Bicycle Commuter Diaries: Cabbagetown to Downtown

I hate to drive. It all started three years ago when living in the Middle East where the roads are lawless. Motorcycles, pick-up trucks from the 80’s, Asten Martens all going wildly different speeds with no reverence for double yellow lines, red lights, or traffic laws. Just being a passenger was terrifying.  

Thus when moving to Atlanta, I was nervous. Culling the Atlanta subreddit and local newspapers, rumor had it Atlantans loved their cars as much as their sweet tea.  The idea of driving, even with traffic enforcement, stressed me out.

After careful planning, I moved to a neighborhood where I could take MARTA to work. I walked 15 minutes to MARTA station and rode 20-30 minutes depending on train times.  It worked, it was time consuming, but it worked.

When I heard about The Clean Air Campaign’s Bike to Work Challenge, I thought it would be good to try. So I signed up thinking that it wouldn't be easier or faster than the MARTA, but it would be a change of pace.

Early morning on October 1st, I headed out on my Georgia Tech Starter Bike (total value of $35) on the route I carefully chosen to avoid hills and major streets. I left extra early to account for any wrong turns and my slow speed. I ended up being too early for work. It took me only 20 minutes on bike rather than the 45 minute MARTA commute.

Now with three weeks of biking under my belt, my speed hasn't increased, but my huffing and puffing has decreased. On the bike, I save time and get exercise. Biking has transformed my commute to work.

Becky Katz works for Park Pride, a non-profit organization that works with communities all over Atlanta to improve their parks.