365 Things to Do in Memphis #61: Ride with Cycle Memphis
(ed. note – Item #61 in the 365 Things to Do in Memphis was written by my buddy Doug Campbell. During the day, he's the director of the Center for Economic Education at the University of Memphis. In his free time, he's an avid cyclist. Check out his cycling blog, Biking in Memphis.)
A quick survey for those of you reading this article: do you own a bicycle? OK, good. So do I. Have you enjoyed the Shelby Farms Greenline on your bicycle? Yes, I have too. I love the Greenline. But are you maybe a little nervous about riding on Memphis city streets? Is traffic a concern for you? Would you like to meet other local cyclists and hear about their experiences biking in Memphis?
(Photo by Samantha Durant, used with permission.)
If you've answered "yes" to these questions, then I have an event for you. This weekend marks the next installment in the Cycle Memphis group bike rides. These rides, which are typically scheduled for the first Saturday night in each month (weather permitting), were founded by three roommates, Adam Hite, Jason Smith, and Matt Strini.
The roommates are avid local cyclists, but saw that there was a need for group bike rides that emphasize fun over spandex. I talked to Jason, who said, "Adam, Matt, and I had a lot of friends who were new to cycling and were a little nervous about riding in the city. The group rides in Memphis in the past have mostly been centered around spandex-clad roadies and triathletes. That can be cool, but it is not necessarily appealing to someone who just wants to get some fresh air or start commuting to work."
Speaking as someone who regularly commutes by bike to work and other places around town, I very much appreciate what these three guys are doing. One of the greatest barriers to commuter cycling is concerns about safety. And one of the best ways to overcome that barrier is to get cyclists out in large numbers to demonstrate that, yes, biking in Memphis can be safe and fun.
I attended my first ride back in September of 2011. There were dozens of cyclists there; roughly 80 participated in the ride. If you've never been on a group bike ride, you owe it to yourself to try. Just riding in such large number is a blast and feels quite empowering. Also, on every Cycle Memphis ride Jason has a trailer attached to his bike which carries a giant speaker attached to an iPod. Yes, you get to bike around town listening to music. It's the best.
n the success of past Cycle Memphis rides, Jason added, 'We wanted to put together a ride where cyclists of any skill level could come together, have a great time, and build on the growing bike community we have in Memphis. So far the rides have been great. We have received nothing but positive feedback and plan on coming up with creative ways to make the rides bigger and better in 2012. "
All Cycle Memphis rides begin at the gazebo at the corner of Cooper St. and Young Ave. The March ride is scheduled for this Saturday, March 3. The rides begin around 8:15 PM and are very moderately paced, around 15 miles in length. There is a stop around halfway through to rehydrate and rest. Do note that you ride at your own risk, and that you should always wear a helmet and use bike lights and reflectors when cycling at night.
First Saturday of the Month (This month: March 3)