Commuter Spotlight: Startup Couple Melissa and Keith Bike for Balance
“The addition of exercise in my day-to-day routine really helps me clear my head," said Fraudmarc founder and bike commuter Keith.
The work days at a startup can be exciting and intense. For Keith and Melissa Coleman, a married couple that works at cybersecurity startup Fraudmarc, biking from their home in Old Fourth Ward to work in Midtown is the perfect way to add balance to that fast-paced lifestyle.
Keith and Melissa live in Old Fourth Ward and work in Midtown. In 2015, Keith founded Fraudmarc, an email security company that protects people from phishing emails by creating spoof-proof domain names. Since Fraudmarc’s inception, the two of them have been riding the two miles each way to and from work. The motivation to commute via bike came primarily from the fact that biking is something they genuinely enjoy doing.
“Often on the weekends we enjoy going for a bike ride around town, just for fun,” said Melissa.
In addition, neither of them wanted to face driving in Atlanta, and biking saves them time that they would otherwise spend sitting in traffic.
Exercise & Mental Health
Both Melissa and Keith find the daily habit of bike commuting to be beneficial for different reasons.
“I enjoy that it gives me a little bit of exercise built into my day,” said Melissa, who bikes both to her job at Fraudmarc and to various speech therapy jobs around Atlanta. “Plus I can’t skip it—once I bike one way, I have to bike the other direction.
For Keith, biking is a crucial way he stays balanced within the whirlwind life of a startup founder.
“That addition of exercise in my day-to-day routine really helps me clear my head. When I bike I do not let myself be interrupted by emails or texts,” said Keith.
Biking to work, for Keith, is part of a larger passion he has around raising awareness of startup founder burnout.
“Biking does a lot for my mental health,” said Keith. “In startup culture there is a tendency to not take care of yourself,” he added.
Both Keith and Melissa have found it easy to bike commute to and from work in Atlanta, now that they have routines and equipment that work for them.
Keith always checks the day’s weather forecast online so he can know whether or not to bring a rain suit.
Melissa stressed the importance of bike lights, especially if you don’t know what time you’re going to be home at. Starting at dusk, strong lights on the front and back of your bike are a must.
Melissa also finds herself combining her bike commute with MARTA rail in order to get to her speech therapy work. She uses the bike racks at the MARTA stations, and finds that even when it’s crowded, other passengers allow her enough space at the end of the car to stand with her bike.
On her commute, Melissa likes to have something to listen to. Right now, she’s enjoying an audio book called StartUp Life, which is written by a Boulder-based entrepreneur couple.
A Better Way to Experience the City
Despite the extra effort and planning, “it’s totally worth it,” said Melissa. “It’s a lot more fun.”
“In your car, you’re alone,” said Keith. “On your bike, you make eye contact and wave to other bikers. That human interaction is important.”
“The city is better with more people out biking,” said Keith.
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