A scattering of conventioneers and other name-tagged business travelers walked by me as I sat by the Relay Bikeshare hub at the corner of Centennial Olympic Park right across from the College Football Hall of Fame in Downtown Atlanta.
As a Relay Bikeshare VIP Ambassador, I talked with a number of them about how you could use it for just $3.50 and knock out a lovely 30-minute workout before dinner by traipsing around the park or even riding nearby up what was named 2017’s Best New Bike Lane in the USA (pictured). I had even ridden the 3-mile route I was suggesting (which is almost 100% protected from motor vehicle traffic) just prior to this so I could be confident I was giving current, accurate info — I used to travel a lot for business. I know how hard it is to stay healthy while juggling clients and hotels and deadlines, and I know how hard it is to figure out where to go that would be safe for a woman alone so I wanted to be sure there were no surprises. (Note: I now use bikeshare in every city I visit that offers it, and I thus find sticking to my health and fitness goals much easier than when I used to travel for business many years ago.)
After an hour of this, I grabbed a quick bite and then hopped on Relay (or, rather, what I like to call Sharey). It was 5:30 PM — the time I used to end work when I first moved to Atlanta from NYC and worked at CNN Center just across the street. I imagined I was leaving there again (or any of the other companies located in Downtown Atlanta), and that I now had this amazing bike option for my commute home (instead of driving on the highway every day the way I used to do until I was in that eight-car pileup that I mention in my book). The night was warm and pretty and I decided another 30-minute ride would be nice, and I chose the Midtown Atlanta transit station as my destination. (If you are here for business, then you may have meetings or other reasons to be in Midtown, and this is a great bike ride there from Downtown. You could also simply ride up Peachtree Street if you are comfortable “taking the lane.”)
I rode up the series of protected bike lanes, then through The Georgia Institute of Technology (a certified Gold-Level Bicycle Friendly University), and then up Peachtree Street to MARTA. This took 25 minutes for a distance of about 3 miles. I passed a zillion cars stuck in rush-hour traffic, and I couldn’t stop smiling at the other bike commuters as they waved and nodded. I then returned the bike to the hub right in front of the station and grabbed a quick-15-minute train ride to the ‘burbs (where, unfortunately, my car was parked because the four-mile bike ride home from the station, although relatively flat and direct, is not bike-friendly). I got home invigorated and relaxed, with my recommended daily exercise behind me.
You’re not gonna break any speed records on Sharey, and some hills are gonna challenge you because the bike is a little clunky (although the eight speeds do accommodate a helluva lot). But the flip side is that 30 minutes a day really is a great workout on this thing. And the bonus is that you can actually get places — like to work, to home, and to your health goals while traveling for business.
But your face is gonna hurt from smiling.
Have more time to ride? See four of my fave Atlanta routes, with specific tips, in my Bonus Resources.
See here for links to buy my book, Traveling at the Speed of Bike, on Amazon in all global markets. I’m an indie author and your support is greatly appreciated. A portion of proceeds from the sale of all books is donated to help more women and girls ride bikes. Currently, that means funding my ability to do “Pedal Power with Pattie” Basic Bike Skills Classes for Women for free.