I catch my reflection in the mirror at the Woodruff Arts Center and smile, mostly to myself, while taking a selfie. I had taken the same photo almost a year ago to the day, when I had just earned my League Cycling Instructor certification. Then, I had been nervous. I am not nervous now.
I know I belong on a bike. This is a truth I have learned to trust. To not question. To accept as my calling. (And, by the way — thanks, God. I like this calling.)
If you were to ask me, “Don’t you have anything better to do than ride your bike?” my answer would be no. Because by riding a bike I have gotten to teach an earn-a-bike course for kids-in-need, and classes for seniors on adult tricycles and for women new and returning to bikes. I’ve put new lights on the bikes of refugees, helped with a City of Atlanta mayoral ride and a class for Habitat for Humanity homeowners, led a team for the Atlanta Bike Challenge, and waved or done “the nod” to more people on bikes than I can count. What should I have been doing?
With every pedal stroke, I trY to make doing one of the most fun, normal, and healthy things in the world safer by also advocating for positive change on our shared public spaces known as streets and at city halls and on social media. Some of it has made a difference, lots of it hasn’t, and tomorrow is always another day to try again. Most importantly, I continue to meet people each and every day who expand my view of the world and my small role of responsibility — and possibility — in it.
Now, I am ready for what’s next on the blue gravel road of life. On bike, of course.