The Coca Cola tractor trailer driver and I made eye contact. I nonverbally communicated that I and the woman with whom I was riding legally and necessarily two abreast would be turning left shortly, and he made clear he had our backs. We were finishing up a 9.5 mile tour given by my friend Joe Seconder of Bike Walk Dunwoody. Her bike was not quite up to the hills and she had fallen behind and I had stayed with her on busy roads where drivers were speeding past us.
In the video below, you can hear me talking through our maneuvers with her at the final points of this ride in what’s known as The Village section of the metro Atlanta suburb-city Dunwoody, as we were about to turn into a shopping center. If you turn the sound up, you can hear incessant honking from a vehicle behind the tractor trailer. At this point, we were thinking whoever it was didn’t see us, but when we turn you can hear the honking intensify.
The irony? We were on our way to attend a public meeting about the Dunwoody Village Master Plan Update. You know, to make this place that ten years ago was the newest city in the United States of America more livable for all. After sharing pizzas with most of the other tour participants, I rolled my bike into the back of the meeting room since there are no bike racks in the entire shopping center, and I stood there listening, observing, for over an hour.
I missed my friend Bob, the biggest zoning expert our city ever had, who would have been there, who might have said something like this feels like Groundhog Day since we’ve had these same discussions over and over again and not a damn thing has changed in this village to make it safer and more inviting to people.
I missed my children (now adults) who had come with me to some of those city hall meetings when they were 8 and 13 years old, back when changes to make this self-proclaimed family-friendly city safer could have changed their lives here in the place they called home. (Note: children don’t wait; they grow up.)
And most of all, I missed thinking that anything I could say or do actually mattered except perhaps as a seed that may or may not one day grow. (“I remember a lady years ago who used to ride her bike with a pool noodle sticking out, that’s how bad it was,” they may someday say.)
And so I left, and I rode home, and I shared my photos with a shout-out to Joe (who is considering running for mayor) for all he does, and I watered my garden — knowing that it takes a village, and hoping, as always, that the seeds I planted grow.