Bicycling in and around Atlanta.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Rainy Day Bicycle Maintenance

Ahh, the smell of fresh grease.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The End of Euroquest

For the last 10 years I’ve enjoyed the weekly broadcast from Radio Netherlands called Euroquest.  Euroquest presented the kind of stories you just wouldn’t get anywhere else, yodeling, cherry pit spitting, and tiny islands in the middle of the Elbe seeking independence from Germany.  But today the very last Euroquest aired; it’s available as a podcast if you would like to see just what made Euroquest so great.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bike Shops

John over at Bike Year has an excellent post on bike shops that cater to utility cyclists, or the lack thereof.    Speaking of bike shops that cater to utility cyclists there’s always Hiawatha Cyclery.  Now rumor has it that a couple of the intown bike shops do cater the fringe that view the bicycle as an effective means of transportation, but out here on the edge of town it’s all carbon fiber frames and look pedals.  Many bike shops don’t have bike racks and have been known to give me the look of death when I pushed my heavily laden commuter through the door.  In fact the most utility cyclists friendly store in this area isn’t a bike shop at all, it’s REI.   

The most dangerous time to ride

Based on my experience 10 minutes ago, I’ve come to the conclusion that lunchtime is the most dangerous time of the day to ride.  Why?  First, drivers seem to speed more at lunchtime and without the rush hour gridlock to slow them down, they blast down neighborhood streets at twice the speed limit.  Secondly, far too many of them seem to be taking multi-tasking to a whole new level by simultaneously eating, talking of the telephone, and/or emailing on their blackberries.  Finally there are the readers, I have a special contempt for road readers but when they combine reading, driving, and eating well that’s just too much.  Please, put down your newspapers and your novels, and just concentrate on driving. 

Monday, December 18, 2006

Bike vs. Cars: Money

First in the interest of full discloser: My wife isn’t very fond of bikes.  She looks upon my bicycle-centric lifestyle as just another one of my numerous eccentricities. 


So when I told her about my little rack disaster this morning I could hear her rolling her eyes over the phone.  You see she’s under the impression that I spend way too much money on cycling related activities.  Let’s look at the numbers.


My wife’s car payment: $400 per month

Insurance of my wife’s care: $100 per month

Taxes on car: $15 per month

Gas for car: $100 per month


That’s $615 per month, excluding everything I’ve forgotten.


Now I have three bikes none of which were purchased new.  In fact I’ve never spent more than $70 on a bike.  I have a few jersey’s, some shorts, leg warmers, ear warmers, panniers, a rack, a messenger bag, lights and a few other accessories that were all purchased on clearance.  In fact if you put everything I’ve spent on cycling as an adult together they still don’t equal one month of car ownership.  But owning a car is viewed as a necessity, which it isn’t, while owning a bike is viewed as a luxury.  If you took the $615 one might spend on a car you could buy a bike a month and have money left over.  The more you think about it the more America’s car-centric culture just doesn’t make sense.

Rack Disaster

This morning on my ride to work, I heard a snap.  Then my bike became real sluggish.  I looked back to see that my rack had broken and was now rubbing against my rear tire.  I stopped, pulled by bike up on the sidewalk, and examined the damage.  Sure enough my rack was broken.  I reached into my panniers pulled out some tape and a couple of pencils to make a brace.  10 minutes later I was on my way home, my improvised rack support held and once home I hung up my bike and hopped in the car.  I’m pretty sure I have a spare rack in the closet but this rack isn’t that old, cost a lot more than the rack it replaced, and darn it I expected it to last forever.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Electra Amsterdam

The Electra Amsterdam has arrived.  The Classic 3 version is made of lugged steel and features commute friendly accessories such as lights, a rack, fenders, and a fully enclosed chain guard.  Now once upon a time I was pretty down on Dutch commuters, thinking them too heavy for hilly American cities, but then I had one of my trademark changes of heart.  The problem isn’t hills, although they don’t help, the problem is that we Americans are simply in too much of a hurry.  Even those of us who commute by bike, speed along rarely taking time to enjoy ride.  Well I’ve decided I’m too old and too slow to keep up with society much less the local club riders I see on my commute.  Make no mistake, I have no doubt that when the Amsterdam arrives it will be heavy and slow, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Good Idea


According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle serious consideration is being given to tearing up the I-75/85 connector through downtown Atlanta.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

2007 Tour de Georgia Route

You heard it hear first.


April 16
Peachtree City to Macon
April 17
Thomaston to Rome
April 18
Rome to Chattanooga TN
April 19
ITT Chickamauga to Lookout Mountain
April 20
Dalton to Brasstown Bald
April 21
Lake Lanier Islands to Stone Mountain Park
April 22
Atlanta (circuit)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Mole Man Attacks

Well here's the newest stupid idea for solving Atlanta's traffic problem:


Yes, the Reason Foundation has put forth a plan that involves new toll roads and tunnels that would carry Atlanta drivers around the city. What's really shocking is how much support this crazy plan is getting from Atlanta's conservative pundits. They love the idea because in theory it would be a public/private partnership, which would allow a private company to invest and collect tolls from these new roads. Now here's the thing, if you're going to spend billions of dollars digging tunnels around the city, why not just run trains through them. I know, I know, you might have to sit next to a brown person but trust me it'll be ok.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Tour de Georgia 2007 News

There are some changes in store for the 2007 Tour de Georgia.  Most noticeable is that Dahlonega will not be a host city.  Evidently the $30,000 price tag for being a host city in 07 was just too much for the small town.  While I understand Dahlonega’s budgetary problems, I’m sure that the crowds generated by the tour pumped thousands of dollars into the local economy.  The route in full is to be announced November 21.


