I wasn’t a bicyclist until I moved to Atlanta. For most people, this comes as a surprise. Atlanta? By bike? Really? When I moved to Atlanta three years ago, I didn’t own a car. I didn’t have a job. I didn’t know anyone. It was just me, my partner and my bicycle. In my solitude, my bike grew to be my closest friend while we explored our new city.
In 2012, I started working at Park Pride and noticed that the organization did not have a strong relationship to the bicycle community. At the same time I realized that bicycles didn’t serve just a single purpose. My bike was more than a way of getting to the office. It was a way to connect, a way to surprise people, a way to be social. It could be exercise, a style, a way of in-town living, and a tool for advocacy.
I have been lucky to work in parks and greenspace around the City of Atlanta and DeKalb County, and to incorporate bicycling into my work. Riding has helped me build stronger relationships with park advocates and other stakeholders. It has also helped me lead by example. I led my co-workers at Park Pride to a first place win of the Bike to Work Challenge in 2014, and used biking to bring a new twist to events such as Park Pride’s Community Garden Tour and Pints for Parks (June 16th, and part of the Atlanta Cycling Festival). Biking even helped me raise money and awareness about my neighborhood, Adair Park, through Tour De SWAT.
My bicycle, a blue Cannondale Cad 3, has been a gift for my personal and professional development. Unfortunately, in early February my bike and I were hit from behind by a car going 40 mph. Thanks to my helmet, my injuries were not as severe as they could have been, but my bike was left beyond repair. The accident has only solidified my commitment to making bicycling a part of more people’s lives. I have been able to connect with other victims of cycling accidents and work more closely with law enforcement on improving their response to accidents involving cyclists. Despite the physical and emotional pain, the support and love I have received from friends, family, and the bicycle community have helped my recovery.
Currently, I’m searching for my next bicycle soulmate. And I can’t wait to be back in the saddle.