Tagged: Cycle Memphis

Biking at night … ?

Hi everyone.  I received a message from a friend on facebook.  She asked about good routes in Memphis for biking at night.  Apparently she and her brother biked on Madison the other night and both got flats.  That sucks, no doubt.

I recommended many of my favorite routes and neighborhoods: Linden, Chickasaw Gardens, Cooper Young … Midtown in general.  But I thought that you all, my readers, might have some suggestions for her.

So, my people, what are your favorite routes or neighborhoods when biking at night in Memphis?  Don’t forget to mention destinations.  I remember a Cycle Memphis ride a few months ago that paused at Martyr’s Park overlooking the Mississippi River.  That was pretty epic.

As always, share your stories in the comments.  Many thanks.

End of the week wrap-up

My people.  It’s been a while since I posted an end-of-the-week wrap-up.  But, since I have a few minutes tonight, and a back-log of articles to share, I think it’s time.

First, what an awesome and amazing article appeared in today’s Commercial Appeal about biking in Memphis.  As I noted on my blog’s Facebook page, I couldn’t have said it better myself.  In fact, I really need to interview this guy for my blog.

Second, I hope that everyone who participated in last night’s Cycle Memphis ride had a great time.  I had planned to go, but spent the day moving boxes of books and other crap from one office to another – it’s a long story – so by last night, I was pretty shagged out.  It looks like the turn-out was really good.  I hope to make September’s ride.  The Cycle Memphis guys always put on a good show.  Hmmm … maybe I should interview them for my blog as well.

Also, from Cort at Fix Memphis, there is a bike polo tournament happening soon.  The game goes down on September 29 at Tiger Lane.  It’s also a benefit for St. Jude’s; always a good cause.  Visit memphisbikepolo.com for more information and to register.

Next, James Roberts posted a question about local bike courier services on the About page of my blog.  I didn’t have anything to tell him, but if any of you have information about any local bike messenger services, please share it in the comments.

Do I have a GPS unit on my bike?  No, unless you count my iPhone.  Do I now want a Japanese GPS unit on my bike?  Oh hell yes.

A bit late, but yikes … be careful out there, Murfreesboro.

If you needed a reminder about all the ways in which biking is awesome, and a key part of our cities’ futures, here you go.

And that’s all for now.  As always, thanks for reading, and I hope to see you all soon, biking in Memphis.

P.S.  I don’t have anyone lined up for the Cyclist of the Month profiles in the next few months, so shoot me a comment if you are interested.

This weekend’s activities

Hi everyone.  Just a quick post about a couple of biking activities this weekend you should know about.

The good people in the Boscos Cycling Team (including April’s Cyclist of the Month, Jason Potter) are leading a Bike to Work Train from Midtown to downtown on Friday, June 1.  The ride begins at Otherlands Coffee Bar at 7:30 AM – be there early for some java.  It will be a fun ride.

On Saturday, June 2, the monthly Cycle Memphis ride happens.  This installment meets at 7:00 PM at the gazebo at the corner of Cooper St. and Young Ave. and begins at 7:15 PM.  I don’t have a route to share with you, but every Cycle Memphis I’ve been on has been great.  I don’t think I’ll be able to attend, so have fun in my absence.

Alright Memphis, get out there and get on your bikes.

April cycling events

Hi everyone.  Spring has certainly arrived early this year, making biking ever so much more enjoyable.  I have some hope that we can make these moderate temperatures last for a few months; the last thing we need is four months of summer.  But I digress.  Just in time for spring, the month of April is exploding with bicycling events here in Memphis.  Read on for more information.

1.  Tour of Flanders Party – The Brass Door Pub – Sunday, April 1, 7:30 AM until you bonk.

Did you really need an excuse to drink beer and eat waffles at 7:30 in the morning?  Because now you have one.  Co-hosted by the good people at Victory Bicycle Studio and The Brass Door, the Tour of Flanders Party features coverage of the 2012 Tour de Flanders ride (obviously).  Get there early for a good seat in front of the 92″ FLAT SCREEN TV. Is that shit even legal?  ‘Cause I’m tripping balls just thinking about it.

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2.  The Fourth Annual Tour de Grizz – Memphis Zoo; FedExForum – Saturday, April 7, more or less all day.

