The U of M Cycling Club

Hey everyone.  Today was an exciting day at Biking in Memphis; a record 70+ readers visited this blog, many I imagine for the first time.  To everyone I say: thanks for stopping by, and I hope to hear from you soon.

In other news, please don’t forget that Mayor Wharton will soon make a decision about whether or not to install bike lanes on Madison Avenue.  While I very much want bike lanes on Madison – and every other street in Memphis – I also want to keep the tenor of the conversation very civil, especially from the pro-bike-lane camp (the anti-bike-lane contingent appears to have abandoned that strategy long ago, if they ever even adopted it).  So if you email the Mayor, please keep your comments very positive and supportive of him and his past efforts to support bike lanes in Memphis. Don’t bother mentioning the businesses that are opposed to bike lanes on Madison; the Mayor has heard enough from and about them.  It is high time for cycling-friendly citizens to have their voices heard.

But I also wanted to give a shout-out to the University of Memphis Cycling Club, which I’ve been meaning to do for some time.  The club was started in 2009 by a student named Carter C. (again, I prefer to omit people’s last names for anonymity’s sake) as a means of encouraging off-road cycling, but when I was brought on board as faculty advisor in 2010, the club expanded to include cyclists of all stripes.  In fact, the club was recently featured in an article in the University’s green newsletter.

Since then we’ve sponsored or participated in numerous group bikes rides, both on our own and with the good people from the Peddler Bike Shop.  We’ve also hosted an urban cycling workshop and the first annual Bike-to-Campus Day, in October of 2010 and in conjunction with Tiger Blue Goes Green Day.  I very much hope to replicate that event this fall.

Overall, participation in the cycling club’s events has been good, but there is room for improvement.  With a university known as being a commuter school, the barriers to cycling are perhaps greater than at other schools.  But I view the club as a long-term project.  I plan to be at U of M for many years and I excited to see how many more students will be biking to campus in a decade.  Hopefully the city’s bike lane plans will dovetail with the desire to see U of M become a more biking-friendly school.

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