About

Hi.  I’m Doug, and for the past two-and-a-half three years, I’ve been an urban bicycle commuter in beautiful Memphis, Tennessee.  In that time period, I’ve logged somewhere around 2000 3000 miles on my bike, the vast majority of them commuting from home to work, to the store, to the pub, or elsewhere around town.  I’ve done a few in-town distance rides, usually around 20-25 miles, and I’d like to plan a few more in the near future.  But mostly, I just ride my bike around town.

To give you an idea of what being a bike commuter means, ask yourself this: How often do I visit a gas station to fill up my gas tank?  (If you don’t own a car, you can skip this section.)  Every week?  Two weeks?  Three?  My bike commuting this fall has been especially consistent, such that I recently made a tank of gas last from early November until late December, around six weeks.  In fact, I made the first half-tank last a full month.  (The second half-tank would have lasted longer were it not for the holidays travels.)  At that rate, I could have limited my trips to the gas station to 6-10 per year.  Per year.  That’s around 100-120 gallons of gas over twelve months.  And I drive a 1997 Honda Accord; hardly a Prius or other gas-sipping vehicle.

Granted, I do live roughly 3.25 miles from my job – roughly a fifteen minute commute, depending on my caffeine intake – and I live in a fairly dense part of town, such that biking to the grocery store is no big deal.  Also, my wife has assumed responsibility for some most of the errands, so that I can rely mostly on my bike for transportation.  But honestly, except for the once-a-week grocery store adventure or the every-few-weeks mega-trip to Target, most of our errands could easily be handled on bike.  Indeed, smaller trips to the store every day or so greatly reduce one’s reliance on massive excursions every week or so.

But I’m not here to waggle my finger at you, dear reader, and try to shame you into riding a bike.  Rather, I hope to serve as an example to those who’ve considered relying more on a bike as a means of transportation, or even never considered it at all.  I don’t consider myself particularly fit,  athletic in nature, or adventurous.  And yet in a good week, my car doesn’t leave my driveway, and I log around 35-40 miles on my bike.  Honestly, if you’d told me three years that I’d be starting a blog about my experiences as a bike commuter, I’d have thought you mad.  But here I am.

Just a few more thoughts.  First, by focusing my work here on urban bike commuting, I am necessarily excluding a number of other cycling-related issues.  Other styles of cycling – long-distance on-road, off-road, cyclocross, BMX – won’t be discussed in much detail here.  This is not surprising as I have practically no experience in any of those styles.  Further, I anticipate that there are enough issues related strictly to urban commuter cycling to keep me writing for years, such that any need to branch out into other areas is likely to be minimal.  I’m quite sure someone else is writing about those areas far better than I ever could.

Second, if any of you are interested in giving bike commuting a try, I hope my experiences serve as proof that you don’t have to be ripped like Lance Armstrong in order to get around town on a bike.  Once you give it a try, you’ll find that a two-mile trip to the grocery store is easier than you ever thought.

Lastly, in addition to being good exercise, reducing traffic congestion, decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels, and cutting emissions of greenhouse gasses and other pollutants, riding a bike is just a lot of fun.  That’s honestly what keeps me in the saddle: the knowledge that I am meeting multiple goals at once.  Believe it or not, I am disappointed when I have to drive.  Biking is just what I do.

Thanks for stopping by.  And here’s a picture of me.

 

Also, you can follow me on twitter: @bikinginmemphis.  And there is a facebook page for my blog: www.facebook.com/bikinginmemphis.  Follow and like as you will.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 comments

  1. Yvette Rhoton

    HI DOUG.
    I Too commute to work by bike–I am a registered nurse at Methodist University hospital and I live in Cooper-Young so it’s not a long ride..It’s shorter than driving if you include parking and walking! This is my 3rd year of bike commuting and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Keep riding and encouraging others:)
    Yvette

    • Doug

      Hi Yvette!

      Thanks for the comment. I’d love to interview you for my blog about your bike commuting. Let me know if you’re interested.

      Thanks!
      Doug

  2. Ryan

    Hey Doug,
    I’ve been thinking for some time about bike riding from Memphis to New Orleans on top of the river levees (I’m pretty sure they have dirt/farm access road on top of the levee for a significant portion of the trip). Know anyone who’s ever tried a similar trip, or how long it would take?

    • Doug

      Hey Ryan!

      Thanks for the question. I really don’t have any information for you, but I posted your question in my last entry, so hopefully a fellow reader will have more information. Your trip sounds awesome though – let me know if you actually do it!

      Cheers,

      Doug

    • Kermit

      Riding the Levee’s is illegal, I have looked into it. You may consider riding the Mississippi River Trail which is actually all on roads. There is a guide available online, and I also saw one sitting on the counter of the bike section of the Outdoors Inc shop on Union Avenue.

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  4. Yuhei

    Hi Doug,

    I am moving to Memphis this August, and wanted to ask you if you know there is any safe bike route for commuting from downtown to the University of Memphis. It would be very helpful if you can provide me with any information on it.

    Thank you,
    Yuhei

    • Doug

      Hi Yuhei,

      First, let me say thanks for your question and wish you an early welcome to Memphis. I hope you grow to love this town as much as I have.

      In regard to your question, I’m going to write a short blog post with a response to your question (and that of another reader). Let me know if you have any more questions.

      Best,

      Doug

      • Yuhei

        Hi Doug,

        Thanks for your helpful information regarding the bike route. I will try to bike to campus based on your suggestion once I arrive in Memphis.

        Thank you,
        Yuhei

  5. James Roberts

    Hey Doug

    Where are all the bike courier/ messenger jobs around here? If any, that is. I think if people love to ride so much, why not be able to make a living at it? And especially with all the bike lanes and the greenline, getting something from here to there, across the city should be a snap. And obviously, less pollution, and all the other green stuff.

    • Doug

      Hi James,

      Thanks for the question. If you don’t mind, I’ll mention it in an upcoming post. I don’t know about bike messenger jobs around town, but I bet one of my readers does.

      Thanks for visiting!

      Doug

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