I haven’t yet developed the terminology necessary to describe my biking goals, but I’m getting there.  As I was biking home tonight from a meeting downtown, I thought of the phrase “replacement miles.”  This refers to the miles I spend on my bike that replace miles I would otherwise spend in my car.  (In addition, this would include miles my wife might spend in her car.)  From my perspective as a bike commuter, one who does little in the way of recreational cycling, the best miles I accumulate are replacement miles.  Do I love biking the Greenline?  Yes.  Do I love seeing so many other people taking advantage of the Greenline?  You bet.  But do the miles I accumulate riding the Greenline mean as much to me as the miles I accumulate biking to work?  Not at all.

Don’t get me wrong, I celebrate and embrace all types of cycling.  But I’m most interested in seeing how far I can go in replacing my car with my bike.  So far I’m doing pretty well: I haven’t driven to school in almost two months, and since early February (when that monster snowstorm hit Memphis, rendering my daily commute non-bikable), I’ve driven my car on exactly one trip where I could have biked.  Only one.  Not too shabby, I think.

So today’s commute can best be described as epic.  In total I accumulated another 18 replacement miles, beginning with my commute from home to campus this morning (3.25 miles, roughly).  After a few meetings and some papers graded, I left for the aforementioned meeting in downtown Memphis.  Fifty minutes later, I had racked up another eight miles on my bike.  I then biked from downtown home, completing my journey with another six or so miles. Here’s a map of my travels.

And here’s a link to a map of my ride, if you’d like a closer look.

Just to the left of the middle of my route is when my path headed to downtown crossed my path going home.  From home I took Southern to campus, taking a detour on Midway, which I took when I left campus.  I followed the Chickasaw Gardens route from campus to Midtown, then Harbert to Cleveland to Peabody/Vance downtown. Heading home, I followed Linden to Rozelle to Harbert, then Belvedere, then Central to Cooper to home.

Why was I heading downtown, you might ask?  Well, I’m not at privy to release that information, but suffice to say that good things are in store for Memphis.


  1. Cort

    That’s awesome Doug! I’m stoked on my bike trips this past Wednesday and Thursday. Hooked up the trailer for a Home Depot (3 Boston Ferns) on Wednesday and Thursday a grocery (weeks worth) trip, then downtown for the Bike To Work Day meeting.

    • Doug

      Dude that is awesome! I love the epic don’t-need-a-car kind of trips. All I need is a trailer (and a place to keep it) and I can bike to Sam’s Club.

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