Monday, October 23, 2006

A Big Trip

Val, who I have known since she was just a kid, is on a trip around the world.  You can follow her and Kevin’s adventures at Big Trip Blog.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Rollerblades + MARTA Beat Driving

Yesterday I witnessed a guy on rollerblades demonstrating the futility of driving in Atlanta.  The rollerblading guy was moving much faster than the midtown traffic and once I saw him enter the North Avenue MARTA station I pretty sure no matter where he was going he would beat those poor souls trapped in their cars.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Both of my kids are pretty artistically talented. The tough part for me has been encouraging them to explore their artistic side without being overbearing. You see years ago I passed up the opportunity to go to art school. And when I say I passed up opportunity I mean there's no way in hell I could have paid for it. So after passing on art school I pretty much put up the pencils and brushes. I've always kind of regretted that and as I watch my kids develop as artists it's real tough for me not say every five minutes, "you should go to art school." I don't want to be the kind of parent that lives vicariously through their kids, although I suspect we all do to some degree, so I'm doing my best to let both my kids find their own way. Here's a little sample from my youngest. She says it's a scene from FLCL. Originally done in pencils, she scanned it and then inked and colored it in Photoshop.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Decatur Bicycle Workshop

I think most people would agree that Decatur is one of Atlanta’s cycling hotspots.  If you live in Decatur or just want to learn more about cycling in the city, mark this on your calendar.


Bicycle Workshop
Saturday, October 21, 2006
The Solarium at Historic Scottish Rite
321 West Hill Street
Decatur, GA 30030

This two-part workshop will first offer participants the chance to view project displays and provide input. Attendees can then hit the streets with us as we ride along a 4.5 mile route in Decatur. Experienced leaders will be on hand to guide the group. Bring your comments and your bike! All children under sixteen must wear a helmet.

For more information, please contact Sycamore Consulting at 404-377-9147 or


Unfortunately I will be in the middle of a much less enjoyable task Saturday morning.



Neither Rain nor Dark of Night

We’re having our first cool fall rain of the season.  I would like to think cool weather is here to stay but I’ve got a sneaking feeling we’ll have at least one more round warm summer like days.  Way back when I first started riding to work I hated riding in the rain.  Now it doesn’t bother me.  I’ve found I would much rather feel the rain on my face than watch it bounce harmlessly of a car windshield.  This morning I arrived at work with my yellow rain cape flapping in the wind and my fellow corporate wage slaves looked at me with pity.  They don’t understand.  They buy bigger and bigger houses that are farther and farther away from work.  They spend hours a day stuck in traffic.  They spend thousands of dollars a year on their cars.  They think they’re living the American Dream.  And they pity me because I’m a little wet.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sheldon Brown's Health

You may or may not have heard that web bicycling guru Sheldon Brown is having some pretty serious health issues.  The details are here


Friday, October 06, 2006

17th Street Bike Lanes: a good idea gone wrong

I had a chance to ride around Atlantic Station recently.  For those who don’t know Atlantic Station is Atlanta’s newest and largest mixed use development located on the site of the old Atlantic Steel mill.  As part of the development “bike lanes” were added to 17th Street running through Atlantic Station and over the 17th Street Bridge into midtown.  The problem is these bike lanes are horrendous.  They are way too narrow, I didn’t have a ruler but I would estimate them to be between 2 and 2.5 feet wide.  This puts them inline with the pseudo-bike lanes of Interstate North Parkway in northwest Fulton County which I’ve found to be more dangerous than taking the lane.  In fact because of the narrowness of the bike lanes I choose to ride in the bus lane much of the time. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bike Lust

Todd of Stokemonkey fame causes a serious case of bike lust when he splashes the new Surly frame all over his blog.

Sans Car

A lot of my neighbors don’t understand how I can ride my bike nearly everywhere.  So I’ve made a list of available services within a five mile radius.  Now I have a lot of problems with the area I live in but accessibility isn’t one of them.


Within 1 mile:

1 Convenience store

7 restaurants

1 Sports Authority

2 parks

1 Circuit City

1 Office Depot

1 Toy store

1 Post Office

1 Day Care center

And soon 1 performing arts center


Within 2 miles:

All of the above plus:

1 Bike shop

1 Bagel Shop

1 Coffee Shop

1 Barnes and Noble

3 Sandwich shops

1 Boston Market

5 more restaurants

2 Drug Stores

1 Supermarket

3 Athletic clubs

1 Post Office

1 Multiplex

2 shopping malls

1 Bus Transfer station

Numerous office buildings


Within 3 miles

There’s so much within three miles I can’t even begin to list it all.


That being said this area is rather hilly so 3 miles is a good ride but it’s certainly doable by anyone with a modicum of fitness.  So why is that people still refuse to get out of their cars for these short trips?  Certainly there’s an environmental factor.  In the summer it’s tough to walk your dog without building up a sweat much less ride a fully loaded bike to the store.  But I think the real reason is mostly cultural.  Atlanta’s a car town, we’ve got some of the worst traffic in the nation and still people resist any kind of public transportation.  Maybe Atlanta needs 5 dollar a gallon gas to change the way we move.  Or then again maybe that wouldn’t do it either.    


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Walking with Shortwave

Along with cycling I enjoy a good walk. Of course the sidewalks
around here are littered with trash and broken glass, making it
hazardous for my little dog. Until a few years ago we didn't have
sidewalks so I suppose I should count my blessings. What surprises
me is that some of the same hostility I get while bicycling is also
directed at me when walking. I've had garbage thrown and horns
honked along with the usual screams of get a car or something, I
can't really hear them when they're passing at 40 mph. So what's the
deal is a car the only acceptable way to get around Atlanta?

