Bruce Morton, Cycling Connector
I started bicycling at the age of four and have continued my father’s tradition with my three children, who also started cycling at the same age. I began commuting when I was at Georgia State. I was once kicked off the train in the early 90’s on my way to a test because bike weren’t allowed on the train between 6-9 a.m. and p.m.! That’s one of the things we changed when I was on the ABC Board. We also helped get bike racks on all MARTA buses, and started planning bike lanes with Mayor's Bicycle Planning Committee.
After my mom passed, my mother told my brothers and me to stick together and cycling became an activity that we did together. We would have to go to Gwinnett, Cobb and other counties to find trails to go mountain biking because there weren’t any trails in Atlanta proper.
We thought of some local areas we liked to pay in as children that would be great for a mountain bike park. I’ve been working on the Lionel Hampton Beecher Hills greenspace since 1994. The property is about 220 acres and has been preserved in perpetuity thanks to The City of Atlanta and The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation’s 1 million dollar donation to help purchase the property, which is home to fox, deer, and wild turkeys. Protecting the land helps filter out pollutants from water runoff into Utoy Creek, a tributary of the Chattahoochee River.
We have taken kids hiking and biking on the property, nestled next to Beecher Elementary School, so they get physical activity, environmental and historical education (home of the Battle of Utoy Creek, complete with trench remnants). The kids get to be in nature, learn about nature, see bugs and snakes and all the stuff kids like and have a wholistic experience.
The City of Atlanta and partners are -- at last -- making off road cycling trails and amenities a not-too-distant reality at Lionel Hampton Beecher!
Along with Atiba Mbiwan, ABC’s current Board Chair, I help coach the BRAG (Bicycle Ride Across Georgia) Dream Team. This youth cycling program creates year-round cycling opportunities. We are continuing to expand into other areas, such as track riding at the Velodrome in East Point, and mountain biking at Lionel Hampton Beecher.
As a member of the Metro Atlanta Cycling Club, I work to increase camaraderie among all cyclists, promote cycling in
Atlanta's African-American communities, and help create the next generation of cyclists. MACC supports youth cycling programs by providing funds generated from our annual One Love Century ride, held over the Labor Day weekend. The Dream Team, East Point Velodrome and SOPO youth programs have all been past recipient of funds from the ride.
MACC also funded a youth cycling trek on The Underground Railroad route from Mississippi to Ohio that Atiba, Neil Walker, and I helped lead.
As a League Cycling Instructor (LCI) through ABC since 1996, I’ve taught many commuters, police officers, beginning riders and riders in between. We need to continue to educate the public about the many benefits of cycling for individuals and society at large.
I’m proud of the work we’ve done with ABC to get bike lanes, bikes on buses and
promoting cycling education. I want cycling to be as seamless as it is in, say, Washington D.C., where people from all walks of life ride bikes. You don’t have to be in spandex or lycra to ride a bike every day -- I want cycling, including off-road cycling, to be integrated to the larger culture of the city. We should create as many cycling opportunities as possible in order to reach as many potential cyclists as possible.