Sunday, February 7, 2016

Happy Birthday, Jessica

Jessica Michelle Rudd is a human dynamo. The triathelete trains for fifteen hours some weeks in addition to her full-time responsibilities at the Centers For Disease Control and evenings on stage at Whole World Improv Theatre. "Contrary to popular belief, biking actually saves me a lot of time," she confides. "When I do have to drive, I know all the best short cuts around the traffic, thanks to my creative bike routes." A cyclist since 2007, she became a regular commuter three years ago aboard her racing bike with an overfilled messenger bag. The search for a practical, all-weather solution has taken the form of "a beautiful steel touring bike with panniers this past spring. It’s a Salsa Vaya from Loose Nuts and she’s amazing. I really love the steel ride and modern comforts with the classic styling. I’m able to ride to the pool at 5 am, swim for an hour and then continue on to work. On swim days I get in 18 miles just by commuting. On other days I get in about 14 miles. Some days I get home on Salsa and switch to my road bike, Maccabee, to get in another 20 miles or so."

Such extensive training covers a lot of Atlanta and has shaped her perception of an adopted city. At first the native New Yorker studying at Emory "resented the car-centric culture and the general disdain for mass transit." Cycling revealed to her the urban landscape on a human scale. "The city really opened up for me at that point. I found myself taking extended routes just to discover different neighborhoods. That’s one thing I really love about the city; each neighborhood has its own unique qualities and people. I also really love to see how proud people are of their neighborhoods, i.e. I’ve never been somewhere where people drive around with bumper stickers of their zip code, lol. Whether it’s a beautiful sunrise or sunset over the city, running into a movie set and numerous famous actors (Ryan Reynolds is actually hotter in real life, if you can believe it), giving tourists in downtown directions (because cyclists know their way around, obviously) or seeing horses on the BeltLine, each experience by bike adds to the unique nature of our little big town that I would have never noticed if I were stuck in my car."

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