So I usually:
- pack my bike in the trunk and drive my car four relatively flat miles to the train station (because my suburb-city does not support true safe access-for-all and I don’t always want to take the risks required to ride my bike here),
- take the train (on which I can bring my bike at all times) about fifteen minutes to the Arts Center MARTA station in the City of Atlanta,
- ride my bike either through the neighborhood of Ansley to Piedmont Park, or down Peachtree Street one block to 14th Street to Piedmont Park,
- and then ride through the park, down the 10th Street two-way protected cycle track (which hasn’t actually been protected for months now as more than half the bollards have been missing), up the two miles of the Atlanta Beltline Eastside Trail, and around the corner to the repurposed cotton-holding-warehouse known as StudioPlex where Bicycle Tours of Atlanta (where I now serve as a part-time tour guide) is located.
However, whenever there is a big event in the park (such as this weekend’s Music Midtown), the city blocks safe access for bike riders (in what was selected as one of the Ten Best New Bike Lanes in the USA when it was first installed) so I therefore stay on Peachtree Street instead and ride with motor vehicle traffic a different way, as you can see in the (dizzying) video above. This does require a wide range of Basic Bike Skills, which is one of the reasons I am so adamant about teaching them, especially to women as we may face additional dangers when we are Traveling at the Speed of Bike with motor vehicles (see my book for why). (Registration is now open for my FREE 50 Women/50 States class.)
After I got by StudioPlex yesterday (earlier than needed), I got curious (as usual) and popped onto the Eastside Trail to ride the additional four miles roundtrip in order to see the detour at Monroe Drive at the cycle track/Piedmont Park entrance. (I had “taken the lane” down 10th Street the day before and it was total chaos for bike riders due to all the trucks, commotion, blind spots, and more.) (Please note that packs of children ride their bikes to Grady High School, located right on this road, as well as to the junior high school just a few blocks away, and a ghost bike for a killed Grady student is clearly visible on this route.)
The City of Atlanta just announced its new Chief Bicycle Officer (congrats, Cary Bearn). I still hope the rubber-hits-the-road ideas I’ve shared (including eliminating special event contracts that enable the disabling of safe-access-for-all*) eventually gain some traction. As for my suburb-city, here is the Media Release I’d still like to see. Please note that every moment in the video above is safer and more enjoyable than riding my bike one half mile from my home to the supermarket in a self-proclaimed “family-friendly” suburb. I have the time, strength, and skills to ride my bike as transportation and am happy to be One Less Car and let you have the parking spot, Suburbia, but I am not willing to take unnecessary risks with my life to do so. (See It’s Easier to Ride a Bike in Hell’s Kitchen than on Mt. Vernon Road in Dunwoody, GA.)
If I can ever provide some additional insight into the reality of bike riding as a woman in your cities, America, please see my professional offers here. Note that women make up 50% of our population and make or influence 80% of all consumer spending decisions. There are many great things happening just about everywhere (See Santa Monica! See Boston! See Pittsburgh! See New York!) but it’s not connected and it needs to be. We have just about had it with the gutter of failed imagination and the continual insistence of those in many municipalities currently charged with serving our populace to marginalize and belittle our existence in public space. And we are increasingly connected.
* Related post: Last Stand at the Taxi Stand