Meet Allison. She is not Today’s Nice Stranger, since I’ve known her for years (but not really). She is the sister-in-law of an old friend of mine whom I called Tracy of the Chickens on a previous blog. We have crossed paths and actually shared a path when my friend Joe Seconder (who is currently running for Dunwoody City Council) led a bike tour of new-and-needed infrastructure in our mutual suburb-city not long ago, but we hadn’t spent time together just the two of us. She recently asked me if I would show her around Atlanta while Traveling at the Speed of Bike, which I did gladly two days ago.
It had been awhile since I had done that with a friend (although I still lead tours with Bicycle Tours of Atlanta occasionally, such as the Sustainability-in-Action Bike Tour). When I first started riding in Atlanta daily in 2013, I did a photo project called Around Atlanta in 180 Days, which helped me see Atlanta through new eyes. So many friends joined me as we explored the art and changes happening right in front of us. Some of those friends have actually moved into Atlanta from the suburbs as a result (and, warning, I wouldn’t be surprised if Allison does, too).
I have liked riding one-on-one with people in the past. I have gotten to know them in a really personal and bonding way, and I have tried to provide them with an experience (complete with how to ride MARTA with a bike, and where to find bathrooms and bike racks) that they can replicate with their own friends and family members. I have especially loved when folks who’ve ridden with me go on to become regular riders in Atlanta, and then bring the desire for that ease of riding home to their car-centric suburban cities as advocates for safe-access-for-all. I have asked my local city leaders to join me on a ride like this for years now. (Not one has*.)
If interested, I’ve posted the map of our serendipitous 11–mile route (from when we left the Arts Center MARTA station to when we got back to it), which took three hours (including doughnuts). I had a wonderful and easy time with Allison, and I look forward to seeing where our friendship — and bikes — take us next.
Thanks for asking, Allison. That was fun.
See more of my fave everyday bike routes in Atlanta here:
And, of course, check out the wide variety of tours offered by Bicycle Tours of Atlanta (the number 1 outdoor activity in Atlanta, according to Trip Advisor, with more than 700 five-star reviews), including a series of tours (kicking off today!) featuring the local artists themselves.