Wow. I’m three months in already as your Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor. I’m in a groove now, thanks to this schedule and my stated goals serving my 10-county region in this pro bono capacity with the Amsterdam-based social enterprise BYCS (see the Bicycle Mayor and Leaders Network here). I’m happy to report I’m seeing some good results. (Note to others: hang in there if you are doing something new. The seeds of change you plant do eventually grow.) My biggest challenge is sticking with a professional-skills donation of just eight hours a week, as this work is a passion of mine.
In addition to the Executive Summary updates below regarding those goals, I’m creating a PDF titled Leap of Faith: First 3 months as Bicycle Mayor (a Work in Progress) that I’ll be releasing for free, with selections from my blog during these past three months that may be particularly illuminating or helpful to you (such as 7 Low-Hanging Fruit Actions Cities Can Take, Your Awards Are Not More Important than Our Lives; Man Charged with Seven Counts after Killing Man on Bicycle in Sandy Springs, GA, and the aspirational UPS Announces Global No-Parking-in-Bike-Lanes Policy).
I’m calling this a Leap of Faith report because Every day, I take a leap of faith — and I look forward to the day when riding a bike does not require one.
I also recommend you read my book (which tells the true story of a woman and a country at a crossroads, with lots of specifics about Metro Atlanta that are continually pertinent — all proceeds used to help more women and girls ride bikes), and sign up for my blog.
If you are a city, county, or corporate leader, don’t be left out during the biggest bike boom in generations. Join me on a joy-based journey. If you really want your municipality or company to reap the triple-bottom-line benefits that come from being truly bike-friendly (without greenwashing), it can. (See Bit by Bit.)
Note: I’m starting planning for National Bike Month coverage in May. Please feel free to touch base if you want me to share your Metro Atlanta city, county, or company’s plans. If you haven’t given this thought yet, it’s time. I’ll be providing some resources soon, so stay tuned. (Short answer: Get your mayor or CEO’s bike tuned up. If that person does not ride a bike, find another solution — an adult trike, for instance — so you are not left out.)
Trust the journey,
Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor Quarterly Report Executive Summary
GOAL 1. SHINE A LIGHT ON THE PEOPLE MAKING IT MORE WELCOMING TO RIDE BIKES.
Meet Greg Masterson (Metro Atlanta Cycling Club)
Meet Marjon Manitius (Brookhaven Bike Alliance)
Meet Byron Rushing (Atlanta Regional Commission)
Meet Creighton Bryan (Tuskegee Airmen Global Academy)
Meet Betsy Eggers and Jack Honderd (Peachtree Creek Trail and Brookhaven Bike Aliance)
Jon’s Leap of Faith (Street Minister and Bike Saver Extraordinaire)
A Second(er) or Two about Why You’re Needed (City of Dunwoody)
Meet Matt (Painter of New Cycle Track by Mercedes Benz Stadium)
Meet Dr. Walter May (Reinhardt University)
Meet Alex Gee (World Bicycle Relief)
Also, seven of the 31 women featured in my “You Go, Girl!” series (which I wrote to help heal after surviving a hit-and-run) are from Metro Atlanta: Paige Metzger, Robyn Elliott, Amanda Clay, Nadya Dhadiala, Timberley Jones, Shanequa Gay, and Maria Borowik.
GOAL 2. ENCOURAGE MORE PEOPLE TO BECOME BICYCLE MAYORS OF THEIR CITIES OR COUNTIES
I have had in-depth conversations with people from four Metro Atlanta cities who are seriously considering applying to become Bicycle Mayors of their municipalities. (Note: there are about 110 Bicycle Mayors around the world as part of the BYCS network. There are currently only five in the USA. Let’s take a national leadership role as a region and maximize our ability to benefit economically, environmentally, and socially.) They are from:
- City of Atlanta;
- City of Norcross;
- City of Duluth;
- City of Sandy Springs.
Additionally, I have been contacted and had conversations with three other people across the USA who are considering becoming Bicycle Mayors where they live.
Here is the process. If anyone is interested and would like to chat about it, please feel free to contact me. People representing marginalized communities (widely defined) are specifically encouraged.
