(photo courtesy of Robyn Elliott)
Meet Robyn Elliott. She is the owner of Bicycle Tours of Atlanta, the highest-rated outdoor activity in the City of Atlanta, according to Trip Advisor, with more than 800 five-stars reviews. (Note: I had the joy of serving as a tour guide with Bicycle Tours of Atlanta for a year and half and was continually in awe of what I saw Robyn and her team achieve.)
As a white native-Atlantan, Robyn, like many people, has been unpacking her privilege and learning the depth of history that was not taught in schools, in a city with untold stories from its bricks to its boardrooms. In her position as a tour creator and leader, hosting people from all over the world, Robyn made it her mission several years ago to develop and share the history she was learning. Now, with her company’s popular Fall in Love with Atlanta Tour expertly led by others in her ten-year-old company, the Atlanta’s Journey to Civil Rights Tour* is Robyn’s passion.
A guest who came on the Fall in Love with Atlanta Tour with his family three years ago truly fell in love with it. When Robyn began offering the Atlanta’s Journey to Civil Rights Tour, he and his family returned. He found it so moving and eye-opening that he brought people from his company with him. This is not uncommon for Robyn to see her previous guests come back for other tours, and to bring new people with them each time. However, here’s where it gets extra interesting.
It turns out that person was Klaus Zellmer, the President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA) — headquartered right here in Atlanta — who is responsible for the company’s activities in both the United States and Canada. He is also President and CEO of Porsche Digital Inc., overseeing the U.S. market activities of the sports car manufacturer’s global digital subsidiary. Those people he brought back with him on another tour were his executive team and select employees, after which he stated his desire to eventually bring every single employee on this tour.
“What about those who don’t want to, or cannot, ride a bike?” you may ask. Robyn, as always, finds a way to make that work for everyone through the availability of electric bikes and pedicab rides for those who may need or prefer that extra support.
What about your company during this time of dismantling racism and providing socially-distanced opportunities for team bonding? As Robyn told me:
“The Atlanta’s Journey to Civil Rights Tour provides a platform for companies to have conversations they may not be able to have otherwise.”
Contact Robyn Elliott of Bicycle Tours of Atlanta, if you are a C-suite executive of another company that is ready to put the wheels of change in motion.
Now, my wheels are turning. I may follow this story over time to see what actual, measurable effect participation in these bike tours has on Porsche North America — and perhaps, even, in the public space bike riders currently struggle to share with those in cars throughout the continent (and the role lack of safe access plays in structural racism). What is actually possible here?
* developed in collaboration with the also-astounding Victoria Lemos, whose podcast Archive Atlanta is a must-listen
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