My active time as the first Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor as part of a global consortium with the Amsterdam-based social enterprise BYCS is now over. My final two months in pro-bono service (my term ends on the last day of Biketober 2022) is reserved for any mentorship needed for anyone else who might want to represent our region (or any of its 10 counties/70 cities individually) in that capacity. If that’s you, contact BYCS to apply. Touch base if you need any help.
Here was my first-year executive summary. Here is my second-year summary (I may or may not add photos, TikToks and other clear visual examples):
- RollingWave: Continued the global #RollingWave social media movement (which I originated the prior year);
- Pedal Power with Pattie: Created a second free proprietary bike class, available globally, specifically designed for women and girls (access them both here); Taught free in-person classes monthly;
- BikeBloom: Created upcycled bike tube earrings on plantable paper to generate funds to help more women and girls (especially refugees) access and ride bikes (for which I’m currently developing a tutorial so that women-run cooperatives around the world can utilize this process and product as an economic impact opportunity);
- Representation: Represented Metro Atlanta and the USA in North American and global meetings and initiatives, including quarterly BYCS meetups, Bike Month, Biketober and World Bicycle Day; Have been contacted by/met with numerous state and federal representatives and their teams to share rubber-hits-the-road insight (note: there’s a price tag on it now, and no, your consultants are not currently providing this);
- Truth: Continued to call out and oppose actions by municipalities that represent Compromises that Kill, the Gutter of Failed Imagination, and Sharrow-Minded Thinking (including Bicycle Friendly Community designations and applications to the League of American Bicyclists that misrepresent paint-on-the-road as bike infrastructure); Created a real (not greenwashed for city PR purposes) User’s Guide to Riding a Bike for Transportation in my Metro Atlanta city (which is adaptable for use in your city as well);
- Court Evidence: Continued to document requests for equitable safe-access-for-all. The publicly-available emails from me and others exist as evidence that city halls are fully aware of dangers and are habitually and recklessly misrepresenting access in their cities, if needed in court cases (especially for class action suits against cities across the USA) — here’s my truly final email.
- Lived and Learned Expertise: Continued to highlight quick-change things that can save lives immediately by encouraging more physical and mental health at a time when our country is in crisis on those issues, such as but not limited to: (A). Decriminalizing sidewalk-riding as an act of self-preservation (my Metro Atlanta city is the only one in the State of Georgia that has done this so before you scoff, read this — note that this is NOT a solution but needed immediately while REAL equitable solutions are created); (B). Providing pop-up temporary protection to paint-on-the-road masquerading as bike lanes so that people can experience what dignity feels like (no more Cone of Silence, folks).
However much I hope my small actions in all those areas make a measurable difference for years to come, I know for sure that the most important thing I continue to do each and every day is this radical act:
On a bike.
As a woman.
In a place where that is discouraged in numerous specific life-threatening ways.
I also remind myself, especially after surviving a hit-and-run while riding a bike two years ago (most viewed post ever here on TravelingAtTheSpeedofBike.com), that my only job on a bike is this:
I do continue to be a League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructor (#5284), having just renewed for, what, the seventh year?! And I continue to be a PeopleForBikes Ambassador — in fact, they’ve asked me to take over their Instagram account next weekend — 35.8k followers, here I come! I would be open to consulting with BYCS or individual municipalities in a paid capacity, if the opportunity were mutually beneficial in a way that meets my future goals. (I am currently wrapping up a full-time job with the CDC Foundation in service to the State of Alaska on a wellness initiative and will then be freelancing until March 4, 2023 when I plan to leave for a cross-country investigative trip via bikes, buses, trains, cities, and organic farms. With a duck. Yep.)
If you think things won’t change until the ghost bikes appear, actually, nope. We have four. Nothing has changed. I continue to think something bigger is going on in our society and bike access is just a signal of change that threatens people currently wielding power. The simple truth is this: If we wanted to be truly bike-friendly, we would be. It ain’t hard. We’re not, so what’s up with that? The pervasive overarching question is this: Who gets to occupy space; when, where, how, and why; and who gets to decide that? Short answer: It’s not about the bikes. (You may appreciate Truth at a Crossroads — that’s from 2018 and is just the tip of the iceberg.)
I must, of course, tell you again about the little girls. I’ve written about them before, and this phenomenon continues. They stare at me, in a way that no other demographic does. They wave. They smile. I hope in me perhaps they see a new way forward for themselves. Existing. In public. On bikes. As girls, and future women. I hope, of course, they arrive home alive. And that something I’ve done helps them to do so. This little girl also reminded me of a thing or two more.
In conclusion: Big thanks to the Metro Atlanta city councilors, nonprofit leaders, bike advocacy folks, small business owners, and others who supported my application and to all those with whom I’ve crossed paths and collaborated these past two years close to home and around the world (especially the wonderful Canadian bicycle mayors). BYCS is doing amazing work, and it would benefit our region to stay involved.
As always . . .
Trust the journey,
P.S. Don’t let them tame you. The world needs your wild. If you rode a bike as a kid, you know the feeling. That. (If you’ve forgotten what that feels like, the first chapter of my book will most likely remind you, as will simply getting on a bike again.) If you’ve been advocating for safe bike access for awhile (hello and thank you), it’s easy to lose sight of the very reason you ride a bike. Don’t. Wild joy (in all its conundrum) makes life worth living, now more than ever.