Good places to ride – Doraville

I LOVE riding in and around Doraville.


It’s really great, why?

Drivers are considerate – Doraville has a higher immigrant and middle-class population than a lot of other areas I ride in. These two characteristics seem to lead to more cautious and considerate drivers. This is obviously heuristic but that doesn’t negate the experiences I’ve had during the hours riding on the roads here.

The roads connect to other places – Doraville is great for riding in as well as riding through. This is a pass-through to all sorts of places. From here I can get to Stone Mountain, Downtown Atlanta, Dunwoody, Brookhaven, Norcross pretty much anywhere can be routed to from here.

There are actual side roads during rush hour that are not used as commuter short cuts – this is the most amazing thing. There are roads here, that are nice to ride that are not clogged with aggressive drivers during the prime 3:30pm-6:30pm hours. And they connect to other places!

Stuff to look at and people to see – There’s always things to see in this area. Businesses, traffic on the interstate, planes taking off and landing at the Dekalb-Peachtree Airport, you can even see Stone Mountain from behind the Farmer’s Market riding on New Peachtree Road. Lots of pedestrians using Marta. And this is weird to say but there used to be an AA on Stewart Road I would ride by late at night and there were always people outside talking, smoking cigarettes and it was kinda nice to have people around. I don’t use my bicycle to go places and shop but if I did this would be great place too, grocery stores and specialty shops are easily accessible by bike. Plus there are a ton of good restaurants.

Most top-end riders head west and end up dealing with dickheads from the wealthy areas of North Buckhead or the more congested streets closer to Atlanta on the top-end Northwest side. It’s a shame there aren’t any group rides that pass through here to Brookhaven.

If you’re ever in the area, here’s a little 45 minute route to show off some of the sights.



This is an amazing way to compare bike geometry

Here’s my Haanjo Comp (M, 53 in Green) compared to my Double Cross Disc (M, 52 in Red). I set up the Haanjo by eyeball to be slightly higher and it’s funny to see how close they ended up. I think I’m a little too crunched up on the Haanjo but I’m still trying to decide if it’s a saddle position or a stem issue.


Signs and signals – what you wear and how people treat you

I started riding in a college town in late 2010 wearing regular clothes and a hat my girlfriend bought me. In the 8 months of so I was riding around town I only had one or two negative experiences that were relatively benign. Once a domino’s delivery driver buzzed me and once a drunk dude told me in a regular speaking voice to move out of the road. The times I was riding were mainly during the midday or late at night. Usual traffic was stay-at-home parents and college students.

Then I moved to a suburb of Atlanta in Gwinnett County in 2011. Much higher traffic roads and a much wider variety of road traffic. I wore the same type of regular clothes and hat and was riding in the morning after commuting hours. Usual traffic was stay-at-home parents, delivery truck and landscaping trucks. The only negative experience from 2011 to mid-2013 I remember was when a passenger opened his door to try to hit me as he was passing at more than double my speed. I followed him to his destination as the driver pulled in right after they passed me, he got out, walked to his pouch and started ranting at me. I think he had some mental issues as his posture and syntax was really strange. I just watched from across the street for a bit and then rode off.

In the spring of 2013 I bought a road bike and started racing. I bought racing kit, a helmet and stopped wearing regular clothes. In the 6 months I rode around Gwinnett County wearing racing kit I had several negative experiences. Several times I was honked at, people flipped me off, a high school student tried to brake check me into the curb/back of his car. Once a old man honked and yelled at me as he passed and then pulled over at the next turnout and got out of his car – I just rode by confused at his aggressive posture and screaming. People also seemed to pass closer and faster and use less care in choosing where to pass.

There are other incidents I cannot recall but the experiences live on in license plates kept in my notes and Strava titles listing make/model of car but nothing else.

It’s hard to quantify the changes and kind of hard to say my experience was in any way objective but truly I noticed a difference in how I was treated on the road due to a simple change of attire. I’ve been thinking about this recently as I’ve abandoned wearing racing style cycling kit. I ride in a t-shirt, cutoff shorts and a cap under my helmet. It’s been about three months and I’ve noticed the same changes mentioned above. People just don’t treat you quite so shit when you’re wearing regular clothes. Now, I read enough about other’s experiences to know that regular clothes are not armor against impatience and a 4,000 pound automobile but they do seem to tone down the aggression from drivers.

What it is about racing kits that signals to drivers that this person requires less care and caution?


Shimano RD-M592 Rear Derailleur – Just Doesn’t Work

It’s rare for a modern bike part to be so poorly engineered that it doesn’t work at all. This derailleur came on my mountain bike. It worked great at first but after a hundred hours or so it started failing to shift. Like actually not shifting up or down. The cable would pull and move but the derailleur would not move enough to switch gears on one or even two clicks.

Drove me CRAZY for months with this. I changed cables, hangers, housing – messed with the shifters. It was awful. This fucked up more than one event for me and made me super frustrated.  I read through this thread and after seeing other people’s experiences, tossed mine right in the trash (not really – I can’t throw anything away so it’s in the “worn-out parts” bin BUT STILL)

So fuck this derailleur. I replaced it with a Sora RD-3500 which handles the same exact cassette and chainring combos just fine.