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In 2006, Bicycling named Atlanta one of the country's worst cities for cycling because of the increasing traffic congestion, urban sprawl and car-centric culture--but that doesn't mean there's no good riding there. Typically when we tag a city with that dubious distinction, we hope that it sparks action by the city government to make road conditions safer and more welcoming to those on two wheels.
When BikeTown touched down in Atlanta it became clear that there is a vibrant, thriving cycling community, but it just needs more support from City Hall in the form of bike lanes and traffic calming measures to make the streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists. (Mayor Franklin, are you listening?)
I watched dozens of bike commuters make their way down Peachtree Street to their jobs downtown. At the BikeTown giveaway, we had Jeff Bulvin and two teammates in full MetLife racing kits, supporting our cause of helping new riders change their world through cycling. And we had Robyn Elliot from Bicycle Tours of Altanta who after the crew was fitted on their new bikes, led a group of us on a cruise through Atlanta's historic Oakland cemetery, where we saw the grave of Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell and had views of Civil War battlegrounds. Within 20 minutes of receiving their new Jamis bikes, these Atlanta BikeTowners had already explored a part of their own community that many of them had never even seen--it was BikeTown in action, in record time.