I love this project! The Metro Atlanta City of Dunwoody, Georgia has added 25 local-artist painted picnic tables featuring local nonprofits and located at restaurants throughout the city in order to encourage support of local organizations and businesses during COVID-19. I've put together a nice, long tour that will take you from coffee to lunch to ice cream! And with 65 miles of de facto multiuse path now that sidewalk-riding has been legalized, you can actually get there while Traveling at the Speed of Bike with your family or friends of all ages and abilities! (Yield to pedestrians when on sidewalks. Note: you do also have the option of bike lanes at various points but they do not meet NACTO guidelines for speed and volume of motor vehicle traffic.)
Tip: Order curbside pickup as there are no bike racks at any of the tables on the tour. You can roll up to the ice cream service window, however! (There IS a bike rack not far from one of the tables at a cookie shop that is not on the tour. See map of all picnic table locations here: https://dunwoodyga.gov/ckeditorfiles/files/Projects/PicnicTableonesheet%209_29_20.pdf)
This location (pictured above as well) has 6 painted picnic tables, all in previous car-parking spots. The owner (pictured below) is considering being 1st biz in the city to convert a car-parking spot (currently closed to cars anyway) to bike parking. How can we help? Should we crowdfund the cost of it?
Friends of mine (Kathy Florence Wilson, Kathy Penn, and Jan Slimming — all authors also) hosted a monthly book reading named A Novel Idea at this lovely coffee shop/cafe just a mile bike ride from my home (back when we did such things). I attended most of them, where I usually had a decaf coffee or a glass of wine and an eclair, and rode home hours later under the moon (or rising moon, depending on the time of year). I even had the opportunity last year to be one of the featured authors. I read part of the chapter about when I took my road bike out of the attic after it has been up there for 20 years — and what happened next. You may be inspired to dust off your old bike, too (although here is what happened on the way home that night: https://travelingatthespeedofbike.com/2019/06/05/2-5-year-record-of-no-aggression-broken/).
My motto is "Trust the Journey," so this picnic table really jumped out at me. In fact, something remarkable has happened as a result of creating these tours as a People for Bikes Ambassador. It's a story still in progress that I'll tell you soon on TravelingAtTheSpeedOfBike.com. So, yes, it's a journey. Trust it.
I've been meaning to cross paths with this organization for awhile now. They provide a space and the materials for groups to come in and create care boxes for the military and for others in need. I'll have to circle back and do a story on them for my blog, including how they are adjusting to group restrictions during COVID, and how, perhaps the requests they are getting have changed during these trying times.
The community center and camp featured in this picnic table is a mile bike ride from my home. My family was a member for years, and probably a good solid 50% of all our best memories happened there. Please note, however, that for my kids to ride a bike to and from camp there (with me accompanying them until they were 12; and then on their own afterwards) required me to jump through a variety of hoops to arrange their dismissal since it was considered a "special circumstance." My hope is that has changed by now.
Twelve years ago (in 1998), a tornado ripped through where I live and destroyed a bunch of homes and trees. Local folks from the preservation nonprofit started a festival to turn “lemons into lemonade” and raise money to replant the "forest." Called Lemonade Days, it quickly became the most popular annual event in this suburb-city. For the last few years (before COVID-19), there had been a Local Authors table, in which I participated with both of my books (Food for My Daughters and Traveling at the Speed of Bike). It was a LOT of fun in which to participate, and I met some really cool other local authors as a result.
Here's the photo I used to promote Lemonade Days on my blog of the same as my book (Traveling at the Speed of Bike). The book is available in both print and digital formats from a wide variety of bookstores all over the world: https://travelingatthespeedofbike.com/book/. 100% of proceeds are used to help more women and girls (who are underrepresented in our public spaces) ride bikes. Note: see chapters 3, 6, and the Epilogue for stories that happened specifically in the city where these picnic tables are. Since then, sidewalk riding has been made legal (and I encourage you to NOT ride in the roads here) and there is a Vulnerable Road Use ordinance now. In July 2020, the first person charged under this ordinance hit a person with a motor vehicle (a 4,500-pound SUV) and was also cited with a hit-and-run charge and a statewide 3-feet passing violation. I was the survivor. If interested, you can see my actual body camera footage here: https://travelingatthespeedofbike.com/2020/07/13/i-was-the-victim-of-a-hit-and-run-today-i-am-lucky-to-be-alive/. Additional improvements that are not mere lipstick-on-a-pig greenwashing require your involvement. Join Bike Walk Dunwoody, if interested. You are needed.
Note: If you do want to assume the level of risk required to ride in the roads here, or if you want to ride bikes elsewhere, you may find these road-riding bike tips helpful: https://travelingatthespeedofbike.com/bonus-resources/.