Announcing 1st Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor (Possibly)!

Inspired by my brilliant friend, Courtney Williams, New York City’s Bicycle Mayor, I am currently already post-interview and under final consideration to join the Amsterdam-based social enterprise BYCS’ international consortium of bicycle mayors as the first representative from Metro Atlanta (you can see the bicycle mayor global network map here — I may do a little blog series showcasing each bicycle mayor, as I did with the “You Go, Girl” series recently).

It is an independent, volunteer position of about 4-8 hours a week. (Note: According to BYCS, no one else from Metro Atlanta has pursued this opportunity.) I’m a League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructor (#5382), a People for Bikes Ambassador, a Georgia Bikes and Atlanta Bicycle Coalition member, and the author of the Traveling at the Speed Bike book and blog. I’m a daily rider, a frequent advocate for equity and access-for-all (with a passionate focus on underrepresented women and girls, for which I have a 25-year record of service and advocacy), a mom, a voter, a senior now, and even a survivor of road violence.

What Are My Goals, and Ways to Achieve Them, as Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor? (recently updated, reflected below and on this more recent post)

Goal #1 

Shine a light on those doing the work to make it more welcoming for people on bikes throughout Metro Atlanta in order to: honor people; share best practices; encourage others in their forward momentum; and identify opportunities for collaboration

How I Aim to Achieve This

  • Conduct online and in-person experiential research and outreach to understand each county and select cities’ distinct challenges and opportunities and their success stories;
  • Identify the people doing the heavy lifting and find out more about their projects;
  • Communicate stories of these successes and heroes using my journalistic skills and platforms; 
  • Provide appropriate calls to actions as indicated by the key constituents;
  • Connect people who may not yet know each other and could be helpful to each other, if possible;
  • Advocate for improvements as desired by the people most affected, when appropriate.

Goal #2 

Encourage five people throughout the Metro Atlanta 10-county region to apply to become Bicycle Mayors of their cities or counties within one year of the start of my term of service 

How I Aim to Achieve This

  • Profile select Bicycle Mayors from around the USA and world and the wide variety of work they are doing so that people may find someone with whom they identify or who inspires them to say, ”Why not me?”;
  • Actively search for people already doing the work (or are interested in growing in their capacity to do it) who may want to serve their specific city or county in this way, and encourage their applications;
  • Continually reduce my geographic coverage due to other’s involvement until I no longer have a position.

Goal #3 

Empower or assist more people, especially women and teen girls (as is my passion), who are underrepresented in our public spaces as bicycle riders

How I Aim to Achieve This

  • Provide bike skills education, coaching, and mentoring in person (as possible and practicable during COVID-19)  as a League of American Bicyclists Cycling Insutrctor (#5382);
  • Provide bike skills education remotely (as I already do via a proprietary course delivered via text as well as a downloadable PDF); 
  • Create and share welcoming routes throughout the region as a People for Bikes Ambassador;
  • Provide resources that could be useful to all (additional to my current Bonus Resources offerings), to be determined after further exploration and understanding of the specific needs of those who express interest.

I am already doing these things in some ways already*, and I expect to learn additional ways from both global and local colleagues to create a greater impact in concert with all the good that’s already happening here in Metro Atlanta as I continue to add my voice to things I know could and should be better.

I am particularly committed to using this opportunity to lay the foundation for future local bicycle mayors to take over if and when I leave for Peace Corps Uganda (currently delayed due to COVID-19). Additionally, my hope is that my time as a Bicycle Mayor will make me more valuable in Uganda as well as I aim to help more girls and women there access and ride bikes. Kampala already has a bicycle mayor named Amanda Ngabirano, and I look forward to getting to know her.

There is no election. However, it is required that I submit letters of endorsement from local and national leaders, as well as advocates and enthusiasts for bike riding, who believe in my ability to make a difference. If willing to help, simply write a short note (on your company or organization’s letterhead, if possible), sign it with your name and title, and email it to me by September 27 so I can include it in my endorsement package. Your support is greatly appreciated, and I look forward to being of service to you as Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor.

Update: See here, if interested.

* See my recent series of profiles of women making the USA more welcoming for bike riding (and imagine local spotlights of business owners; nonprofit and community advocates; elected officials; and rubber-hits-the-road issues relating to all aspects of equity, diversity, and inclusion); my Bonus Resources and Classes pages (and imagine info that connects you to local education opportunities and best practices from other communities that may work in yours as well), and my Ride Spot posts (and imagine this expanding to include welcoming routes throughout Metro Atlanta, and what needs to be dismantled before true safe-access-for-all can be achieved).