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Monday, June 30, 2014

Memphis cyclists stand to benefit from 'Big River Crossing' and a possible multi-state trail

Memphis cyclists stand to benefit from 'Big River Crossing' and a possible multi-state trail
By:  Michael Lander

This is one of dozens of cyclists who attended the grand opening of Riverside
Drive that has a portion that is marked and designated exclusively for
cyclists and pedestrians.  In the background is the Harahan Bridge
that has received a new moniker of the "Big River Crossing."

Just imagine, if you will, being able to ride your bike on a set of trails along the Mississippi River from as far north as Minnesota, through Memphis, and then on down to New Orleans.

For now that may just be wishful thinking, or the stuff that dreams are made of, but if people like entrepreneur and cycling promoter, Charles McVean, have their way, that sort of dream, or wishful thinking, may one day very well become a reality.

As ambitious as this might seem to some people, for some like McVean, if you're only thinking about bike trails in our local area, you really are not thinking big enough.

As Thomas Bailey, Jr. reported in The Commercial Appeal article, "Big developments revealed on 'big river crossing' over the Mississippi", McVean has hired Terry Eastin as a paid consultant to work a range of issues that include the potential further development of a 3,000 mile, ten state trail system from the headwaters of the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico.

These are cyclists attending the Spring Roll - Bike Gate Grand Opening at Overton
Park in Memphis on April 19, 2014 that was attended by dignitaries who thanked
those who helped save the park and recognized Tylur French who created the iconic
bicycle arch and all those who are helping to make Memphis a cycling city.

As the executive director for Mississippi River Trail, Inc. and Arkansas River Trail Consultant for the City of Little Rock, Eastin has many years of knowledge and experience with the planning and construction of trails and in the community advocacy for them.  She also helped to establish a Mississippi River Connections Collaborative.  This is a partnership between the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and a network of local, state, and federal park and trail managers, and non-profit organizations that have a vested interest in a system of on-road bikeways and pedestrian and bicycle pathways.

In working with McVean, Eastin hopes to address or tackle a wide range of issues.  These include the connection of a bike trails to the Harahan Bridge over the Mississippi River, (that has recently become known as the "Big River Crossing"), along with a comprehensive levee trail development, and a National Geographic project that will create an interactive website with a coded map, a phone app, and the use of various social media platforms to promote "geo-tourism" along the Mississippi River corridor.

The Shelby Farms Greenline is a popular trail for Memphians and others
alike.  Eventually, the trail will be extended further west and east and will
connect to other existing trails and bike lanes that will allow cyclists to
even ride to downtown Memphis.

In any potential multi-state trail system, Memphis would serve an extremely pivotal and crucial role, given its location along the river.  Nothing would help more to make this all possible than to also have the Harahan Bridge or "Big River Crossing" in place to tie everything together. 

Paul Morris is the president of the Downtown Memphis Commission and the project director of the "Big River Crossing" to connect Memphis to West Memphis.  If all goes according to plan, and Morris is able to secure the remaining funding and support that he needs for this project, it will not only be seen as a personal crowning achievement for him, but it will easily become a premiere tourist attraction in and of itself, and give a much-needed boast and impetus to further expansion of a trail system along the river.

Cyclists riding to the annual Bikesploitation event held at the National
Ornamental Metal Museum located near DeSoto Park and the Mississippi
River on May, 17, 2014.

With the "Big River Crossing," and a multi-state trail system, both cyclists and others are sure to love and appreciate the scenic views of towns and cities, the river, and all of the wildlife in a natural setting that most of us would never get to experience any other way.  It is safe to say that there are very few, if any, opportunities in the world that will allow people to ever travel alongside a major waterway, which in this case happens to be a lifeblood for our nation.  The trails can also bring people together who share both a common bond or connection to the river and to cycling as well.

Even though there may be some who might not think that a 3,000 mile trail system would be a big draw for cyclists, they could not be any more wrong.  You need only to look at how popular trails are in other parts of the country and around the world to discover that.  Thousands of people travel each and every year to the Appalachians and to the Rockies and some who even ride across the entire length of a state and across the country.

Memphis area cyclists currently have trails that connect Shelby Farms
Park with other trails and bike lanes in Germantown, Memphis, and the
Wolf River Greenway with more planned in the future.

