Monday, May 19, 2008

Then I'm biking in Memphis. Biking with my wheels ten feet off of Beale.

Biking in Memphis? Yes there are people who actually ride bicycles here. Memphians ride for fun, fitness, transportation, and competition. These cycling Memphians span the spectrum from the DUI afflicted to the CEO's of large corporations, with a huge sprinkling of everybody else in the middle. They are our neighbors, friends, and the people who are part of our community at large. The commonality of these people is the bicycle. What they or we all lack are designated bicycle lanes. Why is that? There are probably a lot of reasons that I do not currently have the time to entertain now, but perhaps later. Some of you may have read or heard about the recent press from Bicycling Magazine regarding Memphis as one of the bottom three cities for the worst cycling cities. " Where cars rule, bike lanes don't exist and things are worse than in the 60's" - Christine Mattheis (Bicycling Magazine). Great! We made another worst something list. Men’s Health ranked Memphis as the fifth most unhealthy city for men in its ranking of 101 cities and only five points from the bottom. Memphis received a grade of D in fitness, F in environment and F in health. But there’s more. Men’s Fitness, in its 2005 rankings, said Memphis is the fourth fattest city in the U.S. and gave the region a grade of D for parks and recreation, and Medical News Today wrote that Memphis is in the bottom 10 cities for utilitarian walking or biking. Meanwhile, the rate of obesity in the eight-county metro area is higher than both state and national rates – 27.5 percent compared to 24.5 for Tennessee and 22.2 for the U.S. Swell huh? What are the solutions to our woes? Bike Lanes? Green Spaces? Safe routes to schools? Check out the five reasons for bicycling...


  1. Promotes healthier lifestyles
  2. Lowers health care costs
  3. Strengthens family bonds
  4. Provides recreation outlet for youth
  5. Builds closer-knit communities

Bicycling is fun for everyone. Men and women, young and old-Americans all across the country enjoy this safe and healthy activity. Anyone can pedal at any pace. Bicycling is gentle and low-impact, making it an enjoyable, pain-free activity for everyone.

- A bike ride a day… Just three hours of bicycling per week can reduce a person’s risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%. League of American Bicyclist

- “Bicycling is a great way to be active and stay healthy. It’s an ideal low-impact activity that’s fun for people of all ages in communities across America” Melissa Johnson, Executive Director of the Presidents Council on Physical Fitness and Sports

- 87 million Americans ride bicycles

- There are more bicyclists in the U.S. than skiers, golfers and tennis players combined.

- Bike paths boost property values.

- Bicycling is an inexpensive, convenient way to stay fit and healthy. A bike is 30 times less expensive to buy and maintain than a car

- Bicycling improves quality of life. It gets you outside, relieves stress, makes you feel better, and creates a way to spend time with family and friends. Best of all, it’s convenient, flexible and free. Whether for recreation, transportation, or competition bicycling offers a lifetime of health and fun.

So, why doesn't Memphis have bike lanes?

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