Yesterday’s rides

Yesterday was a really great day to be biking in Memphis.  My biking day began at the Rock and Roll Revolution group bike ride, sponsored by the good people at Revolutions Community Bike Shop and led by none other than the city’s Bike and Pedestrian Coordinator Kyle Wagenschutz.  The ride was part of the weekend-long Rock for Love festivities, the proceeds of which benefit the good people at the Church Health Center.  There was no charge for the ride, but it definitely raised awareness about the weekend’s festivities.

The riders congregated in the parking lot next to Shangri-La Records beginning at 10:30 AM and, after a few words by Kyle and Les Edwards, the local CPA who created the awesome Madison Avenue Bike Lanes blog and petition, we hit the road.  (Note: over 1240 people have signed the petition, well over the initial goal of 250 signees.  Have you signed?)  Here’s a map of the route we took.

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Pretty cool, huh?  The starting point on the map is my house, so you have to follow just the routes from Madison east of McLean and west from there to see where we biked.  Here’s a clickable link to the map.

Here’s a couple of shots of the crowd just before we left.

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We ended having about two dozen cyclists, so the pictures don’t really do the crowd justice.

I have to say, group bike rides are about my favorite way to spend a few hours on a weekend.  It’s really great to ride with others, get to know new people, and have a reason to get on my bike beyond commuting to work.  I met several new people this weekend, reconnected with some I already knew, and generally had a great time.  Several people from Live from Memphis were in attendance, including one guy with a hard-ass cargo bike and a camera mounted to his helmet.  I gotta get one of those.  Kyle did a great job of leading the group.  We rode at a very moderate pace, stopping at every stop sign and red light, so there were several times when the people in the front had to wait for those bringing up the rear to catch up. That’s OK with me … all the better to see Memphis on a level I hardly ever get to.

Speaking of, check out this awesome looking bar I saw somewhere near downtown.

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Yes, that is what awesome looks like.  It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the place is called the Knight’s Castle Bar, Grill, and Club.  I’ll probably never actually go there; that would involve leaving the house, which I am really bad at, but I love finding new and interesting parts of Memphis.  BTW, do you see the dark storm clouds in the above picture?  Somehow we managed to dodge the rain which apparently soaked much of Midtown.  Lucky us.

After leaving Shangri-La, we biked west on Madison, then south on McLean to Peabody, then west to Bellevue.  We followed Bellevue south to McLemore, then west to Mississippi, then northwest to GE Patterson.  We then biked west to Front, north to Peabody Place, then stopped for a rest at the City Market, which I’ve been meaning to visit.  Here’s a few shots from that.

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Hello new friend.

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Peeps.

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More peeps.

After chillaxing for a few, we biked to Jefferson, then east to Cleveland, south to Monroe, east to some road I’ve forgotten, then Madison back to Shangri-La.  Including biking up and back, my total ride was 16.5 miles.  Not a bad day.

After biking home and showering, I took an unplanned but much welcomed nap.  After that it was about time for dinner, so my wife and I biked to the Slider Inn, a new restaurant at Peabody and Cooper.  I had heard good things about the restaurant, located at the site of the short-lived Bluff City Bayou.  All I have to say to the people at the Slider, is that you had me when I saw this:

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The food was really good and the service was top-notch, although I’d love to see more vegetarian options.  But given that the restaurant is still in “soft open” phase, I am confident that the menu will be much improved and expanded soon.  Overall, we loved it.  We’ll be back soon.

On our way home we decided to take the long way and biked down Peabody to Carr to Diana to Vinton to Rembert to Higbee to Barksdale.  Just as we were nearing Higbee, i heard a loud pop – the kind that makes Memphians look around for gunfire – followed by what sounded like tree branches hitting the ground.  Sure enough, not ten seconds before we turned right on Higbee, a massive tree branch had fallen onto the street.  I was too shocked to take a picture, but had we been there a few seconds sooner, my biking days might be done. Chilling.

We stopped by Black Lodge on our way home and rented Vinyan, which was OK but really fell apart at the end.  Not recommended.  Then sleep, work today, and here I am.

I hope your weekend was good, my people.  Look for another blog post soon.  Until then, have fun biking in Memphis.

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