Name: Naoya Wada
Location: Atlanta, GA
Started bike commuting: Summer 2009
Commute distance (one way): 5+ miles
Describe your commute: The commute is very urban. I live in the city of Atlanta, where the car population far exceeds the bicycle one. The drivers are quite self-absorbed for the most part, so commuting was fairly intimidating to begin with, but as I got more accustomed to the streets and the flow of traffic, I began to enjoy it more.
The 5 or so miles of my commute deal mainly with selfish drivers and poorly paved streets. Despite the pitfalls of riding a bike here, there are a number of positives. For one, I feel that riding a bike here allows you to see the city in a different light. I love “getting lost” on a bicycle. It lets you wander down streets that I normally wouldn’t bother with in a car. I feel like it gives you a chance to get to know the city better and you begin to see many details you would otherwise miss.
Describe your bike and accessories: I have 3 bikes, and I rotate them out based on my mood.
UNO Pista NJS Track Bike: A track bike is my favorite choice for riding in the street. I enjoy the feel and the control. It’s light and fast and fun. I have a Carradice SQR mount on the seatpost when I want to carry anything off my back.
Affinity 212 Road Bike: Fast and fun. I have it set up with a Carradice SQR Slim bag to carry anything I want so I don’t have to use a messenger bag to carry things in the hot summers.
Salsa Casseroll: This I have converted into my “townie” bike. I have a rear rack as well as an Acorn saddlebag. It is my grocery getter, and all around cruiser that I like to relax on while riding.
Helmet aside, the one accessory that I can’t live without are lights. I have sets of all sorts and mix and match them on the bikes. My most recently acquired set is the Blackburn USB Flea. Also I have a Niterider light for those late dark nights.
What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: My bit advice to anyone is that I would plan ahead. Map a path, and ask other bikers what route they think may be safest to get you started. Oh, and make sure you take your time to enjoy the ride!
I hope more people get motivated as the “safety in numbers” idea I think can work. It can be intimidating in a city that doesn’t support cycling as much as others, but don’t let that keep you off two wheels!
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