- The application process kicks off with this simple form on the Amsterdam-based social enterprise BYCS’ website;
- If under consideration, you will then have a Google hangout interview with the folks at BYCS;
- If advancing after that, you will be instructed to request at least six-to-eight letters of endorsement and prepare a work plan to submit (it is requested that you donate about eight hours a week — you may already be doing this);
- Your complete application will then be evaluated and you will perhaps become the first Bicycle Mayor serving your specific community;
- You then begin to implement your plan while participating in the global Bicycle Mayors network in monthly Zoom meetings and collaborative efforts (such as the recent joint statement from Bicycle Mayors representing the Americas for World Day of Remembrance 2020)
GOAL 3. CREATE AND SHARE ROUTES THROUGHOUT THE REGION THAT ARE LOW-STRESS AND WELCOMING TO ALL, AND TEACH BIKE SKILLS TO MORE WOMEN AND GIRLS.
Here are my free self-guided bike routes to date. They are specifically designed to be welcoming and low-stress (based on motor vehicle traffic patterns, available infrastructure, and local cultural support for people on bikes). They are as short as one mile (less, actually) and as long as ten miles (with most between two and six miles). I’ve also tried to limit the hills as much as possible, but Metro Atlanta is hilly so riding a bike with gears is recommended.
You can click the individual links below, or click on my smiley face here and then click the Classics tab and it will take you to all of them. You get route details, cue cards, photos, and more. Even if you don’t or can’t ride, you may enjoy a virtual pedal or two just by checking it all out. (If you live elsewhere, check out your local PeopleForBikes Ambassador’s routes, or consider creating routes of your own!)
3 More MARTA Murals while Traveling at the Speed of Bike (am still working this one)
* As your Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor, I’ll be adding rides all over the ten-county Metro Atlanta region over the next year (as well as adding county-specific inspiring stories, resources, and more), based on the following schedule. In addition to reading municipal plans and challenging them to the rubber-hits-the-road test, I put out a call to mayors and more for tips about local bike-access-for-all initiatives and unsung heroes.
November 2021: Metro Atlanta locations: see the first two routes in the Wander series above
December 2021: City of Atlanta: Atlanta’s HBCUs while Traveling at the Speed of Bike
January 2021: Cherokee County: Artsy Downtown Woodstock (GA) while Traveling at the Speed of Bike
February 2021: Clayton County
March 2021: Cobb County
April 2021: DeKalb County
May 2021: Douglas County
June 2021: Fayette County
July 2021: Fulton County
August 2021: Gwinnett County
September 2021: Henry County
October 2021: Rockdale County
Disclaimer: I assume no liability for any action you may take as a result of my sharing this free information
I now offer Pedal Power with Pattie basic bike skills classes (specifically designed for women and teen girls) via text, PDF, and TikTok*. (I believe I am the only League Cycling Instructor in the world doing this.) During these first three months as Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor, I also offered free in-person classes (a $150 value per class, re: REI) to the following people, and was able to connect two women with new-to-them bicycles:
Meet Helena (with links to numerous other stories about women who have been my students)
Additionally, as a result of my participation in an AARP/League of American Bicyclists webinar about insights into older people riding bikes, I was able to share my Seniors-on-Trikes Course Recommendations with new targeted audiences close to home and around the world.
New in January 2021, I launched a TikTok presence for bike education and inspiration (@pedalpowwerwithpattie) and now have more than 40 fun, short videos that align with/ refresh my proprietary course. I am excited to be reaching hundreds of new people with each new post (including almost 10k views of one of them in particular). Update! More than 50 TikToks now!
As a result of this presence, I was able to provide outreach on TikTok, cross-promoted across other social media platofrms, for the League of American Bicyclists about its scholarship for anyone under age 21 to attend the upcoming National Bike Summit, and have thus reached hundreds of youth who would not have been reached otherwise. This is just the beginning of what’s possible.
Thank you for your support. 100% of proceeds from the sale of my book, Traveling at the Speed of Bike, as well as my original-art Artsy Bike Face Mask, are used to help more women and girls ride bikes.
Also, there’s a bib! You can order it here. See an adorable baby modeling it here. (Reminder: Kids don’t wait. They grow up. You can’t “feel like a kid again” when you ride a bike for the rest of your life . . . if you didn’t ride a bike as a kid. The time for change is now.)
* See more books about bike riding and its diverse issues and opportunities at Bike Books (the only book shop in the world carefully curated to feature only books about bike riding).