About 12 years ago my wife bought me a small portable shortwave radio
for Christmas. I've been hooked every since. Shortwave brings me
news and entertainment from all over the world. The value of getting
news from another nations perspective is incredible. CNN/Fox and the
rest don't tend to be critical of US policy but Radio Havana sure
is. In fact shortwave's coverage of international news is far
superior to anything you'll get on the US airwaves. Broadcasts range
from the silly, "did you know that Princess Maxima of the Netherlands
is pregnant," to the profound, "Somalis resist the takeover of their
town by the Council of Islamic Courts." So if you're interested in
getting a new perspective on the news check it out.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Road Treasures

One of the things about bike commuting is that you’re much more aware of the junk on the road than you would be in a car.  This inevitably leads to the discovery of what I call Road Treasures.  Some are accidental losses others are deliberately discarded but it’s always weird to find something in perfect condition lying in the gutter.  


Here’s a list of some the things I’ve found over the years:

Numerous wrenches


An unopened pack of clothes hangers

A wallet (returned to owner)

A photo album (never claimed)

A homemade CD of a live reggae performance

An IDE hard drive

A videotape with contents not fit for a family blog

An estwing hammer

A diaper bag full of used diapers (eww)

And best of all

A spoke wrench no doubt lost by a fellow bicyclist.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Bike Rack Update

Perimeter Mall the east side of Macy’s, near Magianos, a nice rack with room for four bikes.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


I was having a great ride this morning. It was cooler than normal which encouraged me to ride hard and fast all the way to work. Unfortunately when I got to the last light before my office everything changed. As I pulled up to the light I took the lane and waited for it to change. A few seconds later a Toyota Tacoma pick-up pulled behind me and in my opinion a little close to my rear wheel. When the light turned green I hammered my way across the intersection, taking the lane the whole way because once I cross the street I have to take an immediate left. Then I hear the pick-up's engine gunning, it sounds like he's flooring it. He swerves around me and left hooks me before my turn. As he turns he shouts out the window that I should get an f***** car and takes off down the street. I don't know why this set me off, maybe it's because I still had plenty of adrenaline from the ride, but I was literally ready to fight the guy.

I don't understand what was bothering this guy. I was at the light before he arrived. I hammered my way across the intersection and the speed limit on these roads is only 25 at most waiting behind me would have delayed the guy by 5 or 10 seconds, but he still felt the need to yell at me.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

It was a dark and rainy night

Kent Peterson has a great post about riding at night and/or in the rain.  Check it out.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

I've Probably Said This Before

But it’s worth repeating.  Spring and Fall bring great cycling weather to Georgia.  Gorgeous weather today.


Today's Spam Poetry


coming back to the bed, she sat down

began stroking Florys bare shoulder

Prestige, Mr Flory, is like a barometer

A nod and a wink will accomplish more

Than a thousand official reports.


Hes been saying the same thing ever since the Jubilee

Alone, alone, the bitterness of being alone!

The headman reflected, scratching the calf of his left leg with his right big toenail.


It was years since he had enjoyed a meal.

The jungle was dried-up and lifeless at this time of year.

But the trees avenge themselves

The cigarette that had dropped burned down

acrid smell, browning the paper.



Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Poetry from today’s spam:


Now, Eureka,

show me the way to those wings

How many dollars is that?

Dollar Americaine?

Yes; United States money


Friday, September 08, 2006

Foggy Morning Ride Haiku

Pedaling to work

The fog engulfs me like fire

Burning me with joy

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Stupid Ad

This morning while I was getting ready for work I saw an incredibly stupid ad on the television.  It basically consisted of a businessman in a suit and tie riding a pink children’s bike down the road and then pulling into a parking garage, followed by the tag “Need something.”  What made this ad especially stupid was the words that appeared at the bottom of the screen as the man pulled into the parking garage, “Do not attempt.”  What the hell does this mean?  Do not attempt to ride a kid’s bike; don’t tell that to the Zoobombers.  Do not attempt to ride a bike in a suit; don’t tell that to the Dutch.  Do not attempt to ride a bike into a parking garage; don’t tell that to me.  Everyday I commute to work by bicycle I ride into the parking garage where our two bike racks are located.  Maybe the message is do not attempt to ride a bike if you’re an adult, you really need a car.  In fact on reflection I’m sure that’s it.    

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

July 2006 Bar Exam

The questions from the July 2006 Georgia Bar Examination have finally been posted to the Georgia Bar Admissions website.  If you’re curious take a look here.  What’s the Georgia Bar Exam like?  Well just read the opening sentence of the first question from the July exam, “A member of the Georgia legislature was blinded in one eye when a player accidentally poked him in the eye during a basketball game.”


That my friends is comedy gold.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A few photos from a short ride

This is the new Cobb Performing Arts Center and soon home to the Atlanta Opera. Evidently the Opera's move from downtown to the suburbs has caused quite a bit of controversy from the supporters of the opera.

Have I mentioned we have a lot of hills around here? This one is so steep at the top that it's tough to keep the front wheel down.

Vinings Georgia also known as Cobb's fake small town.

Down by the river.