With a Big River Crossing and an inter-connected trail system on the Mississippi River, Memphis stands to be seen as a progressive city and a leader throughout the U.S. and beyond.  Though it might be tempting by some local politicians not to support something like this because of budgetary reasons, it would be extremely shortsighted of them to do that. 

Efforts like this serve as a long-term investment and a resource in the city and its residents.  It should also be worth noting that initiatives and projects like this do not only come about through local, state, and federal funding, but are often achieved through donations from individuals, corporations, and businesses who work together for the benefit of everyone.

Cyclists, and many others, have many places and parks like Shelby
Farms in Memphis where they can enjoy nature and a beautiful
sunset on a lake or on the Mississippi River.

For those who are looking for the upside and benefits of all this, they will find such projects enhance the quality of life, provide a form of recreation for entire families, and a way to improve the health and fitness of all people in a community, which you really can't put any price on.  It also helps to bring in tourists and that might mean additional revenue for some cash-strapped cities and towns that may be located on or near a future trail along the river.

Even though it may be a decade or more for all of this to come together, it is a vision that we should all have in common with one another.  It can come only about by letting our voices be heard and by supporting candidates who share in that same vision with this.  We always have the capacity to achieve anything that we want when we pull together for a common purpose and for what is in the best interests and in the common good of each and every one of us.

To learn more about the big river crossing, you may want to read WMC-TV's, "No cars and few people could draw tourists from around the world," and the video "Big River Strategic Initiative."

Thursday, June 26, 2014

In downtown Memphis, cyclists will find what makes Memphis great

In downtown Memphis, cyclists will find much of what makes Memphis great
By:  Michael Lander

A portion of Riverside Drive is marked and designated exclusively for
both cyclists and pedestrians, which allows them safe and unrestricted
access and travel along one of Memphis' most scenic roadways.

Downtown Memphis..... If it's not high on your list of places to ride a bike, it really should be.  With all that there is to see and do, especially with a strikingly beautiful skyline set against the breathtakingly grand and awe-inspiring mighty Mississippi River, downtown Memphis offers a distinctively unique experience for just about everyone.  The only thing that might make it even better is being there and seeing it all on a bicycle.

For those who decide to ride, one of the best vantage points for really taking in a view of downtown and the Mississippi River, in all of its grandeur, is from Riverside Drive.  Recently the city of Memphis set aside a portion of this most scenic roadway with dedicated bike and pedestrian lanes that, in time, will tie into an ever-growing network of bike lanes and trails in our River City and beyond.

Even though cyclists will find a lot of vehicular traffic on the streets downtown, that includes horse-drawn carriages, and trolleys, they may find that they can easily navigate and get around, depending on when and where they decide to ride.

Main Street is one of the safer streets in downtown Memphis with virtually
no vehicular traffic for cyclists to contend with.

The best times to ride through downtown may be on the weekends and holidays, when there are not any big sporting or other events taking place.  For the most part, you will find a relatively light volume of vehicular traffic on Sunday and, in some cases, you may even find that you have some of the roads to yourself. 

Some of the best and most scenic streets to ride, other than Riverside Drive, are Main Street and the road along Mud Island, but there are countless other picturesque streets in and around the downtown area that have magnificent historic and contemporary buildings, great restaurants, stores, entertainment, and more.  Here is a list of the many places that you can find downtown and throughout the rest of the city.

If you're a little adventurous, and not easily intimidated by some heavier traffic, you can try venturing out and exploring the sights and sounds in the heart of Memphis by riding through downtown, even on the weekdays.  A little familiarity with the downtown area can really help in avoiding those city streets that are the busiest and most congested and the times that they experience their highest volume of traffic.

The Orpheum Theater is one of the many Memphis landmarks that
cyclists can see while riding in and around downtown Memphis.

Because of the potential risks involved with riding in traffic, it is important to be visible and predictable, to follow and obey traffic laws, and to think of yourself as being no different than any vehicle on the road.  Also, safety often comes in numbers, so travel in a group with others, whenever possible, and avoid riding on the sidewalks.  If you must be on them, be sure to yield to any pedestrians. 

Fortunately for Memphis area cyclists, Memphians are becoming more accustomed to seeing cyclists, and with an ever-improving city infrastructure for cycling, it will help pave the way for an even safer means in the future of getting around the city on a bike.  Additionally, cyclists should also find it increasingly easier to switch from alternative forms of transportation like going from a bike to a bus, to a trolley and so on. 

