Sunday, November 14, 2010

Meanwhile, back in Atlanta

My trip to New York gave me a lot to think about, but I was really only there for a couple of days. Life back in Atlanta has been pretty routine. Riding to work, finding creative places to lock a bicycle at interesting new (and old) drinking establishments, oiling chains and trying to rearrange the house so there will be enough places to squeeze in a bike or two. There were a couple of days when I hardly saw anyone else on a bicycle, even though the weather was lovely. Then there was the Chomp and Stomp in Cabbagetown last weekend (yes, I am a week behind in postings!).

It really goes to show how important location is for bicycle culture. I saw that in NYC too. There are certain neighborhoods where cycling becomes really popular, even in the midst of a city with minimal bicycle mode share. Part of it may be due to young, trendy residents picking up on trends from elsewhere - fixed-gear aficionados and celebrity sightings. But it seems to follow the infrastructure as well.

Both Little Five Points and East Atlanta, where bicycle culture seems to congregate, have good bike lanes connecting them to the downtown area (Edgewood Ave. and Glenwood Ave., respectively). They also have a pretty good network of local streets that allow bicycle riders to get around the neighborhood on quiet, low-speed side streets. They also have small commercial centers that make it possible for local residents to meet their daily needs without going across town. Now if you could just connect those two neighborhoods with a bike lane on Moreland Ave., we'd be all set!

The point is, if you hold a funky festival in the midst of these bike-happy places, you get a whole lot of bicycles. Atlanta Bicycle Coalition set up a bike valet station to provide free bicycle parking (donations welcome), and it was full up. I can't even guess how many hundreds of bikes came through there that day. And there were still many more who didn't make it over to the valet at all.
Bicycle parking here!
Parking this many bikes takes organization
Rockin' the mixte (a unisex bicycle frame)

I see about one tandem for every hundred bicycles or so
On the far side of the festival, bikes were parked three deep

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