This is the usually very busy Cobb Parkway.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bicycle Riding Candidate for Governor

Unfortunately he’s not in Georgia


I was reading the Economist when my eyes were drawn to a photo of a man standing astride an Xtracycle. Rod Byran, an independent candidate for governor in Arkansas, is getting international press with his outsider campaign. Mr. Bryan believes that making it easier for people to ride bicycles would improve the quality of life, make everyone healthier, and lessen Arkansas's obesity rate.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

You sir have my respect

I just saw a cyclist ride by Moe’s wearing a black jersey and black shorts when it’s 93 degrees and sunny outside.

From the comments section

John from Savannah fills us in on the Georgia State Bicycle & Pedestrian Conference, October 24-25 at the Decatur Holiday Inn.  Thanks John!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A good sign?

Rising oil prices drive Professor Gordon Smith to bike to work.  Will others follow?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

It's Hot All Over

Here in the south we’re used to the heat but when you see temperatures like 97 in Chicago and New York you know it’s a nationwide heat wave. 

Monday, July 31, 2006

Friday, July 28, 2006

Jennifer Ewing

I wanted to post about Jennifer Ewing yesterday but I just couldn’t find the right words.  Jennifer was murdered while on her regular ride, a fifty mile run on the Silver Comet Trail.  Her partially clothed body and bike were found just off the trail in Paulding County.  I can make all kinds of lofty pronouncements about not living in fear but the fact remains that Jennifer is dead today just because she was a woman and she was alone.  I have a 13 year old daughter who is a great rider and soon she’ll grow tired of having to wait around for dad to catch up and want to ride off on her own.  I always thought that when that day comes I would be able to let her go, today I’m less sure.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


No sooner than I write that last post MSNBC posts the news, it was Floyd.

You knew this was coming

After missing Acht van Chaam and now the Grand Prix Jyske Bank race speculation is flying that Floyd Landis in the unknown Tour rider who failed his doping test.  I love how people jump to the doping conclusion even though we all know Floyd’s hip is in bad shape.  I really hope this doesn’t turn out to be true because it would really ruin what I thought was a great Tour.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


The Atlanta Business Chronicle is reporting the flex-car is coming to Atlanta.  The pilot program kicked off at Emory on June 19th.  More details to come.

Monday, July 10, 2006

A good ride and around the cycling blog world

Saturday I had to run over to REI so instead of spending 15 minutes to drive there in the car I spent 45 minutes riding the bike.  Traffic was light and it wasn’t too warm so it had all the makings of a great ride.  I saw a few cyclists on Mt. Vernon Highway, I waved at joggers on Heards Ferry Road, I enjoyed being outside and exercising, in short I enjoyed everything that makes cycling such a great way to get around.  My only complaint was a section of Mt. Vernon where they had torn up the road for the construction of a new neighborhood, it was four hundred feet of grooves and being peppered by rocks.


Over at Oil is For Sissies, we have a great discussion about cul-de-sacs and what they mean to those of us who bicycle for transportation.  This is a real problem here in North Atlanta, it’s damn hard to find truly connected neighborhoods.


Interestingly enough Todd over at Clever Chimp touches on a similar theme.


At Two Cities Two Wheels Matt express frustration at being refused service at a drive-through while on his bike.  This has happened to me at Wendy’s but never at the bank.


Commute By Bike reviews Ergon Performance Grips.


Let’s Ride Year Round has a rainy Monday ride.




Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Tour de France Live Tracker

Here’s a pretty neat way to spend your morning at the office.

Friday, June 30, 2006



Peep's New Bike

Last night we put the finishing touches on Peep’s new bike.  Of course Peep’s new bike is one of my old bikes; we built up my old Gary Fisher Wahoo frame into a nice all around bike for my youngest kid.  It’s probably just a hair to tall for her but she’s still growing and I’ve always preferred my frames to be on the big side.  This weekend we’re going to ride over to the Silver Comet Trail and give it a proper shakedown. 


Building this bike with my kid has been a great experience.  Not only did it provide a lot of father daughter time it also allowed her to learn the basics of bicycle mechanics including how to use most of my tools.  Photos to follow soon.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Midtown & Downtown Bike Suitability Map

There’s a new bike suitability map available covering the midtown and downtown areas.  You can download it here.


A big tip of the hat to Atlanta Bicycle Commuter for this one.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Expressway Craziness

What’s crazier than making I-75 in Cobb County 23 lanes wide?  How about adding extra elevated lanes to I-285 across the top end perimeter?  Despite the huge costs of these projects nothing seems to indicate that Atlanta is anywhere near breaking its addiction to the automobile.  Now the Cobb County project is priced at 2 billion and the elevated lanes have to at least cost that much, so imagine how many of these we could build with the same amount of money?  Imagine a climate and grade controlled bicycle expressway that would link residential, business, and retail areas.  Visit Velo-city to learn more about the idea.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Whoo-Hoo a code red has been called for tomorrow.


Because of the predicted concentrations of GROUND-LEVEL OZONE, air quality in metro-Atlanta is predicted to be "Unhealthy." In this range, outdoor air is more likely to be unhealthy for most people, especially people with heart or lung disease (including asthma), seniors and children. Most people should restrict their outdoor exertion to morning or late evening hours when ozone is low, to avoid high ozone exposures.