Even though the thought of crime may be a concern for some, Memphis and the downtown area have had very few, if any, reports or incidents involving cyclists and, according to data from the Memphis Police Department on areavibes.com the downtown area is even safer than 7.7 percent of the neighborhoods in Memphis.

Main Street may not have motor vehicles on it, but it does have
plenty of pedestrians, trolleys, and horse-drawn carriages for
cyclists to look out for.

Beyond the concern for personal safety, cyclists should be able to focus a lot of their time and energy on the bike rides themselves.  Even though it can be fun just to get out and ride without any specific itinerary or route in mind, if you're the type of person who likes to plan things out in advance, you will find some excellent places to ride, along with some bicycle routes that have been uploaded on to the Internet.  You will also find some of the best routes for touring the city by bike, courtesy of the City of Memphis.

There are a seemingly endless number of places you can ride to in downtown Memphis , and here is just an abbreviated list of some of the more prominent locations worth seeing (or checking out) along your bike ride.  This includes the Orpheum Theater, the National Civil Rights Museum at the former Lorraine Hotel (where the Rev. Martin Luther King was killed), the Memphis Rock n Soul Museum, the Fire Museum, Gibson Guitar, Court Square, Tom Lee Park, Memphis Park (formerly known as Confederate Park and is in the general vicinity of where the Battle of Memphis in June 1862 took place), Beale Street Landing, St Jude Children's Research Hospital, FedEx Forum (where the Memphis Grizzlies and University of Memphis Tigers play), AutoZone Park (home to the Memphis Redbirds), and Beale Street, (where you can ride, except between S. 2nd St to S. 3rd St. and then 3rd St. to S. 4th St.).

Cyclists have Riverside Drive and the walkways in Tom Lee Park to ride on and will
eventually have the opportunity to ride on the Harahan Bridge and cross over the
Mississippi River into West Memphis, Ark.  The bridge may also be part of a more
ambitious plan, known as "The Big River Crossing," that will create a trail that will
run along the Mississippi River from Minnesota to New Orleans.

Further east you will find some of the more renowned and recognized buildings and structures in Memphis to include the  Woodruff-Fontaine, the Mallory-Neely, and the Magevney home, Overton Park, the Memphis Zoo, Sun Studios, the Pink Palace Museum, and Elmwood Cemetery.  To the north of downtown Memphis, along the Mississippi River, is the Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park.

For those who are interested in older majestic and stately-looking homes, you don't have to ride your bike very far to find plenty of homes that fit that criteria.  From downtown to midtown Memphis, which includes Central Gardens, you will find all kinds of examples of Victorian, antebellum, neoclassical, bungalow, art deco to eclectic, modern and contemporary homes. 

If you are drawn to and fascinated by varying architectural styles and features, the downtown area has more than its fair share of that and AIA Memphis hosts architect-led bike tours and provides self-guided tours of the city for those who are interested in seeing the many architectural treasures that Memphis has.  AIA Memphis has developed a bike tour guide and a short and long bike riding loops for those cyclists who love and appreciate architecture.


Cyclists riding downtown will occasionally come across uniformed Memphis
City Police officers who are out of their squad cars and out patrolling the
downtown area on their bicycles.

By riding in downtown Memphis, cyclists can develop a greater appreciation for all that the city has to offer and you will have the chance to discover its rich history, its historic landmarks, to see and appreciate the revitalization of its downtown area, the contribution of Memphians to the arts, entertainment, music, and so much more.  To learn more about Memphis, visit the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce, Memphis Travel, the Downtown Memphis Commission, and the Memphis Flyer's - Best of Memphis.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Memphis creates bike and pedestrian lanes on Riverside Drive

Memphis creates bike and pedestrian lanes on Riverside Drive
By:  Michael Lander
 

With the City of Memphis having created bike and pedestrian lanes on
Riverside Drive, Memphis area cyclists have a new way to safely ride
along the scenic riverfront.

People are literally taking to the streets in Memphis, or at least they are now on Riverside Drive.  One of the most scenic streets in all of Memphis, with a spectacular view of the Memphis skyline and the Mississippi River, recently received a make-over that is giving cyclists, runners, walkers, and everyone else the opportunity to have a portion of that roadway all to themselves. 

