Pedal tips: route choice, loose brakes, side-by-side, and doughnuts!
Welcome to the first issue of Pedal Tips, a weekly resource to help you get back on your bike again here in metropolitan Atlanta — and maybe even inspire you to action wherever you may live. Need more help? If you are a new or returning woman-on-bike, contact me for one-on-one coaching. I also give hour-long Lunch-n-Learns to city, corporate, and community groups. Find out more here. Plus, I co-teach a fun class for seniors on trikes every Thursday in Decatur, starting up again soon!
The Route of
All No Evil — Nervous about mixing it up with motor vehicle traffic? Listen to your instincts. Choosing a route with which you feel comfortable is the most important thing you can do to enjoy riding your bike again. Good news — there are an increasing number of safe routes both off and on road throughout metro-Atlanta. For instance, have you seen the new Riverwalk in the City of Roswell? Wow! You most likely have to drive there with your bike in or on your car (or take the MARTA bus up Roswell Road to Azalea Drive — all buses and trains allow bikes). I make it easy for you to take a “Bike Ride in a Blink” before you even leave your home:
A Barrel of Fun — Did you know that if you can pull your brake so tight that your thumb can’t fit between the brake lever and your handlebars that it’s too loose? And did you know that there is a minor adjustment you can make that can fix this for FREE? You simply loosen the little barrel that’s either on your handlebars, coming out of your brake levers, or on the brake arms themselves (see photo) and you will notice that your brake lever is now tighter. If this doesn’t work, plea
se see your local bike shop (I like the Atlanta Bike Barn) or learn how to fix it yourself with expert assistance at the SOPO Bike Cooperative (read about my first visit there here). It’s not a barrel of fun to be brakeless on a hill!
Side by Side with Your Valentine — What better way to ride during Valentine’s Day week than side by side with your loved one? And guess what? It’s legal to do so on most roads in the State of Georgia. In fact, on roads where it makes sense for bike riders to “take the lane” (when the lane is too narrow for motor vehicles to pass legally by giving the 3′ clearance of bike riders required by law, for instance), riding side by side with a fellow bike rider makes you more visible and means motor vehicles only need to pass the length of one bike rider, not two. If you take an urban cycling class or bikeshare class with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, you will most likely get to experience doing this, which will make you more comfortable if you don’t currently feel, well, in love with this maneuver. Sign up for classes here.
Go Nuts for Doughnuts — Bike riding burns calories, and lots of them, and you’ll probably discover pretty quickly that although bike riders eat healthy to fuel their rides, they don’t skimp on the treats afterwards. That might be why Atlanta bike riders are starting to swarm to the new location of Revolution Doughnuts not far from the Atlanta Beltline’s Eastside Trail. Let’s put it this way — that coconut one is my favorite thing in the world, and I don’t even like coconut! (And, bonus goodness, all three doughnuts pictured are vegan!) The store just opened two weeks ago so I’m sure a bike rack is coming soon — more likely, a bike corral.
Hope to see you out and about this week! Tap in next week for more Pedal Tips.
Learning as I go,
Pattie Baker (LCI #5382)