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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Bike trails and city roads offer Memphis area cyclists with choices to meet the needs of all

Bike trails and city roads offer Memphis area cyclists with choices to meet the needs of all
By:  Michael Lander
Even though there are some inherent risks involved with it, riding on the road is
often the best option for those cyclists who want to ride fast and who want to
ride long distances.
We all love having choices.  It is something that we all want, and something that we all have come to expect in our day-to-day lives.  This is no less true for those who enjoy spending part of their time, and life, on a bike. 

When it comes to choices in places to ride, life could not be much better for cyclists who live in and around the city of Memphis.  The number of options has been greatly enhanced over the last couple of years with the recent development of new bike lanes and trails that have come about in and around our Mid-South city.  

In very little time, we have witnessed a new and ever-growing network of bike lanes and paved bike and pedestrian trails that have grown exponentially and have become an integral part of our ever-evolving urban landscape.

Aside from being a welcomed sight for cyclists, runners and others, these new bike lanes and trails are also helping to unify and bring neighborhoods closer together, especially as they begin to tie in and interconnect with one another.  It is on these bike lanes and trails where people are being brought together, where they can share and enjoy the same common areas meant for anyone and everyone.

If there is a problem with any of this for cyclists, it is only in them trying to decide whether they want to hit the road, to hit the trails, or do a combination of both.  Ultimately, for some, it often simply comes down to a matter of preference, but for those who are new to cycling, or who are unsure about which might be best for them, the decision could easily come down to two simple things.  The first of these involves the type of cyclist that you are and the other is what you want to get out of the rides that you plan to do.

For those who are new to cycling, or who consider themselves to be more recreational cyclists, the paved trails may be the best place for you to go to.  For the most part, they are relatively easy and flat and a cyclist can travel at a much slower, more leisurely pace when they visit them.  This is especially nice if you are more interested in talking and just enjoying some time with friends and family. 

The trails are also ideal for riding with smaller children who are just beginning to ride and who are too young to be out riding out anywhere else on their own.  The trails are also quite scenic, particularly in the spring and fall, and they are one of the best ways for cyclists to see the beauty of nature with many places that you can stop and to really take it all in.

The bike trails, like the Shelby Farms Greenline, are often the best choice for those who
who are new to cycling, who may not be comfortable riding on the roads, and who
are a lot more interested in moving at a slower pace.
If there is any downside to the trails, though, it is that they can sometimes be a little congested with pedestrians, runners, people walking their dogs, parents pushing strollers, and so on.  This is often the case on weekends and when the weather is really nice.  When they are congested like this, it can make for slow-going for those on a bike.  Also, because they sometimes intersect with some streets from time to time, it may mean some frequent stopping and waiting before it is safe to cross.

For those who want to avoid some of this, the roads may be the best option for you.  This is especially true for those who are more serious cyclists and who want to train for long-distance rides and who want to be able to go fast.  Because there are more dangers for cyclists on the roadways, you have to be more cautious and careful and constantly aware of what is going on around you.  Since you are out in traffic, you must know and follow all the rules of the road and that essentially means just acting and behaving like you would as if you were in your car.

Whether you have a preference for the trails or for the roads, it is nice every now and then to switch things up and do one or the other or both just for a little variety.  Each has their own distinctive advantages over the other and they both offer cyclists a chance to try something a little different for a change.  Either way, it gives all cyclists a choice and that is always a good thing for everyone.

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