Anyone making their way down to Riverside Drive these days will find that the four lanes that had previously been designated only for cars and other vehicles has been reduced down to two (with one lane of traffic in each direction). 

The good news for cyclists and others who are traveling on foot is that, across the median strip, two of the lanes, adjacent to
Tom Lee Park, have now exclusively become dedicated bike and pedestrian lanes that run from Beale Street all the way up to West Georgia Ave.

The creation of these dedicated lanes is part of
Memphis' Open Streets Project that has the stated goal of opening streets to people and the June 15, 2014 grand opening of Riverside Drive was the very first of these events for our city.  With this, Memphis joins other cities from across the nation that have closed one or more of their streets (periodically or temporarily) to traffic and opened them up for people instead of for vehicles. 

The city will reassess the bike lanes on Riverside Drive in the next
12 to 18 months to determine what, if any, changes they will make
to them and they will be incorporating some of the ideas and input
that they receive from Memphis residents.

For now, the dedicated bike and pedestrian lanes on Riverside Drive are set up on a trial basis for the next 12 to 18 months.  This will give the city the time it needs to find a way to further extend the existing lanes to the pyramid, to determine the overall impact on all downtown city traffic, and to decide on the ultimate configuration of Riverside Drive. 

Eventually, the ultimate goal will be to tie this in with existing and planned bike lanes and trails and pedestrian walkways and that is expected to include a connection as well to the Harahan Bridge.

The idea of providing a permanent car-free corridor on Riverside Drive was initially proposed to Memphis City Director/Engineer, John E. Cameron, by urban planning consultant Jeff Speck with Speck & Associates, LLC.  After reviewing Speck's "Memphis Riverfront Analysis & Recommendations," Cameron agreed with findings that the city could function with the road reduced from four to two lanes, (as it does annually during the Memphis-in-May festivities) and that the city residents would greatly benefit with slower-moving traffic, and minimal expense incurred. 

Over time, cyclists like Barry Smith, of the Memphis Hightailers,
should see more connections between existing bike lanes and
trails and the new bike lanes on Riverside Drive.

With little more than some restriping, new pavement markings, and some plastic bollards, both tourists and Memphians alike now have a safer and more enjoyable means to move around along the riverfront of our great River City.

To read more on Memphis' inspiring new car-free corridor, click on the link to Michael Andersen's People for Bike's article and Toby Sell's article, "Riverside Drive Gets a Road Diet, Bike and Pedestrian Lane," in the Memphis Flyer.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Shiloh National Military Park offers a great alternative place to ride for Memphis area cyclists

Shiloh National Military Park offers a great alternative place to ride for Memphis area cyclists
By:  Michael Lander

Riding a bike through a Civil War battlefield like Shiloh provides cyclists
with a more unique and interesting type of scenery than they might
ordinarily encounter otherwise.

Shiloh...... It is a Hebrew word that means a place of peace.  For one small southwest Tennessee town named Shiloh, it will always be remembered for two days in April 1862 when it was anything but peaceful. 

Located about 2 1/4 hours, or 110 miles east of Memphis, Shiloh National Military Park today is a beautiful and scenic place that offers its visitors the chance to see where an important Civil War battle took place and to learn about the impact that this, and other subsequent battles, ultimately had in helping to shape and define our nation. 

Those who tour this national military park today will find a serenity and tranquility that stands in sharp contrast to the carnage and atrocities that took place on this land, which was consecrated with the blood and lives of those who fought and died on it on 6 and 7 April 1862.
  
Even though most of the visitors tour the park by car, one of the best ways to get a feel for the battlefield, and to actually to take it all in, is to do it on a bicycle.

For Memphis area cyclists, places like Shiloh offer them a change of scenery and a different spot where they can go to ride their bikes and, best of all, it gives them an opportunity to take in a little history at the same time. 

Among the many distinctive statues and monuments at Shiloh, cyclists
riding through the park will see the Confederate memorial, which was
dedicated by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1917.

If you ride the entire tour route through the park, it is about 13 miles altogether, but there other roads throughout the park that you can ride, if you want to tack on a few extra miles.  Along the way, you will pass by cannons and dozens of markers and monuments for the various military regiments that were at Shiloh.  You will also see magnificently crafted memorials like the one for the Confederate soldiers and statues from states that had soldiers at this battle that are true works of art.  The most impressive ones of these are from Iowa, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Illinois. 

