I ran across a link to this blog entry on the Memphis Flyer’s website. Â The post generated a fair amount of chatter – at least on the facebook link where it was originally posted – and I wanted to weigh on it myself, given that I am a frequent bike commuter in Memphis.
(To give you an idea of how frequently I bike around town, I have driven my car in Memphis only twice since early February, when that particularly nasty snow storm rendered the bike lanes and road shoulders basically unusable for a few days. Â In the months since the snow melted, I’ve driven only once when I should have biked. Â What can I say? Â It was a rainy Saturday morning, I had an early meeting and I got lazy. Â [And why do I feel like I’m attending confession when I write that? Â I’m not even Catholic!] Â The other time I drove was when thunderstorms were threatening the area, and I just don’t mess with them. Â But I digress.) Continue reading
I’ve been a bit delinquent in posting my thoughts on the meeting two weeks ago about proposed bike lanes (or other bike facilities) on Madison Avenue and other roads around town. Â I have been extraordinarily busy lately and haven’t had much time for long-form posts. Â Plus, some of the opinions expressed in the meeting were quite shocking in their tenor such that I really wanted some time to process the events and write something thoughtful about it.
Today was an absolutely amazing day to ride. Â Temperatures in the mid-70s, clear skies, a nice stiff breeze (the occasional brutal headwind aside), and a long list of errands to run.
I’ve long believed that the best biking is the kind that takes you out of your car and puts you on a bike. Obviously, not all trips are equally easy to be done on a bike. Â Visits to the bulk-buyers mecca known as Sam’s Wholesale Club are just going to be more difficult on a bike, unless you have a cargo trailer, which even the most dedicated cyclist often doesn’t own. Â But many trips are completely feasible on a bike, including a sizable weekly trip to the grocery store, which I accomplished today. Â Given that something like 75% of trips under two miles in length are made in a car, I think we all have a little room for improvement. Â And that was my goal today.
I received this email from Kyle Wagenschutz, the new Bikeway/Pedestrian Coordinator with the City of Memphis, last week and wanted to pass it along. Â It’s really important for all Memphians, not just cyclists, to support initiatives to make our city more sustainable and active. Â Cars aren’t the only means of getting around, and we seem to have forgotten that. Anyway, here’s the email. Â I’m planning to go to all three meetings. Â Hope to see you there.
Hi everyone. Â If you have a moment today, please have a look at this email the good people at Livable Memphis just circulated. Â It’s about proposed bike lanes on Madison, from Cooper St. to Cleveland Ave. Â If the lanes are created as the email describes, they will be a crucial biking link from the heart of Midtown to the Medical District. Â Madison Avenue is not the least bike friendly street in Memphis, but when these new bike lanes, it will be one of the most.
Please take a moment, read the email, and take action.
I don’t remember who or what first motivated me to begin biking to work; it might have been my brother, who regularly bikes to work from his home in Seattle. Â It might have been the realization that I was driving 3.5 miles one way to work (about a 10-15 minute drive, plus time looking for parking), when I could easily walk that distance in an hour. Â (I’ve still never tried that.) Â It might have been the sinking feeling that as I sauntered through my 30s, my metabolism was not getting any faster, and that if I wanted to avoid becoming fat and feeble in my old age, I needed to get my exercise on, and fast. Â Or, it might have been a desire to cut down on my carbon emissions and contribution to traffic congestion. Likely, it was a combination of all of those factors, plus some I’ve forgotten.
Whatever the case, my first challenge in biking to work was planning my route. Â I’m a planner by nature; I love maps, spreadsheets, numbers, labeled files, and having an organized life. Â So after spending hours poring over Google Maps, this is the route I came up with.