10 Things I Experienced for the First Time on My Bicycle

Posted by Holly Whitfield | October 25th 2012 3425 0

Ed. Note: Amanda Wheeler is a new Memphian, so just about everything she's experiencing here is a first. Today, though, she's collected a series of photos of things she's seen in Memphis for the first time from the seat of her road bike. Enjoy!

These are a collection of firsts I have encountered as a brand new Memphian and a new biker.

Your Eyes by Amanda Wheeler

Memphis constantly surprises me.  Yes, there are a lot of old buildings, but the standing grit of what once was is where Memphis finds its true beauty. Realizing the attractiveness of an urban environment was a first for me.

Jerry's by Amanda Wheeler

New to biking meant being new to biking events. With Cycle Memphis, for the first time ever, I got to experience the thrill of riding through city streets in a massive group of people, all bobbing together to a single location (like Jerry's Snow Cones).

United Warehouse by Amanda Wheeler

Except for the interstate, the first time I drove south of downtown Memphis was on a road bike. That's where I saw this monster and realized that I'm in love with warehouses. I want everyone to realize how Memphis architecture is truly awesome.

Bridges by Amanda Wheelers

Moving to a new city was a huge first for me. But Memphis is an amazing place to be a newbie. It’s a hub of people experiencing the city for the first time, even if they have lived here all of their lives. I sat on my bike and took this picture, watching a train go by and people come and go from Mississippi and Arkansas and felt very lucky to be in a place where there is so much potential it’s tangible. 

Community pole by Amanda Wheeler

Memphis has a distinct sense of community. My first job out of grad school is centered on a community in which I am brand new, but have instantly felt at home. Biking, nonprofits, music, food, volunteering, donating, whatever it is, Memphis has a sense of community like no other. Memphis has good people and that’s inspiring.

Ladder 1 by Amanda Wheeler

One evening I biked into this jewel. It was the first time I had ever seen an antique fire truck up close. It's so nostalgic and simple.

Midnight Classic by Amanda Wheeler

The Midnight Classic Ride was the first time I road 17 miles through Memphis on a bike at midnight. It was also the first time I saw someone ride a two-story bike and the first time I ate Gibson’s doughnuts.

The River by Amanda Wheeler

It’s so cliché, but I can’t get enough of Memphis sunsets over the Mississippi River. Every single one of them is like a first because that twilight hour when the river is silently rushing, and the sun is leaving, is always different.

street art by Amanda Wheeler

The first time I saw a raccoon blow bubbles I was on my bike. There’s not much else to say about that, besides the fact that this raccoon and squirrel are the cutest things ever painted on the side of a street.

Tennessee Street by Amanda Wheeler

My first time on Tennessee Street was on my bike. I looked up, saw this sign, and it hit me that I’m a Tennessean now, and that’s a first.


Amanda Wheeler works as Community Relations Manager at Literacy Mid-South and is originally from Missouri. As a newly minted Tennesseean, she can’t get enough Memphis.

Show Comments


  1. Brad says:

    I've always loved the two United Warehouse buildings on Crump. I used to live in AR and drove by them every day. Lovely old buildings 😉

  2. PatrickGSR94 says:

    Cool story and pics, Amanda.  I have also been doing the Cycle Memphis rides and did the Midnight Classic.  I've also been riding the Downtown Farmers' Market rides which go out at 9 AM on the first and third Saturdays from the Farmers' Market at Front and GE Patterson.  I actually led the ride this past weekend because the normal guy wasn't there, and I had 2 people ride with me who are also both relatively new to the area.  I've been in the Memphis area all my life and was glad to show them around to some of the sights around downtown Memphis, and show them some places where you can ride your bike that they didn't know about – for instance the walking path that runs above the monorail track across to Mud Island.

  3. Wonderful stories and photos, Amanda! As a (mostly) lifelong Memphian, I am sometimes quite struck by the unique sights and experiences of our very cool city, but I can also miss a lot since, like a lot of people, I just get caught up in day-to-day activities. Thanks for the reminder that even the smallest — or warehouse-big, lol — things can give us reason to be excited about Memphis and hopeful about our future.

  4. D says:

    Whoever has been painting that squirrel and raccoon is my new hero.

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