The Tour de Grizz is one of my favorite group rides in the city.  It begins this year as in past at the Memphis Zoo and ends up at FedExForum and is definitely fun and safe for all ages.  For $25 per person, you get one-day admission to the zoo, a terrace-level ticket to watch the Grizzlies demolish the Dallas Mavericks, plus a t-shirt and lots of other stuff I’m forgetting.  And if you want club-level seats, you can pay $55 per person and make that happen.  (Note: if you’re a Grizzlies season-ticket holder like me, it only costs $15.)  The ride begins at 5:30 PM and is escorted by the Memphis Police, which is fun in and of itself.  I’ll be there, and so should you.

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3.  15th Annual Charles Finney Ride – Lakeland Outlet Mall - Saturday, April 14, 8:00 AM.

The Memphis Hightailers are sponsoring the 15th Annual Charles Finney Ride to benefit the Church Health Center on Saturday, April 14.  There are three rides you can choose from: 18 miles, 45 miles, and 62 miles.  I won’t be able to attend, as I have a work event that day, but hopefully you can.  Click here to register.

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4.  Cycle Memphis April – Cooper-Young gazebo – Saturday, April 14, 8:00 PM until around 11:00 PM.

I’ve missed the last couple Cycle Memphis rides due to prior commitments, so I am super-excited about this month’s ride.  Normally held on the first Saturday of the month, Cycle Memphis April was pushed back a weekend due to the Tour de Grizz.  I’ve written about the Cycle Memphis rides before – they’re always a good time.  I imagine that the crowd will be extra large this time, what with the weather improving and all.  And, as an added bonus, I will be DJing the ride.  That’s right – I’ve volunteered to create the musical soundtrack for April’s ride.  I used to DJ some back in grad school, so I’m excited to dust off my skills and select some tunes for the people.

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(Note: that should read 2012, not 2011.)

5.  The Dorothy Day House of Hospitality Family Fun Rides – Levitt Shell at Overton Park – Saturday, April 14, 7:00 AM.

The Memphis Rotary Club is sponsoring Families Supporting Families, a day of bike rides to benefit the Dorothy Day House, which provides shelter and support for homeless families in Memphis.  There are three rides that day: a 1/2 mile family run ride around Overton Park, plus two rides to Shelby Forest and back, at 33 and 53 miles.  The longer rides begin at 8:00 AM and the fun ride at 10:00 AM.  Click here to register.

Dorothy Day Ride

6.  Bikesploitation II: Some Bike it Hot! submission deadline – Friday, April 20.

The good people at Live from Memphis are once again sponsoring Bikesploitation, a festival of bike-related films.  The festival isn’t until May 18, but the deadline for submissions is Friday, April 20.  Click here to read more and here to learn about how to submit your own film.  Hmm … maybe it’s time for me to get that handlebar-mounted camera I’ve been eyeing.

Honorable Mention - Ignite: Sustainability – The Zone at the FedEx Institute of Technology, University of Memphis Campus – Tuesday, April 3, 6:00 PM.

While this event doesn’t have any biking-related content per se, my good friend Matt Farr, along with Launch Memphis, Sustainable Shelby, and the University of Memphis, is organizing Ignite: Sustainability to promote ideas for sustainable products and projects in Memphis.  I was planning to present but had to bow out due to my work load.  It should be a great event though, so plan to go if you can.  Here’s more information.

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What a great month we have in store.  So much biking, so few Saturdays.  I hope you can attend all of these events; I know I’ll be at most of them.  Did I miss anything?  Leave me a message in the comments.

Mucho biking this weekend

Hi everyone.  I went on two rather long and fun bike rides this weekend.  Here’s a quick rundown of the days’ events.

Saturday evening was the next installment in the ongoing series of Cycle Memphis rides.  I’ve attended about half the rides so far and all have been really great.  The ride was well-attended, despite the weather and the time of year.  It’s always good to run into fellow cyclists and meet a few new people of like mind.  Here’s a picture from the beginning of the ride, at the gazebo at Cooper and Young.

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Maybe I need to invest in a better camera.

Anyway, the ride went east from Cooper-Young to Muddy’s Bake Shop, then back west via the familiar Shady Grove route.  Here’s a map of the route we followed.