Mercury Keeps Rising

They say it may hit 100F today in Atlanta.  Remember to take it easy and drink a lot of water.  John must be roasting down in Savannah.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Scary Experience This Morning


I was nearly involved in an accident this morning.  I was waiting at a traffic light and had positioned myself in the center of the lane because I was continuing straight through the intersection.  When stopped like this I make it a habit to periodically check my mirror to make sure someone isn’t pulling right up on my rear wheel, so imagine my expression when I saw an older Chevy Caprice bearing down on me apparently not slowing down.  Instantly I decide to filter past the line of cars on the right and it’s a good thing I did.  The Caprice slammed on its brakes skidding into the SUV that was now on my left.  It’s probably no surprise that the driver was talking on his cell phone which flew out of his hand and hit the windshield of his car so hard it cracked.  I made sure the drivers were ok then waited around and gave to cops my statement before continuing on to work.  If I hadn’t moved I would have been a cycling pizza kind of scary to think about.  Of course if I had been in my car I would have been smashed anyway because I wouldn’t have been able to move around the stopped vehicles.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

More on the heat

We’ve got another stretch of 90 degree days coming up so why not talk yet again about beating the heat.  First as I’ve said time and time again, if you ride in Georgia in the summer you’re going to sweat.  Get used to it.  Sweat is nature’s way of making sure you don’t fry your insides.  Are you self-conscious about sweating?  Don’t be.  Look around you, people sweat buckets just walking across a parking lot.  Your sweat is no different than theirs; they walk into a store dripping sweat so can you.  Drink, often and more than you think you need.  It’s all too easy not to drink enough and that’s a sure recipe for summertime disaster.  Go slow.  I just returned for a nice three mile ride and I didn’t sweat that much.  The secret, I went impossibly slow.  On the last and steepest hill before I returned to work my speedometer read in the low single digits.  Take time to stop and smell the roses.  When I ride I tend to stop a lot.  I stop and talk to my friends and neighbors, I stop to take pictures, and sometimes I just stop to cool off.  Take off your helmet.  When you’re stopped that is.  The helmet is a big insulator for your head and in the summer it should come off the minute you step off the bike.


This weekend: Fathers days shopping spree. 

Friday, June 09, 2006

Why Oh Why

You see me approaching the intersection at a fair speed.  We make eye contact.  Then after watching me get closer and closer you then decide you need to turn in front of me.  Just tell me why you couldn’t wait the five seconds it would take me to clear the intersection.  Yeah, I’m talking to you blue Volvo on Windy Ridge Parkway this morning. 

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Playing with Google Trends

So Google can rank searches by the region requesting them.  Hmmm, I wonder Atlanta will rank.


Traffic: Atlanta #9


Hummer: Atlanta #9 (Caracas is #1?)


Anti-Christ: Atlanta #10


Jesus: Atlanta #9


Revelations Atlanta #8


Left Behind Atlanta #7 (Do you notice a trend?)


Christ: Atlanta #6


Pollen: Atlanta #2


The Big Chicken: Atlanta #1 (and bizarrely London#3)


Lil John: Atlanta #1 (Yeah!)



I should have left well enough alone

My old saddle was showing its age.  It still worked fine but it looked like crud, so I bought a new one attached it and then took it out for a ride.  It only took a few minutes to realize that in the installation I had wacked my seat so far out of adjustment that it just wasn’t comfortable.  So I got off the bike and started making adjustments 24 hours later the seat still isn’t right.  I consider myself a fairly competent bike mechanic but this is giving me fits.  Late last night I thought I had fixed the problem but then on the ride in this morning I felt a distinct numbness in the groin.  So I’ll be doing some minor adjustments before I leave for home and hopefully this won’t be a reoccurring problem.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Weekend Roundup: Home Depot, Sunscreen, Kids, and Columns Drive

This weekend was pretty active riding wise.  I had to run several errands on the bike including a trip to Home Depot in Vinings where there was no bike rack so I wound up cabling my bike to one of their prefabricated children’s area thingajig.  After that I decided to take my youngest out to work on her street riding skills we cruised around area roads before cutting through Cochran Shoals over to Columns Drive.  Much to my surprise I found that the bike lanes on Columns have been expanded.  Previously these “bike lanes” had been too narrow for even one bike now they resemble the kind of nice bike lane you find in more progressive cities.  Oh yeah, remember it’s Georgia and it’s summer if you forget to put on sunscreen you’ll burn.  Trust me I speak from experience.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Is MARTA Smarta

Last night my wife and I took MARTA to the Braves game and I was reminded instantly of Atlanta’s public transportation failings.  First I have to comment about MARTA’s new Breeze Card system.  Designed to reduce toll jumpers I was shocked to find three out of the five brand new Breeze Card dispensers were out of order.  That combined with a multi-level menu for purchasing the card made for a long wait to buy our passes.  Speaking of long waits, once we acquired our cards we were treated to a long wait on the platform waiting for the next southbound train.  Of course Atlanta had the wisdom to design a rapid transit system that doesn’t have a station adjacent to its major sports stadium.  So after leaving the train you have the option of spending an extra dollar to take the Brave’s Shuttle to the stadium or walking the roughly one mile from the Georgia State station.  We decided to walk.  Then on the return trip there was no announcement that trains to North Fulton weren’t running through downtown.  If we hadn’t gotten on another northbound train we would have been sitting on that platform for a long time.  In all a one way trip downtown via MARTA took just over an hour, about the same amount of time it takes for me to get there by bike.  If Atlanta’s ever going to get out of traffic jam it’s going to need to have a great public transportation alternative.  And right now MARTA isn’t it.


The one good thing about MARTA is that it’s very bike friendly.  Racks on all the buses and bikes are welcome on trains.

Atlanta: Most Expensive City for Commuters

Well you knew this was coming.  According to Sperling’s BestPlaces Atlanta is the most expensive city in the nation for commuters.  According to Sperling’s a family with two commuters will spend $5,772 per year.  Not surprisingly 8 out of the 10 most expensive cities for commuters are in the south.   

