Tagged: group ride

Rides so far this week

I’ve biked two days this week, Tuesday and Wednesday, as I elected to work from home Monday and today.  (BTW, these days are soon to come to an end – classes start next week.)  It’s been a pretty uneventful week thus far although I have had some fun experiences.

Tuesday … wait, actually I worked from home Tuesday as well.  But I had a meeting that afternoon with our local insurance guy about … life insurance.  Gawd.  Just writing that makes me feel old.  But, given the fact that if either my wife or I died, leaving the other to fend for him/herself, the surviving spouse would be pretty much fucked financially, we decided it was a good idea to get insured.  Also, I’m getting disability insurance, in case something bad happens to me while biking.  (And the Oscar for most depressing blog post goes to … )

After an hour or so of listening to the fine points of term life, whole life, universal life, and other things I promptly forgot, I stopped by the house for a minute before heading to the University district for the Peddler’s Tuesday night ride.  I hadn’t ridden one in a long time, and I wish I hadn’t waited so long.  The main reason for my participation was that a friend of mine is considering buying a bike, so I took him to the Peddler to shop for one.  He found a really beautiful bike for not that much; can’t remember the model though.  He had fun on the ride but was rather exhausted by the time we returned.

The best part of the ride was a family of two parents with three kids, two boys and a girl.  The girl slept in a trailer her parents pulled for most of the ride – she was maybe two years old – but her brothers rode the entire distance to Overton Park and most of the way back.  And they were maybe four and six.  Seriously.  They were flying.  It was awesome.

Anyway, here’s a map of the day’s ride.

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Wednesday I was in meetings most of the day, but I biked to work and then home nonetheless.  I felt really crappy when I got home, allergies maybe, so I had to bail on a dinner with friends.  But the ride was fun at least.  Here’s a map.

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I had to run an errand at Poplar Plaza, hence the funny route home.

So, Tuesday’s ride was 17.4 miles and Wednesday’s was 9.11.  Not bad for a slow week.  I’m sure cycling and writing will pick up next week, when I’ll have to go to the office almost every day.  Seriously.  I know.

Until then, happy biking, and be safe.

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.

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.

Cycle Memphis 2.0 – tonight!

People.  I mentioned this in my post yesterday, but the Cycle Memphis 2.0 group ride is tonight.  Here’s a link to their facebook page for the event.  What I forgot to post was a link to the route for tonight’s ride – here it is – and a link to a flickr photo set from the first Cycle Memphis ride.

I hope it’s not too obscenely hot tonight, but one way or the other, I will be there.  Hope to see you all there as well.

Cycle Memphis Group Ride!!!

Cycle Memphis is sponsoring its first group ride this Saturday, 2 July, beginning at 8:00 PM.  The meeting place is the gazebo at the corner of Cooper and Young.  The ride will be moderately paced and good for beginners.  Read more about it here.

I really hate that I’m going to miss it but I need to spend some time at home with the fam that night.  But next month I am totally there.