I hopped on the train just four miles from my home in the area of the largest concentration of Fortune 500 company headquarters in the southeastern United States, and got off less than fifteen minutes later at a more dense mixed-use (retail/residential/entertainment) area in Midtown, Atlanta. A mere three-quarters-of-a-mile ride on Atlanta’s Relay Bikeshare bike (which I call Sharey), took me via a lovely bike lane to yet another mixed-use district, built on the brownfield site of the old Atlantic Steel Company. You can take a sneak peek at my view from the handlebars in the video above.
Named Atlantic Station, it features homes and corporate offices as well as a central shopping-dining-gathering neighborhood conveniently built on a grid. In fact, the gridded part reminded me of a place named Safety Town (mentioned in Chapter One in my book, Traveling at the Speed of Bike—you can read that part for free in the Look Inside feature on Amazon in all global markets*). I met with the management company for this huge and ever-expanding private development (which even has its own zip code) to discuss what kind of bike support I can offer it after they originally contacted me via Twitter.
We decided to start with a FREE “Pedal Power with Pattie” Basic Bike Skills Class for Women** during the Atlantic Station Earth Day celebration on April 21. You can sign up here.
I am particularly excited about this class because students will get to apply helpful bike handling tips and hazard avoidance maneuvers in a real-world setting that includes low-speed opportunities to take the lane, avoid both moving and parked cars, scan, use signals, and make lefts. You will also get an introduction on how to use an unprotected bike lane on a busier road, including making quick stops and avoiding debris, gear-changing on slight hills, and feeling first-hand the difference that infrastructure such as a bollard-protected bike lane makes.
And you don’t even need your own bike —you can rent Sharey conveniently just for the class for less than $15 (or, better yet, sign up for a month for about same price, with no annual contract required — see the Relay Bikeshare site here and then #ExpectBikes, as the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition likes to say, as an available daily choice for you throughout most of May, which is National Bike Month, or just keep renewing your membership forever and ever and ever).
I think I’ll also provide students with both one and two-mile route maps to make it easier for you to practice after the class and make bike riding a regular habit, whether you live in Atlantic Station or are employed there. You’d be surprised how quickly those miles add up and what a difference just a few minutes a day can make in your mood and ability.
Who knows? You may even end up doing the ride over the 17th Street Bridge (with its stunning view of both Midtown and Downtown Atlanta) to the Arts Center train station, or just continuing along in the City of Atlanta to the myriad places you can go while traveling at the speed of bike as #OneLessCar. (Note: if you haven’t seen the first-ever just-released City of Atlanta Bike Report, it’s a beauty. I ride in Atlanta almost every day and mostly love it. See four of my fave routes in my Bonus Resources section.)
We may continue after that with monthly Sunday morning instructional rides throughout the summer, perhaps some blogging and other communications services that feature success stories, and maybe even some one-on-one mobility counseling and/or quick hands-on lunch-and-learn rides to encourage more people to Expect Bikes as part of Atlantic Station’s access-for-all vibrancy.
Stay tuned for more details, photos, videos, and smiles as we log some fun miles in this very bike-friendly part of a city at a crossroads.
For those of you affiliated with other real estate developments, corporations, and cities, please see my Classes/Custom Content page for how I may be able to help you shout out about your bikey goodness and bring more folks into the conversation (and onto bikes) as well.
*Psst—the just-published paperback is lovely and easy to carry around, but if you like a Kindle version (instantly downloadable to not just a Kindle device but to your phone, iPad or laptop via the free Kindle app) AND 90% savings, it’ll be just 99 cents on St Patrick’s Day Saturday. So hang tight, and big thanks 🙂 . I’m an indie author, and your support matters. Plus a portion of all sales is donated to help more women and girls ride bikes.
** Women represent 50% of our population and make or influence 80% of all consumer spending decisions. Yet we are grossly underrepresented as bike-riders in our cities across the USA for many reasons (which are in my book). As a sustainability specialist (and a mother of daughters) striving for greater resiliency-for-all in our cities (including the economic impact of bike riders who shop locally more, and more often, than those not on bikes), I aim to help change that.