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Heat Wave Continues

92 degrees and a code orange smog alert, can it get any better?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Kent Peterson Makes the News

Kent has the details here.  And I thought I having two teenage kids and just one car was tough.

Sweating Buckets

Well summer hit with a vengeance this weekend.  My holiday ride in 90 degree temperatures produced volumes of sweat even when I was riding at low speeds.  Summer may be the hardest time for cycling in the south, especially if you see your bike as a means of transportation and not just as a means of exercise in the early morning and late afternoon.  Midday trips to the grocery store can leave you feeling less than fresh.  So what to do?  For my part I tend to just deal with it.  I have no qualms about walking into a store dripping with sweat.  You’ll find that being sweaty isn’t the end of the world.  The worst thing that will happen is that you’ll get a few dirty looks from people who look like they don’t know the meaning of the word exercise.  I won’t lie between the heat and the hills, summer cycling can be a challenge in Atlanta but it’s a challenge that can be overcome with the right attitude.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Smog Alert

Today we got the first of what will no doubt be many smog alerts this summer.  How do you ride with a smog alert?  Usually on red and purple days I ride very slowly on the afternoon commute when the smog is at its worst.  If I feel the need to ride hard or fast I make sure to do that in the morning on my way to work.  Don’t let smog keep you from riding but don’t ignore the health consequences of breathing dirty air.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Bike Rack Update

Cobb Chamber of Commerce: No bike rack.


The irony is that the CCC is also home to the Cumberland Commuter Club an organization created to promote alternative transportation solutions in the area.

Running Out of Gas

Last night on way home I was struck with a sudden weakness, my legs became wobbly, and I felt if I couldn’t make it up the next hill.  In short, I bonked.  Perhaps it was my lighter than average lunch, or maybe it was that candy bar I unwisely consumed before heading home, or was it the longer than normal commute combined with the warmer than expected temperatures.  Whatever the reason by the time I pulled into the Publix parking lot I felt like I couldn’t make it another inch.


So what did I do?  I did some shopping at Publix, drank some Gatorade, ate some jelly beans, and fifteen minutes later I was ready to go again.  What’s the point?  Well if you ride long enough eventually you’ll have a day where you get tired and feel like you can’t finish the ride.  Remember there’s no shame in taking a break.  A lot of people push themselves too hard especially in the summer.  If you don’t listen to your body you’re setting yourself up bad situation.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Lunchtime Rides

I often like to take a little spin at lunch.  It gets me out of the office and gets my heart pumping again.  But as you can imagine I don’t want to get too sweaty so here’s what I do. 


  1. Plan my route carefully to avoid big climbs near the end.
  2. Ride slow.  I’m not out to break any records on my lunch break.
  3. Have a destination.  Usually I ride to my house, a local eatery, or the park just down the road.
  4. Have fun.  My job stinks so a little mid-day cycling makes it almost bearable.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Backpacks, Messenger Bags, and Panniers

When I first started riding to work I threw all of my clothes in a backpack, the result was a very wet back when I arrived at my destination.  Then I switched to a messenger style bag which left a smaller but still very noticeable wet spot on my back.  Finally I wised up and bought a rack and some panniers.  Atlanta like most of the south tends to be hot and humid in the summer and while backpacks and messenger bags are convenient they can make riding downright uncomfortable.  Panniers while less convenient than either a backpack or messenger bags let you ride longer and more comfortably.  If you’re interested in trying panniers but don’t want to spend a lot of money check ebay for a second-hand set.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

WSJ Reports on Bike Commuting

Like all good office drones I read the WSJ daily.  Today on page D1 they report on the growing trend of bicycle commuting.  Matt over at Two Cities Two Wheels has kindly posted the story for all to enjoy.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

MIA: Atlanta Bike Racks

Every time I ride to the nearest branch of the library I'm greeted by a truly rare site, a bike rack.  Five years ago Creative Loafing ran this article about Atlanta's bike rack debacle.  While the situation has improved it still needs to be better.  What can we do?  The most important thing is to encourage the use of bikes as transportation.  More bikes on the road means more bike arriving at local businesses.  When businesses see their customers arriving by bike they’ll be more willing to listen to requests for bicycle accommodations.


As a public service I’ll start reporting which places have bike racks and where there really should be one.


The first list:

REI Perimeter (retail shopping):  Bike rack capable Capacity 3 bikes.

2300 Wildwood (office building): Bike rack Capacity 2 bikes.

Cobb County Library Vinings Branch: Old fashioned wheel bender type bike rack.  Capacity 5 bikes

Cobb County Library Main Branch Marietta: 2 Old fashioned wheel bender type bike racks. Capacity 10 bikes

Midtown Place (retail shopping): Several old fashioned wheel bender type bike racks.  Capacity over 20 bikes.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Carrying things

Joe over at Cycler’s Life has some great ideas.

Monday, May 08, 2006

When is a bicycle like a car?

In most states the answer is when you operate it after drinking.  But this case tells us that a bicycle isn’t like a car when it comes to search and seizure. 

What Happens When It Rains

Here’s a little story about the value of fenders.  Thursday I was fiddling with my bike and I wound up taking off the fenders.  Well Friday on the way home from work it rained, hard.  It’s been so long since I’ve ridden in the rain without fenders I had forgotten how terrible the spray from the road was.  So Friday night after cleaning and drying my bike I reattached my fenders and swore never to take them off again.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Hawk

This morning on my ride into work I was spotted a large hawk standing on the sidewalk enjoying his breakfast.  As I approached the hawk left his meal and flew to the lowest branch of a nearby tree.  He watched me pedal past with a definite; don’t even think about stopping and eating my food, look.  Once I passed I looked back to see him glide out of the tree and resume his meal. 


