Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Roll Model: Julie Andrea Borders

Spelman alumna Julie Andrea Borders has a penchant for Peugeot bicycles. Her first, which came from SoPo, was a road bike called Peuney. Thus began two years of car-free living in a city renown for its motor traffic. Now native Parisian Benjamin Stimis of Atlanta Beltline Bicycle is building her dream bike. Pierre will be a European-style shopper with fenders for its 22-inch wheels and a rack for her panniers. Borders frequently incorporates MARTA into her commute and favors the compact size even as her yoga practice makes light work of hoisting her rides into the bus bike carriers. Men, she says, are often willing to help but most just express amazement at her prowess.

The daughter of PATH Foundation director Gloria Borders, Borders' adult riding began, appropriately enough, on the West side’s Lionel Hampton Trail. Following her mother’s lead, she lent her time to PATHRocks, then a next generation auxiliary to the board. “I recruited a Georgia State University marketing class student group to complete a trail usage survey.” Today her advocacy is less formal. “I entertain and engage graciously with curious MARTA passengers” while mindfully sharing train space with those in wheelchairs or freighted with luggage.

An Atlanta Bicycle Coalition Confident City Cycling class put her on the busy city streets but only native pluck would have compelled her to turn a wheel inside Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Late for work one day, she made up the lost time by pedaling Peuney through the terminal ”like APD, AFD officers!“ Arriving at Brighton Collectibles in the nick of time, her dramatic entrance inspired Boot Blacks to safeguard Peuney until she could lock him properly to a North Terminal bike rack.

Borders’ generous spirit shone at a Chick and Transgender bike clinic taught by Atlanta Bike Tech. “I think I left Peuney at home and worked with two other chicks on one of their bikes,” she remembers. “It was collaborative, hands-on and even taught by a woman. Estrogen-powered bikes, bike repair and maintenance ROCK.”

“More bike lanes” tops her wish list for safer cycling in our city and she is grateful for the advocacy of Kwanza Hall and the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. Apart from following traffic rules and seeking less trafficy routes, her advice should resonate with readers of this blog. “Wear bright, stylish, eclectic gear to be noticed and therefore safer!”


  1. Great photo, Cameron and wonderful story. This sort of thing is exactly what makes me miss Atlanta so much!
    xx, Lar (AC)

    1. Too kind you are. Such an interview marks a radical departure from outfit details and anonymity. Change is good!


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