Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Roll Model: Corny de las Alas

IMG_3489 IMG_3520 "My super hero bike name," explains the outgoing Decatur resident, single dad and long-time cycling commuter, who finds that "people on bikes seem to be happier and more approachable, which fits my personality." While his daily commute to Midtown could be spent reading or listening to NPR news aboard a MARTA train, enjoying cool mornings and connecting to people and savoring natural beauty along the way can only be accomplished on two wheels. "I get to go through some great neighborhoods, shop if needed, and see some great art. It’s a safe route with little car traffic and what car traffic there is, are use to bikes on the road. And I get to ride with, wave, say hi, ring my bell at some awesome folks who are enjoying the outdoors on their bikes or walking on the BeltLine or the PATH."

Corny calls his commuter bike "a SoPo franken-bike made up of all different parts". That building experience is one he is happy to share with others. "I was lucky enough to have discovered SoPo when I first started bike commuting and I have been involved with them ever since 2008. It’s great to see where SoPo’s donation bikes have gone and the stories behind them."

Fortunate are the children who can claim a super hero for father. The family portrait came from a chance BeltLine encounter on their way to Piedmont Park for the Atlanta Icecream Festival. "Now my favorite memories are seeing my daughter and son ride at 3 ½ years old. With no training wheels he is already pushing his boundaries in cycling. She has been gaining confidence learning to ride. It’s great that they want to ride with me whenever they see me riding."

Monday, July 29, 2013

Connect Atlanta

shop and bike peachtree Does this wish resonate with you? Of course it does! So, here is a link to four simple things anyone can and should do to make the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition's plan to Connect Atlanta a reality.

A Bicycle Print

IMG_3039 IMG_3047
reposted from Atlanta Street Fashion
dress: ModCloth
shoes: Anthropologie

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Roll Models: Jessica Estep And Johann Weber

IMG_3366 IMG_3375 IMG_3385 Atlanta cycling takes on a special meaning when meeting your love. So it was for Jessica Estep and Johann Weber, who are long time friends of these blogs. He reached out to me two years ago in his work for Georgia Tech Bike Week. A professor of English, she interviewed him to write this guest blogger post for us to enjoy.

Jessica: I actually started riding because of a dream I had five years ago, in which I was flying down the street on a blue bicycle. The next morning I got on Craigslist and bought a blue bicycle for fifty bucks. That bicycle was stolen after a few months (lesson: invest in a decent U-lock), but I’ve kept riding. This summer I purchased a white steel-frame Jamis road bike with dropbars. I was scared of dropbars for a long time, and I now I can’t remember why. I also have a rear rack for carrying my purse and groceries and the occasional water balloons.

Johann: I have two bikes. Nicole is my commuter/touring bike, a Trek Portland I’ve outfitted with a rear rack, pannier bags, bright front and rear lights, a fancy rear tire, and a rear fender. Lexi is my road bike, the more finicky and impatient one but so much fun. She’s a Trek Madone, which I’ve given some Look pedals (good for cleats and sneakers). I mostly ride her recreationally. When I moved to Atlanta from Portland, I drove across the country with her on the roof, stopping frequently to make sure she was secure.

Jessica: I would call myself a casual transportation bicyclist, as I typically wear flats and summer dresses when I ride, and I rarely go further than a few miles. However, Johann recently bought me spandex bike shorts, my first pair. I tell him he has to stop upgrading my bicycle gear, that I don’t want to change the kind of bicyclist I am. Last weekend, though, we took our spandex bike shorts to the Silver Comet, and we rode over forty miles, an incredible distance for me, and it was exhilarating.

Johann: Riding a bicycle is simply the ultimate independence—there’s no need for anyone else to fix, fuel, or store your machine. I ride mostly to save money and enjoy my commute. I used to commute forty-five minutes each way by car, and I’d watch so much of my paycheck disappear into gas and repairs, and at the same time the long commute was destroying my old love of cars, stressing me out, and exhausting a large chunk of my day.

Jessica: Johann and I met at an Atlanta Bicycle Coalition event at Georgia Tech, the same night that you first photographed me for your blog, Cameron. My old vintage Schwinn had bled chain grease on my leg and my white dress. I guess he found that pretty; less than a year later, he proposed to me on a Mobile Social bike ride. Sometimes I think our lives are so intertwined with Atlanta and bicycling that each improvement (like the city’s first cycle track) is a deeply personal celebration of the life he and I are building together in Atlanta.

