Looking for a model bicyclist? It’s difficult to top Amy George — the sweetest-smelling biker in town. She has her own perfume business, Modern Atelier Perfumes, on the side.
A Kansas native who grew up pedaling long distances, George moved to Richmond in 2000 to attend Virginia Commonwealth University and was quickly involved in two minor bike accidents.
“I felt lucky I wasn’t banged up worse than I was,” she says. “But it’s a two-way street — drivers need to behave correctly and cyclists need to ride in a predictable and safe manner.”
George rides her Peugeot single-speed bike three miles to City Hall every day for work and has become a leading advocate for cycling safety and access issues. She also leads weekly tour rides from VCU and does volunteer blog and cleanup work for Evergreen Cemetery, a historic African-American burial ground.
She used her GIS mapping skills to provide key analysis at a public meeting held by Mayor Dwight Jones in 2010. “Bike accidents are more spatially correlated on certain corridors, so putting in bike lanes and sharrows [pavement markings for shared lanes] can really make a difference,” she says.
The Public Works Department since received $775,000 to put in sharrows, the first 80 miles of which will begin in March or sooner, according to spokeswoman Sharon North. Of course, the biggest news lately was Richmond winning the 2015 World Road Cycling Championships — expected to bring nearly half a million people and pump $135.3 million into the local economy.
George recently joined the board of Ride Richmond, the motto of which is “building community one cyclist at a time” and is working on a fall Cyclovia that will close down a portion of downtown streets on Sundays for pedestrians and bikers.
She even praised the local bike community when she appeared nationally on “Jeopardy” last summer. “That was good because Alex Trebek loves cycling,” she says.