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The ride left around 8:30 PM and arrived back at the intersection of Cooper and Young around 10:30 PM.  I had a really great time, especially hearing this story from the inimitable Cort about a past bike race in Memphis.

On Sunday my wife suggested that we go on a bike ride together and run an errand in the process.  I was very happy that she suggested this; it’s relatively rare that we ride together and, given how busy the past week was for both of us, it was nice to spend some time together.

My wife is a sporadic cyclist, so I was doubly impressed that she wanted to bike from our home to the Greenline, then to Target, then home.  I could handle a ride like that with no problem, but I wanted to make sure that she enjoyed herself, so I let her set the pace.  She was a champ for the entire ride, although I know that those last few hills on Southern were taxing. Here’s a map of our ride.

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I do love a big, looped route like that.  Plus a couple of hours riding with my wife.

That’s all for now.  I hope your weekend was equally bike-filled and fun.  I’ll be racking up some miles this week, so look for more stories about biking in Memphis.

Yesterday’s ride

Hi everyone.  Before I get into yesterday’s ride, I’d to mention/remind you all that Biking in Memphis is on twitter.  You can follow me on @bikinginmemphis.  And I’ve started using my twitter iPhone app more lately, so there will be tasty tweets for you to read.  My feed is already connected to my Facebook page.

Anyway, yesterday I had to go downtown for an important dinner with the Shelby County legislative delegation.  The twenty-plus members of the state House and Senate from Shelby County have been very supportive of the Center for Economic Education at the University of Memphis, and since I am going to be taking over as Director of said Center, it was incumbent that I meet the delegation.

I debated whether or not to bike downtown.  The dinner started at 4:00 PM, so traffic wasn’t an issue, but I needed to wear my suit and look sharp, and I was concerned about being rumpled, given that I wouldn’t be able to change clothes once I arrived.  Plus, I wanted to be sure I had plenty of time to get there, and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to leave on time.  And, I haven’t biked in several weeks, and given that I blew out my knee last year under similar circumstances, I did not want to risk another injury.  But eventually I sucked it up, geared up, and headed out around 2:50 PM, in plenty of time to bike downtown.

I arrived at the Majestic Grille, the site of the dinner, around 3:20 PM after a very leisurely ride downtown.  The weather was sunny and cool, so I barely broke a sweat and was looking quite dapper when I arrived.  Here’s a picture of my freshly-shaved self just before I left.

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Admit it – I clean up good.

The dinner was quite a lot of fun.  The President of U of M, Dr. Shirley Raines, was there, and I was introduced to her as the new Center Director.  There was probably around 15-20 of the delegation there, plus some other important people, so it was fun to be able to flex my schmoozing skills.  And, I got invited to speak at an urban issues summit this weekend by State Representative G. A. Hardaway.  I’ll bike to that for sure.

The dinner ended just before 7:00 PM, and after a few wardrobe changes, I headed home.  Unfortunately, I forgot to tell my biking app, MotionX GPS, that I was heading home, so I only captured some of my ride home.  Regardless, here the map of my ride.

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The northern leg was my ride west to downtown.  You can see where I remembered to reactivate MotionX GPS, just where that little spur sticks up from Linden.  Here’s a clickable link for your enjoyment.

Tonight I’m biking to the FedEx Forum to help with a training session for some of the Grizzlies Team Mentors.  The mentors, in groups of three, meet weekly with local kids and teach them important life lessons.  My colleague, the current Center Director, and I are going to teach them a few financial literacy lessons.  Then it’s off to Boscos for my weekly beer and social time.  Come by if you like.

This weekend promises to be nice weather, so I hope to log some miles on my bike.  If I do, you can bet that you’ll read about it here.

Oh, and don’t forget: Cycle Memphis January is this weekend!  I hope to be able to ride, but it depends on some other stuff.

Yesterday and today

Hi everyone.  I’ve been a bit slack in my writing in the past couple of weeks, but with good reason.  Fall semester began just under two weeks ago and, no matter how much preparation I do, there’s always 1,000,000 tasks that need to be completed in the first days of the term.  That, plus being taken out of commission for a few days due to some weird, random abdominal pains, I haven’t felt like writing much.  This means that I have an ever-growing backlog of daily rides, articles, and special events to write about.  (It’s good to know that I’ll never run out of fodder for posts.)  So I’ll knock out a couple of them right now.