Thursday, May 04, 2006


It’s that time of year again as temperatures rise cycling inevitably leads perspiration.  So how do you cope when your morning commute leaves you looking like you just ran the marathon?  Some people are lucky enough to have showers at their work; these of course are the best option allowing you to cool off and clean up at the same time.  If showers aren’t available you’ll probably be surprised how well baby wipes work.  Running a baby wipe over the back of the neck, the small of your neck, your groin area, and your armpits leaves you feeling almost as refreshed as a shower.  When I first started commuting I packed a small baggie with a wet wash cloth and an ice cube.  When I arrived I would cool and clean myself with the cloth.  It was a great low cost solution for dealing with sweat.  Finally there are those little bottles of hand sanitizers.  I keep one in my desk drawer for use in a pinch.  These often contain alcohol so they can cool you off but too much may dry your skin.  Hand sanitizers are great for cooling off after running out for lunch.  The cooling provided by the evaporation of the alcohol feels great after being under the midday sun. 



If you ride in Atlanta anytime after April you’re going to sweat but with proper planning it’s not an obstacle to bicycle commuting.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Metro Atlanta suffers from a lot of what I like to call Can’t Get There From Here Syndrome or CGTFHS. CGTFHS is often found in cities and towns that have experienced a lot of growth over a short period of time. The main symptom of CGTFHS is old neighborhoods being cut in half by either new expressways or new limited access arterial roads. I present exhibit A. Behold Hazelwood Road.

Once a quiet neighborhood of shotgun homes filled with workers for the nearby Lockheed Plant, Hazelwood was literally cut in half by the construction of the GA 120 loop. My crude black mark shows where the road used to be. This bisection did more than just cut neighborhood in half, it also funneled more traffic onto the two roads that weren’t cut in half by the new road. Commuter cyclists often spend a lot of time planning their routes to avoid the busiest roads but here in Atlanta it seems that traffic planners in their car centric view seemed determined to funnel everyone on to the major arteries.

There’s another kind of CGTFHS and this one is caused by too many cars. Behold Stillwell Road.

Stillwell Road is a small twisty road that winds its way in Vinings Georgia. Over the years as traffic in the area increased the residents on Stillwell Road got tired of long lines of cars using the road as a shortcut. So the road was cut in half. Traffic engineers just put a big pile of dirt at the half way point in the road. Now this kind of CGTFHS can actually be boon to cyclists. A pile of dirt isn’t really an obstacle for a bike and the quiet, hilly, and twisty road is a nice ride. The problem is if I hadn’t lived here for years I wouldn’t know that Stillwell was cut in half by a pile of dirt and not a creek or gulley. Google maps is a great resource but because your bike can get you places a car can’t sometimes you have to take a chance to find a new route.

In a bit of irony Stillwell Road became so pleasant and quiet that a developer has recently decided to build a massive condo project on the road.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

15 Minutes

What a difference 15 minutes makes.  This morning due to a confluence of events I left for work 15 minutes later than I regularly do.  I was instantly reminded why picking your commuting time is almost as important as picking your commuting route.  15 minutes later traffic had increased by at least thirty percent.  15 minutes later I was right-hooked four times in two miles.  15 minutes later, a young lady applying makeup while driving rode dangerously close to my rear wheel for far too long.


When I finally arrived at work I was shocked to see another bike at the rack.  For only the tenth time in four years this building’s bike rack is at full capacity-2.   

Monday, May 01, 2006

Bike Month Day 1

Bike Month got off to a smashing start this morning with the total closure of I-285 south in Cobb County.  As me and my bike rolled along Interstate North Parkway I felt a tinge of pity for all those people trapped in their little metal boxes. 


Friday, April 28, 2006

Fair Weather

There are few things as grand as Atlanta in Spring and Fall.  Cool sunny days abound encouraging longer and longer rides.  But just around the corner is the heat and humidity of Summer.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Carrying groceries on a bike can be a pain but it doesn’t have to be.  As with almost all other loads a bike rack is a big help.  Some people like baskets others prefer panniers.  If you don’t have a rack you can always use a trailer.  And if you don’t have a rack and don’t have a trailer, there’s always the backpack or messenger bag.  No matter how you transport your food the most important thing is to plan ahead.  There’s nothing worse than buying more than you can carry and having to bicycle home with a frozen chicken dangling from a plastic bag hooked around your handlebars.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Bike Month Kick Off

The Atlanta Bicycle Campaign is kicking off Bike Month this Friday April 28th.  There will be a three mile fun ride and lunch on the ABC.  All the details are here but some poor souls like yours truly won’t be able to make it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Bicycle Commuter Act

Under Sec. 132 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 companies may receive tax benefits for subsidizing alternative transportation for their employees.  Now Senator Ron Wyden (D Oregon) has introduced a bill that would place bicycle commuters into this tax advantaged group.  You can read about the Bicycle Commuter Act here.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Tour de Georgia Round Up and Gas Prices

Well as predicted here Floyd Landis took the win in stunning style, having to borrow a wheel from a teammate to complete the final stage.


Meanwhile bicycle commuting looks more attractive everyday as gas prices keep rising.  I’m personally betting on +$3 gas for the entire summer.

1180 Peachtree Street

1180 Peachtree Street is midtown Atlanta's newest skyscraper and home to my friends at King and Spalding.  It's also Atlanta's first LEED certified building and one of the few buildings I know of designed for people who take alternative transportation.  1180 features enough bike racks to hold 56 bikes compared to the 2 bikes held by my office building's rack.  They've also included 4 changing rooms each with a shower.  You can read all about it in the current Georgia Bikes newsletter.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Floyd Landis takes Stage 3 TT

54:14 now that's fast!

