Well, this is where the biking obviously comes in. I have slowly been getting my bike ready to be able to ride safely and comfortably, and so far I have a rear rack, am awaiting a basket for the front (gotta be able to carry a lot of stuff!). I’ve also added front and rear lights and a bell. It would be nice to be able to ride short distances at night, especially into areas that have little parking. Although, the issue may be that there are few bike racks also, depending on the neighborhood and specific location.
My primary goal is to build up my endurance enough that I can eventually actually make it all the way to work which is approx. 6-7 miles one way with several hills – ick! If the hills don’t kill me, the heat will I’m sure!
Ah, if all the roads were as easy to bike on as our short street (yes, I normally wear a helmet – this was for photographic purposes only):
Unfortunately, at the end of our street is a very busy 4-lane road with fairly high-speed traffic and no bike lanes of course. Being that it’s the only way in and out of the neighborhood makes the initial leg of any bike trip much less fun :( Actually, I usually cop out and walk my bike about half a block down the sidewalk in order to be able to take some less traveled side streets as much as possible. The only little problem is that like most of Atlanta, the streets do not have a high level of connectivity, so if I want to travel in the opposite direction, the only option is to go far out of the way or take the higher traffic 4-lanes. I have high hopes that Atlanta will eventually become more bike-friendly in all areas, but for now, needless to say, it is nowhere to be found on the list of the 50 most bike-friendly cities in the U.S. recently published by bicycling.com.
Oddly enough, many more northern states than southern are considered bike-friendly, including Boston, Grand Rapids, MI, and Chicago. In fact, Chicago is # 10 on the list, largely due to having a mayor (Richard Daley) who is an avid cyclist – he has challenged Chicago to be the most bike-friendly city in North America by 2015! Now, you’d think that if Chicagoans can bike in the snowy, icy winters, those of us in the south should have no issues :) Check out these posts about winter cycling from Dottie at Let’s Go Ride a Bike. She makes it sound so easy!