(photo courtesy of Courtney Cobbs)
Meet Courtney Cobbs. She’s the Assistant Editor of the sustainable transportation/liveable communities website Streetsblog Chicago, where she researches, writes, and publishes frequent articles about a wide range of regionally-significant issues in our changing world. I particularly love how seamlessly Courtney integrates holistic humanity into her stories; how she shares her lived experiences; how she calls out the impact of interpersonal violence such as harassment in our public spaces; and how she encourages active involvement from citizens (contact your alderman!).
I asked Courtney a bit more about her “bike story.” When she was sixteen years old, she got her first car. Within six weeks, it got totaled. After earning her B.A. in Sociology and Master’s Degree in Social Work, she intentionally moved from her hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas to Chicago (attracted by articles she read on Streetsblog Chicago!) so that she could live somewhere car-free. She arrived the year that Chicago’s bikeshare system, Divvy, launched, and became a top 1% Divvy user two years in a row. After increased Divvy use each year since 2013, Courtney finally got her own bike in 2018, which she named Blue Boo. Courtney said:
“Riding a bike is a form of self-care. I love that when I ride a bike, I can stop to watch a butterfly or I can smell someone’s dinner cooking. It’s just the way I get around. It’s how I move.”
I follow Courtney on Twitter, where she recently shared that her beloved bike was stolen. Within four hours of her launching a crowdfunding campaign to purchase a brand-new Tern electric cargo bike, she surpassed her goal. Courtney told me:
“I am very humbled by the support I received. And now I want to open more people’s minds about what’s possible.”
On the day she went to pick up her new bike, the excitement was so palpable that I’m sure I joined other followers of hers who shed a little tear when she finally posted her happy photo:
Courtney’s goal is to leave a legacy as someone who made the world better. You can read Courtney’s articles here, and join in her joy (and honesty about the rubber-hits-the-road realities she encounters) on Twitter here. Or you can just wave hello to her when you see her whipping around Chicago on Blue Boo 2.
Tap in every day in August for my “You Go, Girl” series showcasing 31 Women in 31 Days who are making it more welcoming to ride bikes in the USA. If interested, you may enjoy my book, Traveling at the Speed of Bike. All proceeds from the sale of my book help more women and girls ride bikes.
The complete series:
10. Meet Irene Lutts
14. Meet Jenn Dice
28. Meet Megan Ramey
30. Meet Aly Nicklas