I've wanted to participate in Georgia Rides to the Capitol every year since it started 8 years ago. But the fact that it takes place on a week day always kept me from doing it. This year I decided to plan ahead and make it happen. Joe Elam was happy to join me and it didn't take but one time asking to get Stephen Sisk on board. The final and as it turned out crucial part of the plan came together when David Latty decided to join us. The initial plan was to meet at 6:30AM and David's wife would take us to the Reality Bikes start in Cumming. There we could ride to Roswell (20 miles) and join the police escorted ride into downtown Atlanta. A total of 40 miles. After the festivities my wife Lisa would pick us up and take us back to our cars. It was the perfect plan.
The weather would be less than perfect however. Temperatures predicted to be in the 20's to start and we would never see 40 degrees. The day before our adventure we learned why they call it Reality Bikes... the reality of the weather caused them to cancel their leg of the ride. Our plan was thwarted.
But by the afternoon a new plan was born. This plan included a start from Alpha Bikes in Alpharetta, Georgia. Where cyclists are men. And one girl. Shivering like children.
We met with a great group of locals and hit the streets with a fantastic police escort. It was really awesome! And snowing! The group was made up of some diverse riders too. The most diverse was a kid named Buli on a mountain bike who evidently doesn't have any cycling specific winter clothes because he seemed to be prepared to snow ski. During the ride he would jump the curve and ride on the sidewalk (which is illegal in Georgia) but he was obviously trying to get warm so I didn't fuss at him.
We rode out of Alpharetta under escort and began picking up riders along the way. Our group of 13 soon swelled to around 30. By the time we made it to Roswell there were even more.
|Java, Java, Java!|
Coffee! Piping hot coffee! Stephen and I could hardly contain our excitement. I could feel myself getting warmer already. We'll call it the Java effect. It's common among cyclists.
Next we gathered for the journey to the center of Georgia's universe. Atlanta! We would be starting with around 200 cyclists and pick up twice that many along the way.
There were plenty of dignitaries from all around the state. The Mayor of Roswell Jere Wood, an avid cyclist, gave instructions and told everyone who wanted to ride back to Roswell they could join him. That's 40 miles of riding so he truly is a cyclist. Jackson Brevet founder Robert was there to lead the riders and keep us out of trouble. He did his best but after we got into Atlanta the number of riders made his efforts seem more like herding cats.
We left Roswell and started our 20 mile ride to downtown Atlanta and I lost my fingers again. We rode and talked and checked out some cool bikes people were riding. I didn't take too many pictures because I couldn't feel the phone in my hand. One interesting bike I saw was a guy riding was a hybrid, hybrid. His bike was a carbon road bike with disc brakes, a road bar with mtb paddle shifters mounted in the middle next to the stem and a Niner rigid fork. It was like the duck billed platypus of the biking world.
I looked around and saw plenty of people who ride for sport but just as many who obviously ride for love. They just love riding a bike. Any bike. Some folks rode travel bikes complete with what seemed to be fully stuffed panniers. Just in case we got stranded at the Capitol I guess. Some people were completely unprepared for the cold. I rode behind one guy shivering so bad he was creating his own death wobble at 9 miles per hour. He had a thermal underwear shirt on with a 1980's jersey pulled over it. I didn't ride behind him long.
As we got into Atlanta there were more and more folks standing outside their businesses waving and cheering. The moto police were flying up and down the streets working frantically to block intersections and get our cycling caravan to the Capitol without incident. It was crazy and exciting.
They stopped us just before we were to make a short climb to the Capitol and asked the dignitaries to come forward and be first up the hill. Joe Elam is on the Baldwin City Council so he got to go up the hill with them.
It was then that I realized we were waiting at a merge point. Another ride originating from Duluth was waiting on an adjacent street.
The merging of the two rides would create a huge spectacle of cyclists to ride over the hill and in front of the Capitol. It was impressive. I can only imagine how much bigger it would have been if Punxsutawney Phil was a better ground hog.
Video of the Capitol Parade
We finally rode up the hill and in front of the Capitol. There were snacks and drinks and giveaways and banana's. But no coffee. Don't get me wrong I'm not complaining. I was just... spoiled.
We hung out at the Capitol steps and listened to the Brent Buice from Georgia Bikes encourage us. He introduced each dignitary scheduled to speak and it was great to hear them declare their support for our healthy life style and for the "Complete Streets" initiative.
“In a nutshell what it says is that public roads are for moving people, not just combustible machines such as cars and trucks,” Buice said. “Really what we’re talking about is dedicated funding at both the national and state level.”
Our very own cycling Lt. Governor Casey Cagle took time to speak to us even though it was a really busy day in the world of government. It goes without saying he supports cycling in Georgia and I would say he got the biggest cheer. He's a friend of mine so it was no surprise when he called me out in front of everyone. I guess I deserve it for DROPPING HIM LIKE A ROCK every time we ride together.
My blog Casey. My blog.
Full video of his speech.
After that David jumped in with the Mayor of Roswell's ride back. Joe, Stephen and I gratefully accepted a ride in the van from my wife Lisa and daughter Ellie who got to walk around in the Capitol building and watch us ride in. The warm van was sooo nice. We hit the Chipotle Grill on the way back and despite my desire for a nap I went on in to work. What a way to start the day though.
I want to thank the state wide bicycling advocacy organization Georgia Bikes and the Metro Atlanta Mayors Association for putting the event on. It was great to be a part of and I gladly lent my voice and presence to the effort. I will be doing that again next year for sure!
11Alive Coverage of the ride.
2013 Trillium Trek
This past Saturday the weather was bad. The morning of the Trillium Trek trail race it was pouring rain and 40 degrees. But my daughter never asked to skip the race. So we got up and headed to Elachee Nature Center for a 5K or more romp in the mud. I estimate they still had almost 300 runners participate. Of course the usual suspects were there including Johnny Garner and Norma Rainwater and Marcus Seymour.
The great folks from RunnersFit were there taking care of the timing. And they had Krispy Kreme doughnuts! I let Molly split one with me before the race because it made her happy. What didn't make her happy was the weather and I couldn't blame her.
The start went well but she and I both soon figured out why Johnny wears gloves a lot. I prepared us for everything but I forgot gloves. She told me later that her hands were cold the rest of the day.
Anyway, she started well I thought but developed a bad pinch cramp that she couldn't run through. Might have been the doughnut... which is my fault as a parent.
She had to walk for a while and we were passed by several ladies. Up to that point she had done well in the mud and slick roots while keeping her pace high.
The cramp never completely went away but she ran the rest of the race as hard as she could. I was very proud of her 4th place Overall Women.
Once back in the car and into some dry clothes we were having some quality Daddy/Daughter time. We headed to meet her Mom and sister at Cracker Barrel for brunch. We talked about the race and the conditions and the great people... but not about boys. Just as I planned.
Thank you to all the runners who were so sweet to her! Trail runners ROCK!!
And that wraps up another edition of Chad's News! Hope you enjoyed it!
Have a great week everyone!