It has been six months now as your Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor and I see what works (trusting the journey, as always), what doesn’t (emails to mayors), and where I’m called to serve most frequently (not only by other people, but by my soul). I’ve updated my three-month exec summary below in red, for your skimming convenience. I’ve also added estimated pro bono value of my deliverables, when possible.
Wow. I’m six 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. (UPDATE: lol. Still donating more professional pro bono time than planned. If I don’t get to Peace Corps Uganda soon, delayed since last June due to COVID, then it’s time to add a bike-related paid position to my pro bono work — who’s hiring?)
In addition to the Executive Summary updates below regarding those goals, you may also enjoy selections from my blog during these past six months that may be particularly illuminating or helpful to you (such as 7 Low-Hanging Fruit Actions Cities Can Take, Will Sandy Springs, Georgia Take the Lead or Will It Be Your City? 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. Update: That day hasn’t come yet. Still leaping my brains out.
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 (Update: See National Bike Month calendar, with links to details).
Much more has happened. I invite you to spend some time on my blog, Instagram, and Twitter feeds. Note: I closed comments on this blog after I was almost killed last July while Traveling at the Speed of Bike and the inevitable smack talk happened (here’s why a statewide Vulnerable Road User Law is needed). However, I still love hearing from folks (you can reach me here) if I have been (or can be) helpful to you (please; no character assassination comments — I do this for free and I honestly can’t handle it right now).
Things I know for sure at this point in my life:
- I will no longer attend local meetings that don’t happen on a bike (they are useless — 10 years of meetings equals 10 minutes on a bike as every problem is immediately obvious and life-threatening) (note: children don’t wait; they grow up. Mine have. It is not their job to change things. It is ours, and we are failing them);
- I will call out greenwashing anywhere and everywhere it happens (I’m lookin’ at you, too-narrow unprotected bike lanes that don’t meet NACTO guidelines, which some cities are erroneously calling successes — note: better than nothing = nothing);
- I will not allow you to steal the joy of bike riding from me or squander the opportunities presented by the biggest bike boom since I was a child.
- I don’t intend to spend one minute in the gutter of failed imagination (life’s too short; need’s too great — if you want to tell me why something can’t be done, we’re not in the same conversation).
Okay, gotta go now. Sun’s about to rise, and there is work to be done. I’m doing some freelance writing for a company in the bike industry (see my rates here); I have more agents to pitch; and I get to do my fave thing each day — decide who and where to showcase while Traveling at the Speed of Bike.
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. Pro bono value to research, interview, write, publish, and amplify=$650 per article
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)
Meet Shawn Deangelo Walton (Everybody Eats ATL and WeCycle)
Meet Charlton Bivins (Clayton County Cycling Club)
Meet Emmett McNair (tour guide extraordinaire)
Meet Mike Fluekiger (Primary Mechanic at Global Spokes)
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 Pro Bono Value = $300 per consult meeting
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 (I have, unfortunately, heard no update on any of that so every Metro Atlanta city and county is still up for grabs). (Note: there are now 115 Bicycle Mayors around the world as part of the BYCS network. There are currently only five in the USA, and only 3 appear to be active. 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)
UPDATE: I LOVE the Bicycle Mayor Network meetings — I’m now involved with global, North American, gender-equity, and World Bicycle Day (June 3) meetings. We are following each other. We are becoming friends. The world is getting smaller, and our impact is getting bigger. Note: My deepest concerns go out to our Bicycle Mayors in India, and the astounding work they are doing to provide relief and aid during their current COVID crisis.
I may do a Zoom thing on May 28, as mentioned in this calendar, to answer questions and chat with anyone interested in applying to become a Bicycle Mayor. A reporter from the Dutch Financial Times asked me last week during an interview, “Is it a real thing?” and I answered, “It’s real to me every day when I get up and do the work, and the global network is definitely real because I know the people and I see the good they are doing everywhere.”
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. Pro bono value to research, create, photograph, write, publish, and amplify = $1250 per route; Pro Bono Value for each Bike Class=$150 Per Person
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)
Coming soon: Public Play and Free Fruit while Traveling at the Speed of Bike!
Coming soon: Tour of Atlanta Councilor Farohki’s Participatory Budgeting Successes
Coming soon: Tour of Atlanta Councilor Brown’s District — and His Big Idea!
* I’m rethinking what I plan to cover moving forward. I may just go where I’m called to go from now on, where folks are ready for life-saving change and the boundless gift of joy, rather than continually set myself up for being ghosted by city halls when I reach out to them or be expected to celebrate what is undeniably greenwashing in some places.
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 six 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. Note: May is booked. I’m rethinking things after that.
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. Plus, I served as one of just twelve or so members of the Georgia delegation at the National Bike Summit — see brief summary post here.
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 About 70 TikToks now!
As a result of this presence, I was able to provide outreach on TikTok, cross-promoted across other social media platforms, 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. UPDATE: I recently completed a novel for middle graders that encourages youth advocacy at local city halls (and I think it may even be the first #mg novel that includes a ghost bike). Help me connect with the right literary agent for this project.
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.)