Stage 2

Yaroslav Popovych of Discovery Channel took the win in stage 2 and the overall lead.  My pick to win, Floyd Landis finished 7th in the stage placing him at no. 9 overall.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

For Your Reading Pleasure

Slate has an article about bike locks.  How sweet is that?

Tour de Georgia Stage 1

Lars Michaelsen of CSC took stage 1 with a time of 4.45'36.  Congratulations Lars!  Tour of California winner Floyd Landis finished 14th.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Here be hills

If there's one thing that really jumps out at when you start riding in Atlanta it's that we've got a lot of hills.  In a car it's easy to ignore the rising of the falling of the land.  On a bike every hill becomes a challenge to be conquered.
So how do you handle a hill?  Thankfully most bikes today have a wide enough gear range to get you up and over the steepest hills but you've got to prepare yourself mentally and physically.  I'm not ashamed to admit that on my very first commute to work I had to get off and push my bike up a hill.  But the more I rode the stronger my legs grew and the less daunting the hill became.  Instead of an insurmountable obstacle it became a nuisance.  What I discovered was the best way prepare yourself for climbing hills is to climb a lot of hills. 

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Tour

No not "the tour" but rather the Tour de Georgia which gets underway tomorrow.  Now I enjoy a good bike race as much as anyone but what really bugs me about the Tour de Georgia is its name.  You see we don't have sizable French speaking population in Georgia and there aren't a lot of historical ties between Georgia and France.  So why do we call it the Tour 'de' Georgia instead of the Tour of Georgia. 


Now if I were running the Tour of Georgia, I would make a couple of small changes.  First I would make Savannah its permanent starting place.  Savannah is a great old colonial city and was the first city founded in Georgia.  Heck they even have cobblestone streets and everyone loves to race on cobblestones.  Next I would add a stage to make the race a 7 day affair.  Finally every year the race should end in Atlanta so I don't have to travel that far.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Bikes vs. Cars

I was recently talking to someone who complained about the high price of decent bikes.  Then as if my magic Commute By Bike gives me this.  At $329 it cots less than one month's car pavement, has a wide enough gear range of Atlanta's hilly terrain, rides on easy to find 26" tires and even comes with a rack and fenders.  Compare that to a Hyundai Accent which costs $12,455.  For me the choice is easy. 

At the risk of sounding bitter

Nothing sums up the state of cycling in Atlanta like this blurb I discovered at Martino's Bike Lane Diary.  That's right she owns a bike shop but drives a Hummer.  You see for the vast majority of cyclists in Atlanta the bicycle is a toy, it's something to play with before or after work, it's something to put on the back of your SUV and take across town to the Silver Comet Trail.  It's not something you use to get to work or to the grocery store, it's not a means of transportation. 


I suppose what bothers me the most about this story isn’t just that it’s a car or even a SUV, it’s that it’s a Hummer and because of the way tax law is written my tax dollars are subsidizing her purchase.  You see by claiming the vehicle is “a cool, outdoor come-on for the business,” the owner is allowed to claim tens of thousands of dollars in tax breaks financed by you and me.  So I’m going to find this bike shop and expose its Hummer driving owner.  They won’t get my business and I hope they won’t get yours either.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Bach & Bicycles

I love classical music and I've noticed that many cyclists share this love.  It makes sense.  Enjoying classical music and bicycling share a common need, patience.  It's something that's often in short supply these days but a little patience make life's sweetest rewards even sweeter.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Please slow down

Everyday I ride to work on wide roads clearly marked with a 35 mph speed limit and everyday I'm passed by cars going between 45 and 55 mph.  Speed kills, not only cyclist, but motorcyclists, pedestrians, and other drivers.  If there's one thing that drivers could do to make cycling in Atlanta better it's simply to slow down.  Ever since I started cycling as an adult I've noticed big changes in driving habits.  I once suffered a severe case of lead footisness, now I never speed.  And do you know what?  I hardly miss the 3 extra minutes it takes me to get places.
Post Script: I really think the Cobb County Police Department deserves credit for their traffic enforcement efforts.  I've often seen them running radar on one of the roads with the most egregious violators. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A Pleasant Stigma

This morning I looked out over I-285 and saw an expressway transformed into a parking lot that extended as far as the eye could see.  As the expressway's flow of traffic ground to a halt cars began to spill over onto the surface streets looking for some slight advantage, just a couple extra miles per hour that might enable them to get to work on time.
I have neighbors who are also coworkers and on days like today I regularly beat them to work on my bike.  I've invited them to join me on my morning commute many times but I've never had any takers.  Why?  Because for most people in Atlanta riding a bike to work, school, or the store is a signal that there something wrong with you.  You've got a DUI, you don't have a license, or maybe you're just nuts.  There's a stigma associated with bicycling for transportation and unfortunately that stigma doesn't stop at the office.
You would expect that your local bike shop would be glad to see every customer who walks through the door.  Yet transportation cyclists are often treated as the loony relatives, who are more interested in a good rack than the new Trek Madone.  Too many bike shops carry plenty high end racing bikes but not even the most basic needs of a commuter.  I asked someone at the nearest LBS about this lack of support and he informed me that there's no market for bicycle commuting equipment.  It doesn't have to be this way.  Every time you use your bike as transportation you're raising awareness and if enough people see cyclists commuting to work or buying groceries then just maybe bicycles will stop being looked at as toys and start being seen for what they are, safe dependable transportation.