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."

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