Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ride to the Capitol 2008

Yesterday morning I did the 3rd annual ride on the Capitol. But before I headed out I read of this cycling tragedy. The entire story is just devastating and what I find particularly frightening is that this was a group, supported ride. Certainly, when I head out solo on the streets I know I am pretty much risking life and death but on the rare occasions that I get to go on a group ride I feel secure and relaxed. This story made me realize that I will never be able to feel relaxed or should I feel secure on my bike where there are cars present. And this is absolutely what will keep me from ever fully embracing the sport of cycling. I just like living too much.

After reading the story I seriously considered bailing on the organized ride. As much as I love to ride my bike the risk of dying while doing it is not worth it. I don't love it that much.

However, I rationalized that if any time I was going to be safe on my bike on a road in Atlanta the ride to the Capitol was it. The ride, (albeit slow going out) is police escorted, and the road is essentially blocked by the peleton. Not to mention there is sag support. Really, the greatest obstacle of this ride is to avoid hitting one of the other few hundred cyclists around you.

The weather yesterday was less than stellar for bike riding (but great for running!)--40's, overcast, even a bit drizzly. But the ride was good. And I was quite grateful to James of Roswell Bikes who lent me his leg warmers. See. I just love the Atlanta cycling community. Everyone and I mean everyone I encounter is so friendly and very encouraging. I met so many nice people yesterday. I think a lot of people view cyclists as elitist but every cyclist I have ever met practically begs you to get involved in the sport.

I really hope this ride continues to be an annual event and that every year more and more people get out there for it. Because I think, in this case, there really is power in numbers. The more cyclists that brave the road; the safer the roads will be everyone. I mean really. How great would it be if you could ride your bike around the corner for a gallon of milk rather than have to drive your gas guzzling car for 3 miles? I think, that would be awesome.

In other news I am way tired this morning. Not because of the ride but because I had an evening out with the kittens, aka Fishstick and Pookie. Silliness, of course, ensued.

I know, it does look like I am about to drag Stick down the street by her hair.
But really what is going on is us-- unsuccessfully--trying to reenact the painting in the window of this gallery. Yeah, I don't know why. That is just how it is with the kittens: silliness. It ensues.

Yesterday was a good day: I got to ride my bike and I didn't die, I got to meet new and friendly faces and then drinks and silliness with friends. A good day indeed.

PS Steph, Stick brought us our awards from the 10k.

PPS. I wrote and edited this while Beau sat next to and talked nonstop to me. Sorry. But I am sure you understand if you have a four year old. The chatter. It is maddening and unending.


  1. I feel pretty safe riding my bike in my neighborhood. I don't know why. One of my son's schoolmates was killed in a car accident last year. Everyone is really curteous to bikers, but I am never complacent. For now, I plan to do most of my rides at Columns Drive and the Silver Comet. I have a nice 3 mile loop for hill repeats when that strikes my fancy :-)

  2. Wes, Riding in your neighborhood is great if you have a big neighborhood. And I too feel comfortable riding in neighborhoods and even some areas in Roswell. What I don't like is having to drive to these areas to ride my bike. I love running because I can run out my front door and do 20+ mile loop training run on a sidewalk. I feel like cyclists should be able to do the same on the road and they can't. Some roads are just not safe to cycle on. And believe me, I have tried cycling from my house and it is scary. There are so many construction trucks becuase of the building of new homes that getting taken out by a cement truck if very likely. And even last week when I was down by the river (Azlea and Riverside) traffic just got too busy and I got scared (I was solo) and cut it short. And that was riding in a bike lane. I don't know what the solution is other than that cyclists be a familar sight on the road so motorists are more concious of them. But so many cyclists--myself included--are just too scared to be out there so we put our miles in on the Comet and columns dr.

  3. Nat, It was very sad to read of the cycling accident in California... I love this sport so much, and I try to do my best to minimize the risks, in fact, the whole purpose of this ride is to gain awareness for the cycling community and work towards providing a safer riding environment. By the way, the Cobb County government is taking an interest in how they can provide more bike lanes and a committee of cyclists has been pretty involved. If you or anyone you know would like to be involved in this committee, I can introduce you.

    I am glad you found the ride itself to be a good experience! It was good to have you join our ride and we hope you will come back! You and your husband might really like mountain biking, no cars!!! Let me know if you all want any advice on a trail to try.


  4. Natalie, you should joint that committee.

    Also, I am going to think about swimming. If I can get past looking awful in a swimmers bathing suit then I will do it....

    Yeah Guinness!

  5. Ten years ago a buddy of mine in the Navy went on a group ride in Minnesota/Wisconsin area. There were 4 of them together on a rural country road. They were going around a curve to the right when a man in a truck coming the other direction crossed the center line and hit all 4 head on.

    Three were killed on the spot. My buddy was severely injured and in a coma for several weeks. When he woke he found out he had a broken back, neck, leg and fractured skull. He finally got out of the hospital, surgery's and therapy's almost a year later, but he was an inch shorter than when he went on leave.
    I don't know if he's ridden a bike since.

  6. What a horrible and tragic story! You should NEVER feel comfortable riding out on the streets, always have your guard up and assume that no one can see you or cares about you because 90% of the cars out there aren't looking for cyclist. They're trying to light cigarettes, text, or talking on the phone.

    I ride on the roads, even after being hit by a car and breaking my leg! But I don't ride alone and my friends are very cautious and will usually ride behind me.

    I would love if you came out and joined some of the Luna weekly rides when we get them started. We will have "sweepers" who will ride in the back to make sure that no one gets lost or dropped. Should be fun and safe!