Tagged: Greater Memphis Greenline

Mid-week review

Hi people.  Today was a fucking lovely day to be biking in Memphis.  The weather this morning was slightly chilled, but not too bad, and this afternoon was unbeatable.  At one point, as I was turning right on Madison from McLean, I could have sworn I was in Seattle.

I’ve been wearing my knee warmers, which I purchased from the Peddler a few weeks ago, on my morning commutes; they seem to be helping.  Hal recommended that I wear them whenever the temperature drops below 70ºF, which seemed a little extreme at first.  But he explained that the area under the kneecap gets very little warming blood and as a result the knee is prone to injury in cold weather.  Given that I was out of commission for several weeks in January due to an overly-ambitious cold-weather ride on the Greenline, I am taking much better care of my knees.  Can’t genuflect without them, you know.

Interbike 2011 was last week, and while I don’t see myself heading out for such a huge bike expo anytime soon, it’s nice to see reports from there on the other biking blogs I read.  For example, check out this absolutely sick set of bike tire chains from Slipnot Traction.  I mean, how cool is that?  Makes me want to move someone snowy.

And, have a gander at these ridonkulous lights from LED by LITE.  I’ve long wanted turn signals for my bike, and you know my love of bike lights (four rear, two front and counting).  This might be the solution that I’ve been dreaming about.

Lastly, check out this clothes-folding system for commuter cyclists.  I’ve never been particularly worried about having wrinkled clothes – that’s an academic for you! – but I might kludge my own version of this for use on my commutes.

Hey, are you a real cyclist?  I guess I am.

It’s comforting to know that Memphis is not alone in having a backlash against bike lanes.  I mean, Portland of all places?  I can sympathize with the complaints about gentrification.  Too many neighborhoods have been bifurcated or simply torn down in the name of “progress.”  Most familiar-sounding quote from the article?

“There was the feeling that the city just rolled through with this.”

Des Moines also suffers from some anti-bike lane paranoia.  But I hear it’s so flat out there …

I admit, sometimes I lose a little steam with my blogging.  Being so busy preparing for my new job plus teaching almost 300 students and keeping up with all my job responsibilities (not to mention housework) can be a little daunting.  So it’s always great to get a little love, like I did today on the facebooks.

Screen shot 2011 09 21 at 7 44 33 PM

I’ve always favored world domination of any sort, but bicycle world domination has to be the best.  Thanks for the shout-out, Matt.  Maybe my blog will be mentioned in an article like that someday.

What made my day earlier this week was being recommended by Clark over at Victory Bicycle Studio for inclusion in a photo series by local photographer and bike mechanic Nathan Berry.  Nathan is taking pictures of local cyclists in their everyday street clothes in an effort to demystify cycling.  I really like the idea and was happy to sit for some pictures.  The project will culminate in an art opening on 14 October in the Broad Street neighborhood.  Sadly, I’ll be out of town for the event, but I’m really honored to have been cited by Clark as a prominent local cyclist.  I guess it goes to show what hundreds of miles biking and a blog can do for you.

The good people over at Greater Memphis Greenline posted this map of all the multi-use trails around town.  I had no idea there were so many such facilities scattered around town.  I can’t wait for the day when they connect with one another seamlessly.  And for a good chuckle, zoom in on the U of M campus.  We are positively dense with biking possibilities apparently.

Agreed.

Speaking of the Greenline, the second in the series of I Love Memphis murals, envisioned by Kerry Crawford of the awesome I Love Memphis blog is being installed even as we speak on our favorite rails-to-trails facility.  I loved the first such mural, located in my neighborhood as it is, and I’m really excited about the new one.  Can’t wait to bike by it and take a few pictures.

Yes, please!

Q: Are bikes more environmentally friendly than cars?  (I mean, do you really have to ask that question?)  A: Yes, they are.  By a mile.

More lighted awesomeness.  Expensive, but still awesome.  Damn my budget constraint!

I can’t say that I’ve ever really wanted to take a tall bike on my daily commute, but this video by the good people at Live from Memphis just might change my mind.

Speaking of Live from Memphis, go here to see their pictures from the recent Midnight Classic.

Well, I didn’t make the list of the 50 most influential bike bloggers this year, but there’s always next year.  Still, check out the list for some gems.  I particularly love Commute by Bike and Bike Commuters, for obvious reasons.

Do I really need more lights?  Oh, why not.  They’re so inexpensive!

Yes, please (part two)!

80% bike network coverage?  It looks like Hoboken is giving Portland a run for its money.  Although it appears that Portland is safe for the time being.  Notable fact from the article? Hoboken’s City Council approved these efforts unanimously. You listening, Memphis City Council?

Well, what started out as a short mid-week post has turned into a massive purge of all the biking-related links I’ve been saving over the past few weeks.  Look for another post soon.  Until then, keep biking in Memphis.

Bicycle Facilities Meeting: 23 March 2011

After skipping the second in the series of meetings about plans for biking and pedestrian facilities in Memphis – the one that actually focussed on bike lanes, no less – I attended the third and final meeting this week.  Like the first two it was hosted by the Church Health Center and took place on Wednesday, 23 March.

The meeting was sparsely attended compared to the first one; mostly it was the “true believers” (people who already bike around town) and several representatives from the Memphis MPO, including the inimitable Kyle Wagenschutz, the city’s bike/pedestrian coordinator.  There was no presentation, just a large number of colorful and informative maps showing the proposed and scheduled bike facilities around the area.

I was heartened to see many such facilities in Midtown, where I live, as well as in north and south Memphis, areas long held in the grips of poverty and underemployment.  While I most certainly want every major road in Midtown to be blanketed in bike lanes (especially Madison Avenue!), I don’t want these plans to be a Midtown-only effort.  Considering the extent to which poverty correlates with negative health outcomes, the low-income neighborhoods in Memphis should very much be the beneficiaries of any and all facilities which encourage exercise.

What remains to be seen is what will actually happen.  From looking at the maps, at least some of the proposed facilities appear to be somewhat “pie in the sky” in ambition.  Don’t get me wrong: I would love to see some sort of trail system running along Nonconnah Creek south of Memphis and connecting with the Germantown bike facilities, the Wolf River trail system, and indirectly to the Shelby Farms Greenline, but where the funding (and political muscle) comes from is unknown at this time.  Whatever the case, I am overjoyed to see so many proposed biking and walking facilities in and around Memphis.  It’s really heartening to see how quickly this city has turned around.  I can only imagine what it has been like for the dozens of people who’ve been advocating for better facilities (hell, any facilities) for walkers and bikers in Memphis for years.

One piece of good news to share: after originally coming out against the proposed bike lanes on Madison Avenue, Molly’s La Casita has switched teams and is now supporting bike lanes!  Yay Molly’s!!  Now if only Huey’s and Mercury Valet Cleaners would end their senseless opposition.

The Meeting the Week Before Last About Bike Lanes on Madison Avenue

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.  I have been extraordinarily busy lately and haven’t had much time for long-form posts.  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.

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