over on the palisades. There are some extremely steep/techy trails south of 285 that are great for hiking and also maybe for banditing when foot traffic is low. I’ve heard.
So, on paper it’s pretty stacked with cycling features and those features are great! However the overall cycling picture is pretty poor. Your options are severely limited by the location of both the Chattahoochee and the 285/75 interchange. Both of these features restrict movement and require specialized crossings. For example if you decide to leave from Akers Mill and head East you can only really cross the Chattahoochee on Interstate Parkway North since Powers Ferry on the other side is narrow and loaded down with aggro drivers go to the new school and trying to get onto 285. The Parkway has a nice wide shoulder but is highly trafficked and is fairly steep so when I would ride it multiple days in a row to get to better riding I would really be hating life. If you want to cross further up you can go through the gravel trails to Columns drive, as long as it’s during daylight hours and generally not on a nice day or weekend since the walking path can be over loaded and generally unsafe to ride at >10 mph. The Southern crossing point here is at Paces Ferry and is ok but the pavement is really poor in spots and it’s also loaded with aggro drivers leaving Vinings and the Lovett School. So, there are only a few ways to cross the river and each has it’s own disadvantages and all are generally pretty poor.
This segues nicely to the next topic: Schools
Schools make drivers INSANE. Around schools they drive too fast, pass too close and generally endanger other road users (this include peds) with no threat of recompense. Jumping ahead, most of the safe riding in this area are the smaller roads in North Buckhead, these are ok since the houses are on enormous lots so the actual car traffic is fairly low, except around school times. During school times these roads are a lawless hellscape of shitty attitudes. Want to drive 70mph on a twisty two lane residential? Go for it! Want to run other drivers off the road by passing a cyclist, who is going the speed limit, on a blind downhill turn? Why not! There is never any traffic enforcement in these areas during most riding times and the drivers know it either consciously or unconsciously.
The terrain around Cumberland is pretty atrocious as well. To get out of the area always requires a steep but short climb. Just enough to get your heartrate jacked and fuck up your riding for the next 20-30 minutes. The hills can be fun, the Stillhouse KOM is an amazing climb for where it is and Northside is a staple of the best alleycat race in the city. But it’s a real pain when you almost have to ride these features on a daily basis.
I’ll probably add more later but to sum this up, Cumberland is a nice place to ride since it allows you options to get to other, better places to ride. Which begs the question, why not just live in those places?