Last night was the third Cycle Memphis group ride.  Last month’s event was ridiculously fun, so I arrived at the gazebo at the intersection of Cooper and Young with high expectations for this month’s ride.  I’ve learned to accept that group bike rides will often start a minute or two later than advertised; this just means more time for socializing.  Once the ride began we set off from Cooper-Young and headed down Young Avenue to Barksdale.  We then biked north to … well, just check out the map.

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And here’s a clickable link.

So basically, we biked through Midtown to the north end of downtown, then down 2nd Street to Court Square Park.  There we rested for moment, took a group picture or two, then headed south again on 2nd Street.  I loved biking past the throngs of people in downtown – hell, I just loved seeing throngs of people in downtown – and waving to them.  It was really great to see the stares and hear the comments from bystanders.

The best part of the ride?  Hands down it was biking on Riverside Drive.  Honestly, I was a little nervous about it at first.  When traffic is heavy on that road there’s not much room to move if things get heavy.  But coming down the bluff and seeing the river and the bridges come into view … it was really amazing.  The fact that Kanye West was playing on the mobile sound system only added to the awesomeness.

After a stop or two to fix a flat tire we headed back to Cooper-Young.  Quite a few people dropped off the ride before the end; the crowd at the gazebo was a bit smaller than last time. And sadly there was no spontaneous dance party.  But that’s OK.  There’s always next time.

Other coolness from the ride: I finally met Ty from Living Loud in Midtown!  I was waiting at the intersection of Linden and Cleveland for cyclists to pass when another rider stopped with me.  We continued on and chatted and, lo and behold, it was Ty.  He recognized me from my blog.  It was really cool meeting a fellow cyclist and blogger.  Ty: let’s have a beer soon, and thanks for the shout-out.

I arrived home from the ride and promptly went to bed.  (OK fine … I actually sat outside and read for a bit while swatting away mosquitos.  I think I crashed around 2:00 AM.)  But today began sometime this morning, and so I decided to run a few errands on the bike.

Errand #1: take a huge pile of mixed-paper recyclables to the recycling bins at First Congo.  The reason: the pile of magazines on and under our coffee table was getting a little ridiculous.  So I decided to load those magazines into my panniers and dump them.  My best guess is that each pannier weighed about 30 pounds fully loaded.  That made my bike ride to the recycling center quite fun.  Here’s a few pictures.

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Yep, that’s a lotta paper.

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Close-up of pannier #1.  Quite a load, right?

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Feed me, Seymour!

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And a little more for my messenger bag.

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Ahhhh … much better.

Next I headed to the Easy Way on Cooper for a few veggies.  Here’s the scene.

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Nice parking job, if I do say so myself.  Unfortunately, Easy Way doesn’t open until noon on Sunday, so I had to wait for about an hour to complete my shopping.  Hello, Otherlands!

Here’s a map of my ride today.

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Nice and boring, just like I like it.

Memphis, I hope your weekend was as good as mine.  Look for more stories about biking in Memphis soon.  Good night.

Weekend Wrap-Up

Greetings from beautiful Heflin, Alabama.  I’m here for the weekend visiting relatives and enjoying a few days of constrained options.  One of the best parts of spending a few days away from home is the fact that I can’t do much else except read, work on a crossword puzzle, or write.  All of my work is at home and I have practically no choice but to relax.  Too bad my bike is at home too.

Anyway, I don’t have much to share with you this week.  I’ve been gone since Wednesday morning and have barely touched my bike since last week’s Cycle Memphis ride.  But a friend of mine shared this link with me.  These are some seriously awesome cargo bikes and the videos are quite entertaining too.

Speaking of cargo bikes, Cort over at Fix Memphis posted this about a new cargo bike the Peddler is “renting” out for interested riders.  I plan to sign up for a day and write about it.

Also, here’s a flickr set of pictures from the Cycle Memphis ride.

And lastly, the petition to support dedicated bike lanes on Madison has amassed over 1000 signature, four times its original goal of 250.  Let’s keep spreading the word and show that the momentum is on our side.

One more thing: do you like the band Wilco?  Do you like bikes?  Well, here you go.

