Commuting by bicycle in Atlanta can seem like a less than friendly prospect at times, but you’ll come to find that Atlanta is a lovely place to save gas, get a nice workout, see the sights from a different angle, etc. To help make things easier, we’ve pooled some information together in one convenient location!
1) Make sure you have a well fitting bicycle in good working order; StarterBikes or any area bike shop can help make sure you’re set up and ready to ride safely.
2) Buy a strong U-Lock (GT Police strongly suggest a U-Lock over a cable lock; U-Locks are much harder to break). Both Barnes and Nobles and Burdell’s offer 10% off U-Locks to all individuals with a valid buzzard!
3) Bicycle Registration (Through GT Police): Register your bicycle with GT Police; should anything happen to it, this is one of the few possible ways to track it down. In the case of you forgetting/losing your key or combo, this will also make it possible to legally identify a bicycle as yours.
4) Pick a good route. We suggest using the Citizens for Progressive Transit’s A-TRAIN trip planner, which has a very advanced bicycle route planning tool. Also, reference the attached Midtown-Downtown Bike Suitability Map for some of the best local routes, roads, and areas to avoid.
5) Plan for the unexpected, or the potentially problematic. Layering is your friend; you always end up warmer than you might expect! Worst comes to worst, you can swing by the CRC and use their excellent shower facilities. If you know how to change a tire, pack a spare tube. If not, keep a cab company or AAA # in your wallet, just in case (and ask someone to teach you how to fix a flat; it’s easier than you might think!).
6) Have fun! This is the best part of riding – No snail-paced traffic, you get to enjoy the sites, and you travel at a pace that lets you live in the city, not just pass through it. The reason most people ride isn’t just the benefits, but because it’s fun. So enjoy yourself!
If you want to learn more, check out some of the following links:
Commutebybike’s Bicycle Commuting 101 is a handy set of references and articles for both beginners and experienced bicycle commuters (commutebybike.com)
ABC (Atlanta Bicycle Coalition) offers a nice intro to bike commuting section on their website as well, with more info about proper sizing for a bike, optimal gear, etc. (atlantabike.org)
This video comes from the LA County Bicycle Coalition, and is a nice intro to bicycle commuting.
The Clean Air Campaign provides cash rewards for bicycling, carpooling, and using transit. These can further increase the financial benefits of bicycling! Take advantage of them, and let us know if there are incentives you would like to see Georgia Tech pursue (particularly if you’re an employee of Tech).