Thursday, January 30, 2014

Monday, January 27, 2014

Roll Model: Amber Raley

IMG_6710 IMG_0033 IMG_6959 Amber Raley likens bicycles to tattoos. "The ideal number is one more than you now have, with a limit of the number at which your partner will leave you, minus one," she hastens to add. As someone about to donate her car to NPR, she retains many transportation options.

"Aubrey was my first bike in Atlanta, a blue 1980's Ross with orange wheels." Invited to ride in North Georgia with Sorella, she looked to Kirkwood ReCycle for something sportier: a red Schwinn ten-speed from the 1960's, its drop bars wrapped in the original tape now faded to her favored color. She proudly remembers hanging tough with the B+ riders, all the while mastering Cinnamon's derailleur gears. When friends sent her the same link to a CraigsList for sale ad, the orange and white fixed gear mixte (aka chixie) became her Tango. Christmas brought a yet to be named vintage mountain bike. "I haven't ridden it yet and gotten a sense of its spirit."

Lari is the suborder of sea birds that includes terns and the name given to the Tern folding bicycle she won from the silent auction at last year's ABC Blinkie Awards. This versatile bike goes with her on MARTA and into conference rooms, where it plays a role in advocacy on behalf of BeltLine Speakers Bureau. Her winning ways and wits have disarmed guards in the Atlanta Financial Center and the less than bike friendly Hurt Building, who watched as the dreaded, two wheeled machine became...luggage!

This "crucial part of my BeltLine narrative also shapped my choice of neighborhood, Adair Park." She first explored those streets of SW Atlanta in a 'wheel estate' tour with EcoBroker Burke Sisco. Subsequent rides, including one to her house inspection, "proved to me I could do that." Commuting by bicycle finds her "energized and ready to start the day. Riding straight up Peachtree Street every day makes me a tourist in my own city."

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Roll Model: Ann Shen

IMG_9404 IMG_9406 I was a late bloomer when it comes to learning to ride the bike. At the age of thirteen, my father taught me how to ride my first bike, a brand new fuchsia mountain bike that I had proudly selected at the store with dad's help. Biking has always been something dad and I shared, starting with fond memories of riding shotgun on dad's top tube when I was little.

I have also been pretty lucky to grow up in bike and public transportation friendly cities such as Ottawa and Toronto, so moving to Atlanta has been an interesting challenge. The sheer sprawl of the city as well as the disappointment of MARTA has resulted in me owning my first car. This feeling of dependence on my car coupled with a generally negative attitude towards cyclists and public transportation was something I struggled with after relocating here.

Everything changed after I met Bianca, my Specialized step-through bike. Riding Bianca around town makes me feel so liberated! I've been able to not only discover and explore so much more of Atlanta car-free, it has also made me realize that Bianca is all I need to get to places I love. Although I still drive my car to and from work, I love that the moment I come home, when I can park my car, hop on Bianca, and go to the grocery store, meet up with friends, or go thrifting in L5P. A rear bike rack, my Po Campo bag, a pannier, and some solid wind resistant/water proof layers pretty much mean I can go anywhere. Weekends will find Eliot and I riding around town on our bikes to the ASO, the High, riding the Mobile Social, enjoying Streets Alive; really, any excuse to ride my bike. Some of my fondest memories entail Eliot and I biking around on gorgeous sunny afternoons, just trying to get lost and explore our favourite neighbourhoods such as Grant Park and Decatur.

As a member of ABC, it has also been very exciting to see all the advocacy and infrastructure changes that ABC has helped to bring about, such as the cycletrack on 10th and the new buffered bike lane on Ponce. I'm also excited about the upcoming cycletracks ABC is working on creating in Midtown and O4W. I hope that the creation of more bike lanes as well as greater visibility of female bikers will lead to more women feeling safe and empowered to bike around Atlanta.

Ann Shen

Monday, January 6, 2014

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