Biking in New Zealand is pretty easy. Where we live the roads either have bike lanes or are wide enough to accommodate both bikes and cars. I can do pretty much all my errands by bike without a problem so I rarely take the car.
However, I’m a bit nervous about biking while I’m living in Memphis. In years past it has been known as a very unfriendly city to cyclists and I’ve heard some horror stories from friends who did try biking to work. Personally I never tried biking to work either since I usually lived 20-30 minutes away by car and bikes don’t mix with interstates.
Now though I’m living closer to my work place and biking to and from work is actually possible! I’m super excited about that. And since I’ve biked a bit in Downtown already I feel more confident about my ability to actually do this.
Plus since the last time I was in Memphis they have created MILES of new bike lanes! The street I’m on and both of the streets nearby leading downtown have new bike lanes. It’s pretty awesome!
For a little extra reassurance I’ve been researching routes and other cycling stuff in Memphis. I’ve found some great things about Memphis and biking in my search:
- Memphis is one of six cities that have been chosen to get fast track protected bicycle lanes from Bikes Belong Foundation. The Green Lane Project is a cool effort working with six US cities including Memphis to help build world-class cycling networks on city streets in the next two years. This is huge for Memphis and makes me really happy!
- Annual Bike to Work Day is on May 18th, which I can actually participate in! I remember this from last year and was so bummed that I lived too far away to ride there safely, so I’m super excited this year! You have to register this year though but that is easily done here.
- Some cool Memphis bicycle related sites: Greater Memphis Greenline (multi use trails throughout the city which are really nice), Biking in Memphis, Bike Walk Tennessee, Livable Memphis, Fix Memphis., Memphis Bike Polo (I’d be scared to play but it looks cool).
- City of Memphis Bike Route Tours and a map of proposed/future bike lanes in Memphis: Memphis Bike Lanes. Bike Lanes proposed by Mayor AC Wharton to be completed by 2013.
- And what I was really looking for: Map of Bike-Friendly Streets in Memphis!! I’m using this to plan potential routes to work. Thanks to this map I confirmed what I thought would be a good route to take and will check it out for real once I get into the city. Looks like it will work perfectly!
- I just found Kyle Wagenschutz’s website/blog Bike Ped Memphis this week. Kyle is the city’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator and he has done great things for biking in Memphis over the last couple of years and I’m excited to follow his blog on the topic.
I think Memphis could be a great city for cycling and it’s nice to see changes being made to move in that direction. Memphis gets a bad rap all the time from almost everyone but I love it here and always will. I guess I like an underdog with character. It makes me happy to see good things happening in the city, especially regarding one of my other loves – biking!
I’ll be writing a lot more about biking in Memphis once I actually pick up a bike and start doing it. For now I’m waiting on my bike I’m borrowing from my boss (should get it this weekend). I’m super excited to get it and get out there and test out all those new bike lanes! Wish me luck!