Bike’Lanta – Guess What I’m Learning?

Yes, I am still lovin’ the bike! And, loving the bike commute.  And really, really, loving running errands on my bike. Errands are now fun and terrific exercise while I check off things on my Saturday to-do list. I don’t recall if I have ever described  running errands as fun.

I feel like such a kid again, too. I remember when Mom had me run errands on Saturdays before I could  play and some I could do on my bike.  I feel like that again. (Yes, I grew up in a small town where I could do that and, I did not even have to lock my bike when I went in the stores.  Of course, in my hometown, the butcher was also the Mayor, the captain of the cheerleading team married the captain of the football team, and they are still happily married, still my friends. Where I grew up,  we had a police booth-not a police station. We locked our doors mostly when we left for a vacation and we often went to bed at night with  the windows open and only the screens between us and the outdoors.)

So, the adult child still loves riding a bike. My new favorite thing is putting my bike on the MARTA bus. I have not yet taken it on the train but, I have learned how to put my bike on the bike racks that are on EVERY MARTA BUS! Thank you MARTA!

You probably see the ads on the front of the bus and think that is all it is-a panel for ads.  But, those ad panels are the base of the bike rack that drops down.  The wonderful, patient MARTA bus driver taught me how to load my bike the first time, and I can now do it all by myself. I am so grown-up!

And now, a whole new set of experiences have opened up. I bond with fellow bike riders on the bus. I hop off to help when I see someone might need extra hands. (After all, someone helped me learn. Pay it forward, ya know!) I have also experienced angry automobile drivers when I commute. Some don’t like us in the right-hand lane. Especially the guy who brushed my handlebars with his side mirror. I was bumped enough to plop my hand on the trunk of his car to steady myself when I self-corrected and he yells at me?  I marvel about that being the first day I commuted to the Arts Center Station.  There is something about the first time….

Anyway, I am really enjoying how my world feels as though I have a whole new set of options. And you know how I love options! Having a bike has given me a lot of flexibility that does not require me to rely solely on the MARTA schedule. I can now combine the MARTA bus then biking the lasts mile or so vs. timing a connection.  For example, last Saturday, my great-nephew Marcus, had his first soccer game. Of course, Great Aunt Stephanie cannot miss that! Since the soccer fields are over in Cabbagetown, and I am in Midtown, I needed to plan my train, plane and automobile commute to get there, on time, not wanting to miss one drop of this “first”.  Having a bike made it so much easier! I rode my bike to 10th and Piedmont, loaded us on the #45 and rode MARTA all the way to the closest stop to the fields. From there, I biked the last mile or so. Because I was on my bike, I could stay longer at the game and I saw every minute, getting back to the stop with five minutes to spare. Without my bike, I would have had to leave the game early (and miss Marcus chasing the soccer ball? I don’t think so!) or spend an hour waiting for the next #45. I would have done it – because I rode by Radial Café and easily would have had lunch while I waited (love that café!). But, having my bike gave me options and there are few things more precious than options.

On my way back, we (bike and me) got off the bus at an earlier stop, shopped at Whole Foods, stuffed my saddlebags, picked up my dry cleaning  and peddled home feeling quite smug with my productive and joyful Saturday.

The other day I realized I am about 6 months into this-almost halfway. People ask me if I will buy a car. I still don’t know. Fall will be as gloriously colorful as spring; winter will be as cold as summer was hot. But, I think I am leaning towards no car. At least today. Because with my new shiny, blue bike,  I am still really loving Going AWOC – Atlanta WithOut a Car!

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6 Responses to Bike’Lanta – Guess What I’m Learning?

  1. Suzanne Burnes says:

    Just read this piece about a funky new helmet design and thought of you – must check this out:

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/10/hovding-helmet-airbag-for-head.php

  2. Twotom says:

    Way to go, Steph! You have joined the growing ranks of Atlantans who have freed themselves from their cars. Please keep us posted, and check out the next “Heels on Wheels” event sponsored on the 1st Saturday of every month by the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, http://www.atlantabike.org/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=1276

  3. Going AWOC - Atlanta WithOut a Car says:

    Thank you my friends. I so appreciate the encouragement and support and for following the blog…

  4. Claudia says:

    Admire entrepreneurs who actually live the life they promote….here’s to another outstanding GreenBusiness Expo!

  5. Gerri says:

    Loved the update and I feel the same way about my bike! I’m not as adventurous as you so I’ll live vicariously. You need to come on over to Ashford Park!

  6. Teresa says:

    Have I told you lately how much i respect what you are up to and appreciate reading all you are learning?! Well….i do!

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