Johann: It’s funny, though: I don’t consider myself a bike nut or anything, and I don’t think Jessica does either. But biking has been a wonderful way to share the city with each other. I can’t imagine how empty my life would be now without bicycling, not only because it is an exceptional way to experience Atlanta but also because it led me to meet her.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Roll Model: Jack Stenger

IMG_2749 IMG_7551 Whether on his Cannondale aluminum racing bike or vintage Free Spirit ten speed, Inman Park resident Jack Stenger enjoys group riding both serious and social, believing, as Manfred Mann sang, "That's where the fun is." The Outback, CVS and Tucker rides are favorites in the fast company of L5Flyers, but Sundays find him bar hopping with The Scorchers, "a very inclusive and not very intimidating bike gang" led by "Big John" Braswell. "Members confidently say they are Atlanta’s preeminent bike gang," claims Stenger, who hastens to add that they have yet to encounter a rival group.

An educator, Stenger rode to classes and concerts in his college days at the University of Georgia. A favorite memory of California living is a weekend spent racing and touring in the Bay Area. “San Francisco is like Atlanta is like Barcelona is like Savannah is like New York – they’re all best seen and experienced on bikes.” Now nine years an Atlantan, he continues to run errands on two wheels. While acknowledging the environmental benefits of cycling he opines, "More to the point, it’s good for commerce, it’s good for a sense of adventure, it’s good for cultivating a sense of freedom, it’s great for meeting new people. Bottom line? Navigating the urban environment on a bike is a lot more fun.”

Such habits became much easier for all of us last year with the completion of our Eastside Trail. Its 2.2 mile concrete ribbon links his neighborhood to Piedmont Park. More than a convenience, the in-town pedestrian corridor has given us an identity, he believes. “The Jersey Shore has its boardwalk for meeting and seeing people. Now we have the BeltLine for that.” A member of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, Stenger supports Mayor Reed's bike-friendly initiatives. "The key is more built up infrastructure. The benefits are already being seen, even as Atlanta makes its first baby steps toward a glorious future that will involve more biking infrastructure and – correspondingly – more cycling."

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Heels On Wheels: Shakin' The Rafters!

IMG_2786 IMG_2775 Reprising the success of their February ride to see the play Bike America, the ladies chose this month to visit the 14th Street Playhouse for a musical show, Shakin' The Rafters! If such a girls' night out on bikes appeals to you, follow them on facebook. New faces appear at every event, the pace is relaxed and last night's route was a largely car and care-free frolic from the Old Fourth Ward via PATH to BeltLine and on through Piedmont Park. Heels On Wheels is a service of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Roll Model: Julie Andrea Borders

IMG_2679 IMG_4520 Spelman alumna Julie Andrea Borders has a penchant for Peugeot bicycles. Her first, which came from SoPo, was a road bike called Peuney. Thus began two years of car-free living in a city renown for its motor traffic. Now native Parisian Benjamin Stimis of Atlanta Beltline Bicycle is building her dream bike. Pierre will be a European-style shopper with fenders for its 22-inch wheels and a rack for her panniers. Borders frequently incorporates MARTA into her commute and favors the compact size even as her yoga practice makes light work of hoisting her rides into the bus bike carriers. Men, she says, are often willing to help but most just express amazement at her prowess.

The daughter of PATH Foundation director Gloria Borders, Borders' adult riding began, appropriately enough, on the West side’s Lionel Hampton Trail. Following her mother’s lead, she lent her time to PATHRocks, then a next generation auxiliary to the board. “I recruited a Georgia State University marketing class student group to complete a trail usage survey.” Today her advocacy is less formal. “I entertain and engage graciously with curious MARTA passengers” while mindfully sharing train space with those in wheelchairs or freighted with luggage.

An Atlanta Bicycle Coalition Confident City Cycling class put her on the busy city streets but only native pluck would have compelled her to turn a wheel inside Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Late for work one day, she made up the lost time by pedaling Peuney through the terminal ”like APD, AFD officers!“ Arriving at Brighton Collectibles in the nick of time, her dramatic entrance inspired Boot Blacks to safeguard Peuney until she could lock him properly to a North Terminal bike rack.
Borders’ generous spirit shone at a Chick and Transgender bike clinic taught by Atlanta Bike Tech. “I think I left Peuney at home and worked with two other chicks on one of their bikes,” she remembers. “It was collaborative, hands-on and even taught by a woman. Estrogen-powered bikes, bike repair and maintenance ROCK.”

“More bike lanes” tops her wish list for safer cycling in our city and she is grateful for the advocacy of Kwanza Hall and the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. Apart from following traffic rules and seeking less trafficy routes, her advice should resonate with readers of this blog. “Wear bright, stylish, eclectic gear to be noticed and therefore safer!”
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