In addition to all that, you will also come across places that have become so familiar and are part of the vernacular for those who are acquainted with Civil War history.  You will pass the Hornet's nest that received its name from the zipping bullets that sounded like angry hornets, the Bloody Pond where soldiers were said to have drank, bathed their wounds and died, and the place where the Shiloh Church stood that gave the battle its name.  You will also see monuments to the officers who died at Shiloh like General Albert Sidney Johnston, who was the highest ranking officer killed during the entire war.  


Cyclists will find dozens of Civil War era cannons, monuments, and
statues in fields and lining the tour route throughout the 4,200 acres
at Shiloh.




As one might expect, Shiloh also has burial trenches and graves for the fallen with a national military cemetery near the visitor center.  There are also has some prehistoric Indian mounds, or homes, which predate the battle at Shiloh by hundreds of years and, which were not connected in any way to the battle, but just happen to be located inside the park.

The terrain, for the most part, is a little hilly and cyclists will find a small ascent to climb on Jones Field Road and a very steep descent and an extremely challenging climb on Riverside Drive overlooking the Tennessee River. 

Even though there are some signs for bike trails on the road outside the park, there are few if any dedicated lanes or shoulders to speak of and cars are traveling at least 45 mph and faster. 

Inside the park, the traffic, for the most part, is relatively light and most appear to travel less than the posted speed limit of 25 mph.  The best times to ride might be in the early morning or late afternoon when traffic is lighter and the temperatures are often more tolerable.  The park is open from dawn until dusk and every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

Riding your bike through Shiloh is just half of the fun.  Taking a few
moments to stop and read about the battle can make it a more
memorable and enjoyable experience, overall.

Even though there are no real cycling amenities at Shiloh, there are two bicycle racks at the visitor center that will accommodate up to 20 bicycles and the park rangers seem very friendly and welcoming to cyclists.  The rangers, like Paul Holloway, only ask that cyclists stay on the paved surfaces while riding through the park and, if they wish to look at any markers in the field, that they walk their bike there.


The Battle of Shiloh was one of the most important battles in the western theater and it was one of the first major engagements between Union and Confederate forces in the Civil War.  For most of the soldiers, on both sides, it was their very first taste or experience in battle. 

The Union forces were led by Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's Army of the Tennessee and Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell Army of Ohio, which had marched from Nashville.  The Confederate forces were led by Albert Sidney Johnston and he commanded the Army of Mississippi.  P.G.T. Beauregard assumed command after Johnston's death. 

The objective of the union was to move toward Corinth and to cut off the main railroad line that ran from Memphis in the west to Charleston, S.C. in the east. 

The Confederates were successful with their offensive on the Union Army on the first day of battle, but they were unable to take Grant's army after they established their last line of defense.  Later that evening, additional Union troops and reinforcements from Nashville (led by Gen. Don Carlos Buell) arrived and the union counterattacked the following day, forcing the Confederates to retreat toward Corinth. 

Cycling through Shiloh gives you a better opportunity to take everything
in that you are likely to miss out on in a vehicle with the windows rolled
up and the air conditioning on.

Even though both sides suffered about the same number of casualties (approximately 13,000 for the Union and 10,000 for the Confederates), the battle was seen as a victory for the North and it eventually led to the siege and capture of Corinth. 

From Memphis, cyclists can make a one-day excursion to Shiloh that will give them a chance to see and learn about history while enjoying the beautiful scenery and peacefulness that they will now find at the park today.  It should be especially enticing for those who are looking for another place to ride and who want to experience something a little more than just another usual bike ride around their Memphis neighborhood.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What parents need to know when teaching a child how to ride a bike

What parents need to know when teaching a child how to ride a bike
By:  Michael G. Lander

Parents can teach children how to ride a bike by riding along with them
and they can make it a fun-filled experience that they can also enjoy
together as a family.

Children seem to grow up so fast.  For parents, it probably doesn't seem like it takes any time after they come into world that they are quickly learning how to walk and talk and trying to explore the world around them.  Along with their growing curiosity, many children become drawn to things that can move and propel them and that is when they begin to show an interest in bicycles.

Learning how to ride a bike for most children is a big part of growing up and bicycles and childhood almost seem synonymous with one another.  Bikes can give children a lot of happy memories that they can carry with them throughout their lives and, for some, it can also be the beginning of what can become a lifelong love affair with them. 

