When the Atlanta Bicycle Barn opened four years ago, founders Tim Bailiff and Ben Steins sold used bikes by flipping old ones found on Craigslist. The duo slowly added on new bicycles, and the number of rentals began to jump until the barn became the go-to spot for renting bikes in the city.
Located on Sampson Street and just off the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail in the Old Fourth Ward, the old metal shell building houses racks upon racks of bikes. When doors open each day at 10 a.m., the lines start forming.
Bailiff said some of his traffic comes from those purchasing new and used bikes. Used bikes can be purchased for as low as $200. The used inventory mostly consists of road bikes, which are popular for green Atlanta commuters and feature narrow tires and a light-weight frame for quick trips about town. Hybrids are gaining popularity as they offer the best of both worlds – street tires like a road bike, but with the low gear ratio of a mountain bike for the hills of Atlanta.
On the weekends, Atlantans flock to the Atlanta Bicycle Barn to get their hands on a bike for the day. Bike rentals are a $20 flat rate per day, $10 for up to two hours and $15 for three hours. Renting a bike at Atlanta Bicycle Barn is first come, first serve. The barn has over 80 rental bikes available, but on a sunny Saturday can run out of rental bikes by 1 p.m. Bailiff said he’s experienced a waiting list of 50 people on peak spring days.
The BeltLine is the most common destination for renters. Along the way, biking friends stop for brunch at Ladybird or start happy hour early at bars scattered along the trail. However, Bailiff said Atlanta has an impressive network of hidden trails covering over 40 miles inside the Perimeter. He would know; he’s been biking the city for pleasure ever since he moved to the city in 2001.
While a biology graduate student at GSU, Bailiff got a part time job at Decatur Bikes and quickly rode into the bicycle community. His love for bikes became a lifestyle, and mode of transportation. At the time, he commuted to a MARTA station on bike, but ended up cycling the 11 miles into town rather than wait for the trains.
“The more you bike, the more confident you are about being on the streets,” Bailiff said. “Bike lanes make people feel safer, and the more people who feel safe about getting from point A to point B on bike will bike more. It’s just about getting out and doing it.”
Bailiff recommends the Stone Mountain PATH as a way to get introduced to street biking. Biking on the roads will help you get comfortable with cars, while the PATH is easily accessible on more congested stretches.
The Atlanta Bicycle Barn is planning to add even more mountain bikes to their bike collection to reach adventurous daytrippers heading to North Georgia.
The Atlanta Bicycle Barn is located at 151 Sampson Street NE. For more information, visit facebook.com/ABB151 or call (404) 588-9930.