Bicycling in and around Atlanta.

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.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Day 1: Hit the road

There’s a city where a large percentage of the population spends over an hour a day stuck in traffic. A city where roads keep expanding and yet they remain just as packed. A city where exhaust from cars pollutes the air, causing smog alerts nearly everyday during the summer. A city selected by Bicycling Magazine as the worst for bicycling in the nation. That city is my hometown, Atlanta Georgia.

I’ve lived in and around Atlanta my entire life, I’ve seen it transformed from a sleepy southern capitol to a thriving metropolis choking on it’s own growth. And for the past four years I’ve not only lived in Atlanta but I’ve bicycled here as well. Bicycling in Atlanta has given me a new perspective on my city, I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. After reading blogs of cyclist in cities like Portland and Minneapolis, both of which seem far more bike friendly that Atlanta, I decided to create Atlanta By Bike.

The focus of Atlanta By Bike will be transportation but I’ll try and cover every aspect of cycling from riding with the kids to racing. I don’t expect this blog will change the world or even Atlanta, but if I can bring the message of bicycles as an effective means of transportation I’ll be very satisfied. So stay tuned, I try and post at least once a day during the week and if I ever post anything you disagree with or if I get something wrong feel free to let me know.