As much as children might be eager to jump up on a bike and try to ride, parents, understandably, might look at this with a little more caution and a certain degree of trepidation.  Teaching a child how to ride a bike, though, isn't as scary as it might seem and it only requires a little time and patience and a simple, common-sense approach.

There are a number of ways that a parent can help a child learn how to ride.  Parents can read up on it and they can apply whatever approach that they feel comfortable with or they can simply go with how they themselves learned how to ride.  In the end, it really isn't all that complicated and it can be done by just following a few very simple and practical steps.

For parents looking for a little guidance, here are some of the essential basics for teaching a child how to ride a bike.  For more in-depth and detailed information on the topic, I would recommend checking out any of the following websites:

Sheldon Brown's "Teaching Kids to Ride" - http://sheldonbrown.com/teachride.html,
International Bicycle Fund's "Learning to Bicycle Without Pain, Teaching Bicycle Without Strain" - http://www.ibike.org/education/teaching-kids.htm,
Recreational Equipment, Inc.'s (REI's) - "Teaching a Child How to Ride a Bike" - http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/teach-child-to-ride-a-bike.html,
Bicycling Magazine's - "Teach Your Kid How to Ride a Bike" - http://www.bicycling.com/video/teach-your-kid-ride-bike#/video/all,
wikiHow's - "How to Teach a Child How to Ride a Bike" - http://www.wikihow.com/Teach-a-Child-to-Ride-a-Bike & 
arose08's - "Teach Your Child How to Ride a Bike" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO7HsWf8cbI. 

Teaching a child how to ride a bike takes time and patience and sometimes
it takes a little assistance and a helpful push, but once they learn, it can
open a new world and a love for cycling that can last a lifetime.

For most of children, their first introduction to riding anything usually begins with a tricycle.  The tricycle, (or trike), is a good way for a child to become familiar with the concept of peddling and steering something.  When it comes time to get a bike, it is important for a parent to get one that's the right size for the child and to get them a new one as they outgrow their old bike.  The International Bicycle Fund has great advice for parents on this topic at http://www.ibike.org/education/buying.htm.   

With that first bike, most parents would probably feel a little more comfortable with having training wheels put on, if they don't already come with them.  The training wheels should allow a slight rock or tilt side-to-side and, as the child learns to peddle, steer, and brake, they should be raised incrementally.  Eventually, they should be removed when the child seems ready and you are ready to run alongside them.

From the very first bike ride, and those that follow, parents should make sure that their children are always wearing a helmet and parents should be sure to emphasize safety.  Kids Health has some very useful information about bike safety on their website, at  http://kidshealth.org/kid/watch/out/bike_safety.html, that parents might find especially helpful.  Parents can also minimize many risks by keeping a watchful eye on their child and keeping them away from any cars and traffic.  

For any child, the most challenging part of learning how to ride a bike typically comes whenever they have to try and balance themselves.   Parents will usually find that every child is different and that some will grasp it faster than others.  The important thing at this point is that the parent remain patient and that they start off slowly and easily and try not to overdue or rush a child.  Most children are pretty unsteady and wobbly at first and, for this reason, it is always a good idea for a parent to run alongside the child as they make their first, initial attempts at riding without the use of training wheels. 

Parents have a number of places where they can ride with their children
from neighborhoods, parks, and trails in and around Memphis.

Even though no parent wants to see their child fall and get hurt, it does happen and the best thing that you can do, as a parent, is to try to be there to help them avoid that from happening.  Fortunately, most kids are pretty resilient and seem to bounce back from their injuries a lot faster than grown-ups do and they will often jump right back up on the bike without having to be coaxed or encouraged to do so. 

One of the added benefits of teaching a child to ride is that it can help you to rediscover the thrill that you once had for cycling as a kid yourself.  Even though most of us were first introduced to cycling as children, life happens, and many of us get away from it.  Having children can give you a great excuse to come back to it and bike rides can offer a unique opportunity for you to ride together as a family. 

As children become even more comfortable and confident on their bikes, parents can take their children riding around their neighborhoods, to parks, or on one of the many paved trails that we have in Memphis and in the surrounding areas.  As children get even older, families can plan trips and vacations with their bikes, which can make for some good quality time together with everyone benefiting from all that cycling has to offer.

Teaching a child how to ride a bike can open a new world to them and give them a love for cycling that they and the entire family can enjoy for many years to come.