Over the last four years, I’ve had the outstanding opportunity to be involved extensively in bicycle advocacy locally (with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition), regionally (with Georgia Bikes!), and nationally (with the League of American Bicyclists). In that time I’ve gotten to work with some of the most knowledgeable, passionate, and dedicated people I have ever met, and have experienced firsthand how much someone with those traits can do to improve their community. I’ve volunteered with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition (ABC) as a bike valet, Streets Alive counter, and membership salesperson. I’ve worked for them as an Advocacy Intern, Beltline Bike Tour Guide, and League Cycling Instructor. Generally, if there’s a thing they need done and I can help, I try to be a part of it. And it’s not just my phenomenal selflessness; few things are as rewarding as working with others across your community to help make things safer, more comfortable, and more successful not only for cyclists, but also for pedestrians, transit users, and motorists.
One of my most cherished experiences has been championing bicycling on campus at Georgia Tech, founding (along with two good friends) our Bicycle Infrastructure Improvement Committee (BIIC). In the 4 years since we founded the BIIC, the committee has served to bring together over $300,000 in funding, created and held annual Bike Week events with hundreds of participants, and led the charge on everything from removing abandoned bikes to commissioning a campus bike master plan.
Building a collaborative organization that is responsible for education, encouragement, engineering, evaluation, and enforcement has been a sizable task, and has taught me how diverse a set of skills is required of a good advocate. It has required me to learn web design, graphic design, planning, (some) engineering, networking, and many other skills. There is no doubt in my mind that it has made me a stronger person, and it is often that more than anything which serves to always remind me of the value of bicycling. Bicycling is empowering. It asks you to learn and to be attentive, and in return it gives you freedom and saves you money and helps us to be independent in ways that we rarely get to appreciate.
For those who are curious, you can learn more about what the BIIC does here
And more about ABC at atlantabike.org