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The impact of Milton’s cyclists

Foster Steinbeck and Sydney Logan

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The Middle-aged men in Lycra (MAMIL) phenomenon has come to Milton. Originating in Europe, MAMIL is a fad among middle-age men (and women) with money to spend. With a surplus of middle-aged men and money, picturesque roads and its sense of community, it’s no surprise the movement found a home in Milton.

Founded in August 2014, the Olde Blind Dog cycling club can be spotted every Tuesday and Thursday night, around 80-100 bikers strong, on nearby roads (Green, Freemanville, Crabapple Road and Birmingham Highway) and neighborhoods (Waterside, Wexford, Saddlecreek, Braeburn and Edenwilde). The Cyclists like to vary their routes to keep the rides fresh, biking 25 miles on average.

Mark Murphy, a longstanding member of the biking group said “our goals are fitness, fun, friendships and experiencing the joy of riding a bicycle! All types of cyclists are welcome – from cycling beginners to very experienced cyclists.”

However, the club faces some challenges while riding. Cyclists ride in groups, and some wear GoPro cameras to be safe while on the road. “We are not shocked when people honk at us (…) what they don’t understand is that we have every right to be on that road too.” Murphy elaborated, saying “its state law that bikers are allowed to ride on the road, and drivers must be at least three feet  away from cyclists.” Fortunately, no accidents between a car and a cyclist have ever occurred to a member of their group.

“We are not shocked when people honk at us (…) what they don’t understand is that we have every right to be on that road too.”

— Mark Murphy

The clubs challenges continue in neighborhoods, as drivers aren’t the only one to express their dissatisfaction with the cyclists. Some Milton High School students who live in Waterside expressed their annoyance about the group’s loudness. However, Hodge Patel, a member of Waterside Homeowners Association, has not received any complaints about the group. Murphy explained the loudness comes from the group calling out objects and directions.

Officer Chad West of the Milton Police Department, when asked if cyclists are unsuccessful at following the law, said “Not really. Most cyclists are part of cyclist clubs (which means) they know the law and they will follow it. They follow traffic laws like a car and specific biking laws. Sometimes you might get this group of buddies that don’t know what they’re doing and don’t follow the law, and we have to give them a little teaching lesson. There are very limited bike lanes in Milton.” Officer West also said, “Even if they are following the law, we will get calls about them.”

“Even if they are following the law, we will get calls about them.”

— Officer Chad West

However, despite the community’s scattered complaints, the club has greatly helped the community. Murphy said  “while the club is primarily athletic and social, we also give back to the community.  We’ve recently adopted Crabapple, Broadwell, Mid-Broadwell and Charlotte road for the Milton’s Grows Green initiative and we’ll be picking up trash four times a year. We raised over $45,000 for Saint Baldrick’s Foundation and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta through the Saint Paddy O’Pedal event in spring 2017.  We also have quarterly events that help other charities to raise money and raise awareness.”

The Olde Blind Dog biking club will participate in the Saint Paddy O’Pedal event again this spring. For more information, go to https://www.choa.org/donors-and-volunteers/foundation-events/2nd-annual-st-paddy-opedal-ride

1 Comment

One Response to “The impact of Milton’s cyclists”

  1. Mark C. Murphy on January 11th, 2018 5:15 pm

    Thanks so much for the great article about our Olde Blind Dog Cycling Club. We are looking for Milton HS attendees who are in need of community service hours to assist us at the food stations for our St Paddy O’Pedal ride on March 18th (Sunday) from 10am to 1pm…feel free to contact me if you are interested.

    Mark

    https://runsignup.com/Race/GA/Milton/SPOP18

    [Reply]

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