Ted King: Five Reasons the Ride on Atlanta Was Amazing
Last week, Ted King took part in the Ride On Atlanta, a four-day advocacy ride to bring attention to cycling, put together by People for Bikes. He recaps what made the ride great. (Photos: Meg McMahon)
1. Averaging more than 110 miles per day for four straight days, we’re spending a decent amount of time in major metropolitan areas in order to help make a difference and spread People For Bike’s message about finding safer roads for cyclists of all kinds. Inevitably, however, we cover vast distances in considerably more rural areas as we take in the in the great outdoors. One reason I’m here is to take in nature in all her glory.
2. I spent a career pulling people around the pro peloton, now in retirement I get to sit in a pack and enjoy softer pedaling with lively conversation. On day one, we had the support of NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson who rode the entire 130 miles with us from Asheville, NC to Charlotte. Meeting new people has been a constant in my life spent around bicycles. How often do you get to draft Jimmie Johnson?
3. Cycling is sport, it’s exercise, it’s therapy, it’s transportation, or my hands down favorite it’s camaraderie. Our eclectic peloton of twenty-two who are in for the entire four day affair swells to two or three times that number with folks jumping into the mix for a day or just a few miles. For me, this ride is a reunion. There’s a fellow Middlebury alum Pete and my friend and riding buddy Mark from my new hometown of San Francisco; Kevin a friend and former collegiate racing foe from native New England. Of course Tim Johnson who spearheads this event plus Ben Raby, two former pros who I raced against not too long ago. My friend Thomson jumped into the mix on day one having recently moved to Charlotte. My buddies Matt and Cleve, long time friends living in Greenville. There’s a strong Boulder connection to this ride with a half dozen Boulder denizens, a place I called home once upon a time. Old friends, new friends: the camaraderie on this ride is what cycling is all about.
4. I had zero input in the route, but it felt like routine. The route visits lots of my old cycling stomping grounds. Beginning in Asheville and then onto Charlotte, both North Carolina, then to Athens and next onto Atlanta. I lived in Asheville for a very transformative year-and-a-half of my career just at the jump of point before making the leap to European racing. I had a lot of success racing in Charlotte over the years. Greenville hosted a half dozen pro national championships, where I once stood on the podium and where I helped my teammate Timmy Duggan take a national title the following year. The former Tour of Georgia goes down as one of my favorite races with the race often finishing in Atlanta. Hence, this entire course has been a personal blast from the past.
5. I’m here for awareness. I’m here because bike racing was a huge part of my life for a dozen years, but bike racing is only a small fraction of bike riding. People For Bikes is the nation’s biggest cycling advocacy group and it’s not just for people in spandex. PFB represent parents, cousins, brothers, grandparents, neighbors, coworkers on a bike. I loved bike racing and I love bike riding. I want cycling to be safe, whether going on a hundred mile training ride or a two mile commute to work. This ride is the work of making cycling more visible, more politically viable and more accessible. I’m here because bikes belong .