10-Month Update as Your 1st Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor

photo credit: Stephen Spring, Education Director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition

So, it’s almost a wrap on Year 1 (in a 2-year term) as the first Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor, representing 70 cities and 10 counties in the southeastern United States in order to simply ensure that our region is represented on this global bicycle mayor map.

I’ve had the opportunity to evaluate what is and isn’t a good expenditure of my pro bono time. Moving forward, here is what works, and therefore what I will continue doing:

Profiles of people making it more welcoming to ride bikes

The best thing I offer for free seems to be profiles of people making it welcoming to ride bikes close to home and around the world. I call it the “Meet” series. These uplifting stories continually garner thousands of views on my blog, are widely shared, and connect people who may then discover powerful ways to work together for bigger impacts. Plus, I simply adore the interviews, which Slack and WhatsApp make possible from anywhere!

To research, interview, write, publish, and amplify these profiles equals a professional-services value of $800 each*. I will create two more. For September, I contacted the global headquarters of UPS (which is 5 miles from my home) to request an interview with the head of their global e-cargo-delivery-bike unit, but haven’t heard back yet. Stay tuned! (If you missed the most recent one about Charise Stephens, you’re in for a treat!)

Free Routes and Classes

I hope you continue to find my welcoming routes and free classes (delivered three remote ways) helpful, especially if you are in a position to encourage folks who are new or returning to riding bikes. Hundreds of people are tapping in to them, and I love to see that. I also recently created the “You Go, Girl” toolkit to ensure my helpful freebies are all in one place (I may add a little more to that in September).

I’m actually renewing my League Cycling Certification today (Year 6!) and will most likely continue to offer one free in-person class each month to a woman or teen girl. My August class was at the Jolly Avenue Garden for refugees in Clarkston, Georgia for a small group of teens.

Speaking of women, don’t miss this post about why a recent economic impact report was a huge underestimate!

Encouragement

There are a handful of folks considering applying to become bicycle mayors with whom I’ve had in-depth conversations. If you’d like to know more about becoming a bicycle mayor, see here. If you become one in your Metro Atlanta city or county, we can work in tandem where our path and pace aligns while our terms overlap. Reach out if you want to chat about it. I’m happy to encourage you and have, in fact, written letters of recommendation.

I get a lot of other requests to attend meetings and review proposals, etc. and am most likely going to have to start saying no to them. I am also not comfortable in large groups yet due to COVID-19 so you won’t see me at events. These are all areas that may be of interest to your future Metro Atlanta (or city-specific) Bicycle Mayor.

Finally, I am leading Team Trust the Journey in the Atlanta Bike Challenge for the fifth year in a row this Biketober. And I may collaborate with my bicycle mayor colleagues on some upcoming global initiatives. Follow this blog so you don’t miss updates!

Bottom line truth: We are in some dire circumstances right now as multiple crises converge, and I don’t see any urgency to act by most leaders throughout Metro Atlanta. The greenwashing continues to be egregious and pervasive. I have had to accept I don’t have the power to change that. Maybe you do. If so, you are needed.

*Stories move us. We react — and act — as a result of them. They are the very essence of our humanity, needed now more than ever.(continue reading)