Sunday, August 15, 2010

My Atlanta Biking Experience

On my first day of work in Atlanta, this is the Creative Loafing I saw all around Ansley; I was very pleased. In the month that's followed, I've seen a number of cyclists--mostly men, mostly riding on the sidewalk--as I pass by on the bus. That's right, I said the bus. Unfortunately, my experience of cycling in Atlanta has been restricted to observing other cyclists. Perhaps there are morning people who could get up at 5 AM (or later-- since they're morning people and probably wake up with the energy to shower, dress, and eat breakfast faster than me) and ride leisurely to the Park-n-Ride in time to catch the 6:30 AM bus, but I am not one of those people.

I'm also hesitant to hoist my bike onto the bike rack in my nice office attire. I don't have any assurance that I could change into my office attire later, even though I get to work about fifteen minutes early everyday, because the office isn't always opened early enough for me to change clothes in the bathroom that is absolutely not purposed for such a thing in the first place. Still, I have often wished that I had a folding bike--it would be easy for me to carry it in the truck to the Park-n-Ride and stow it on the bus in the seat next to me. (It seems everybody has any empty seat next to them which really makes no sense when think about how stressful driving in Atlanta morning traffic can be).

I must be complimentary about Cobb Community Transit; the bus drivers do all in their power to be on time and are very professional. My wishes for a folding bike are due primarily to the lateness or absence of the MARTA buses. My office isn't that far from the MARTA station where I catch the CCT bus so I could avoid the anxiety of waiting on a late MARTA bus that gets me to the station just in the nick of time to get the CCT bus. Because of budget shortfalls, neither system has buses running very often on the routes that I take. If I miss one or if one is really late, I am seriously screwed. A folding bike would offer me piece of mind in that regard. So would moving to the city, but that goal must be delayed. My job isn't as steady as I thought it was going to be so I can't move yet.

I hope that I can get into the city and set up digs some time next month. I would hate to miss the Seersucker Social!


sac cycle chic said...

That's too bad. Where are you currently living? I lived in Savannah, actually Skidaway Island, from 1986 to 1991. Loved riding my cruiser from home to the supermarket, but it was mostly a golf cart town. LOL

I frequent Atlanta and I can't remember anybody riding a bicycle back them. I miss Georgia!! I so wish I go back to spend sometime there soon.

Folding bikes are definitely expensive. I have my eyes on a bike friday. A friend of mine just bough a raleigh foldable via craigslist for $70. Perfect condition. Who knows, maybe your perfect foldable is out there waiting for you.


The Bronze Bombshell said...

Sac Cycle Chic: I live in Acworth which is probably 30-35 miles outside of Atlanta. I'll have to keep an eye on Craiglist to see if I can get lucky and find a dirt cheap folding bike, if there is really such a thing. I have to save my money for relocating expenses; I just hope I soon find the secure job that will make me feel confident about moving.

I see a pretty good amount of cyclists in Midtown, where I work, considereing how aggressive the drivers can be. In Little Five Points and Virginia Higlands, I see more cyclists and a lot more of them are riding on the street as opposesd to the sidewalk. These neighborhoods are definitely more cyclist-friendly and it shows in the confidence of the cyclists. These are the kinds of places I'm looking at as far as relocating--I figure if the beginning of my ride is pleasant then I'll have time to build up my courage for a ride throughout the rest of the city. Like I said before, I hope I get that chance some time next month.

Thanks for the encouragement!

Step-Through said...

I used to reverse-commute on CCT. I found that it makes a lot of sense to get a 'bus bike', something lightweight and minimalist that is easy to lift onto the rack. It's no place for a cruiser or roadster unfortunately. I think after a couple of times you would get very comfortable with using the rack and could do it in work clothes. Of course, the other option is to get a beater bike and some good locks and just stash it somewhere along your commute. Maybe at the MARTA station. Good luck!

spiderleggreen said...

I think the light or cheap bike might good options for you. It's too bad you can't practice putting a bike on the rack. Our Midtown Greenway Assoc. has one set up in their office so you can give it a try. Don't give up hope. I'm sure you'll find a way to make it work.

She Rides a Bike said...

I'd like a folding bike to take out on out of town trips or down the road to phoenix, which has light rail. Altanta is a very car oriented city despite earlier hope provided by Marta, which the powers that be haven't capitolized on. Too bad. Giant's new Expressway 1 and 2 are two of the more affordable folding bikes I've seen. I'm also considering a Dahon Speed 7.

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