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

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