Have a good weekend, everyone.  I can’t wait to come home and enjoy the cooler weather.

Pictures from Cycle Memphis 2.0

Hi everyone.  Here’s a few shots I took of last night’s awesome ride.

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This is the crowd just before we left the gazebo.  I think a few more people showed up after I took this picture, but you get an idea of the size of the group.  Note the bike-riding ice cream vendor in the foreground.  I had one of his orange sherbets when we got back from the ride – so good, especially after a group ride on a hot night.

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Another shot of the crowd.

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And a third, slightly blurry shot of the crowd.

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This is the only shot I took during the ride.  Rather blurry, yes, but you can clearly see the trailer with the speaker being towed by Jason Smith.  I rode within earshot of his bike pretty much all night.  It was awesome.

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And here’s the end of the ride.  The blurry people in the upper-right?  That’s the spontaneous dance party that erupted on our return.  Happy times.

Wow

I just got home about an hour ago from Cycle Memphis 2.0, the second in a hopefully long-running series of monthly group rides.  I have to say, it was a blast.  Seriously ridiculously fun.

The group congregated at the gazebo at the intersection of Cooper and Young around 8:00 PM.  I got there early and there were just a few cyclists present, which dismayed me a bit, as apparently the first Cycle Memphis ride had over 60 cyclists.  But riders kept trickling in and by the time we left, we had over 75 cyclists, maybe more than 80.

I forgot to activate my GPS app for the ride, so I don’t have a map to share with you, but you can see the route here.  If you’ve never been on a group ride like this, you might look at the map and think, whoa, biking on Central?  Crossing Poplar on Mendenhall?  This is crazy.  No way could I do this.

Trust me, you can.  The organizers of the event were careful to position cyclists at major intersections to stop traffic so that riders could bike through unimpeded.  (I even helped out a few times with that.)  Sure, we probably annoyed a few drivers tonight, but it was for the greater good.  And the pace was generally very moderate.  Sure, there were times when the lead cyclists sped away from the ones in the rear, and there were a few times when we all stopped to make sure everyone stuck together.  But overall, even a novice cyclist should feel completely comfortable participating in one of these rides.  And I hope you all do.

But enough with the logistics, let’s talk about the fun.  There were two, count ‘em, two cyclists with sound systems on trailers.  One, Steven Wray, whom I’ll be interviewing for my cyclist-of-the-month feature in December, had a couple of speakers attached to a handful of batteries stored in a cooler on his trailer.  I got to meet Steven as we were biking down Southern at the beginning of the ride.  Really great guy.  But then, coming from behind, Cycle Memphis co-organizer Jason Smith blazes by on his bike, towing a trailer with a nice-sized speaker, blaring some funk.  And that was when I knew that the party had started.

I’ve noticed one thing about group bike rides.  Besides the fun of getting to ride with fellow cyclists and perhaps explore parts of the city I might not have visited on my bike, it’s easy to forget that you are actually pedaling when you’re on a group ride.  Part of this is by necessity: when you have 80+ cyclists traveling together, it is inevitable that some cyclists will want to ride faster than others. So there’s this constant evolution in the composition of the group: some people want to race ahead to the front, others are content to hang back.  So you always have to be mindful of who is passing you, who is in front of you, who is behind you, who is beside you, and who else you might want to pass.  This tends to moderate the pace of the group and keep everyone aware of what is happening around them.  To say nothing of watching for oncoming traffic, which fortunately was not much of concern tonight.

But mostly, it is just really empowering to ride along with a shit-ton of fellow cyclists and have a good time doing it.  Everyone seemed to really enjoy the ride tonight, and I give a helmet-tip to the ride’s organizers, Jason Smith and Adam Hite.  I have a few pictures from the ride that I’ll post tomorrow, once my email client allows me to receive them from my iPhone.  Oh, and did I mention that there was a spontaneous dance-party that erupted at the gazebo at the end of the ride?  Seriously awesome.

Until I get a chance to post the pictures, I will sign off.  But a new adventure awaits tomorrow tonight – I’ve been talked into trying bike polo.  If you want to learn more about bike polo in Memphis, go here.  If you want to hear more about my bike polo debut, stay tuned.  It should be eventful.