And the Blinkie Award for Local Bike Initiative goes to...
Civil Bikes and We Love BuHi for Bikes and Bites!
Nedra Deadwyler of Civil Bikes and Marian Liou of We Love BuHi are two inspiring social entrepreneurs and among the rising stars of Atlanta's bike community. Their partnership resulted in Bikes and Bites, a food and cycling series celebrating the international scene and encouraging a safer, more bikeable Buford Highway.
Here are Nedra and Marian's answers to our blinking questions.
1. How would you describe how your work (or play) has made Atlanta more bikeable? Don't be modest!
Marian - Three ways. First, I accidentally created a networking session for local officials, civic leaders and bicycle advocates. Second, Bikes and Bites contributed to the ongoing conversation about biking, transit and connectivity that's happening all around Atlanta, but specifically among the Cities of Brookhaven, Chamblee and Doraville. Finally, and I think this is most important, the bike ride gave people a different reference point, experientially, to envision a different Buford Highway.
Nedra - Through Civil Bikes I also get to be an advocate for diversity and equity and new riders connect to biking. Doing the BuHi ride connects me to immigrant issues and another community. Most of my life has been about building bridges and creating points of connectivity; racism, sexism, nationalism, “genderism,” and poverty remain BIG problems. My foundation is the belief we are all the same and want the same things out of life. As Dr. King, Jr. said, our destinies are tied together. Until we realize that, our society will not change, and I believe that riding a bike is one tool - my tool - to address inequities.
2. What motivates you and keeps you going?
Marian - I'm motivated by the "click," that ephemeral moment of connection and community, whether it's with another individual or in a crowd. I'm also motivated to help create opportunities for people to see places or other people in new ways. And, personally, getting to the other side of fear. Which I have a lot of.
Nedra - Just when I get tired or feeling overwhelmed, a new opportunity presents itself both big and small. Connecting to people and resources that increase my skill as a bike professional and strong connections. And the time with someone learning to ride.
3. If you had a magic wand and could wave it over Atlanta, what would happen?
Marian - I would restore everyone's optimism and naivete about what can and cannot be accomplished.
Nedra - All neighborhoods would become equitable by being transit-connected, healthy, accessible to life-supporting employment, home to quality educational opportunities, and be bikeable and walkable communities. That Atlanta becomes a city where every resident thrives.