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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

10 reasons why you should start riding a bicycle in Memphis

10 reasons why you should start riding a bicycle in Memphis
By:  Michael Lander

Memphians have plenty of reasons why they should start riding
bikes.  In less than a decade, city leaders have provided cycling-
related amenities and facilities and bicycling has grown in
popularity by leaps and bounds since then.  With even more of
these on the horizon, cycling is only expected to grow even
more in the years ahead.  Memphis, for cycling enthusiasts,
has finally arrived.

When it comes to cycling,
Memphis has come a really long way over the last ten years and you would have to be Rip Van Winkle not to have noticed it.  The city has gone from being considered one of the worst in the country for cycling to being one of the most improved cities throughout the entire U.S.   With this radical transformation taking place in our city, there are at least ten reasons why you should now think about riding a bicycle, if you haven’t already.

# 1 – It’s fun and it’s good for you
It’s hard to beat a combination of something that is both fun and is good for you at the same time and bicycling fits that bill.  It is a
healthy and aerobic activity that can be enjoyed by everyone, young and old alike, and it can help with the prevention of diseases associated with a sedentary lifestyle and excess weight.   

# 2 – There are more places to ride a bike than ever before
In less than a decade, the Memphis area has gone from virtually no
bike lanes and trails to what seems like an explosion of them, and more are coming in the near future.  Currently, there are 200+ miles of bike lanes in the city and the Shelby Farms Greenline and the Wolf River Greenway are both in the process of expanding each of their trails.  If that were not enough, a bike and pedestrian pathway over the Mississippi River is being constructed on the Harahan Bridge in what is being called the “The Big River Crossing.”  Even West Memphis, Ark. is getting in on the action with plans for a park and a 6.7-mile trail loop with what should be a spectacular view of the Memphis skyline.

# 3 – The Memphis area has some really great bike shops to keep you going
When it comes to
bike shops, the Memphis area could not have asked for better.  Many of the bike shops offer excellent service, tire-changing and simple repair classes, group rides, and more.  For those who are looking for convenience, Jim Steffen’s Bikesmith business will even come by, pick up your bike, and repair it either on the spot or bring it back to you afterward.

# 4 – Bicycling is a great way to meet people and gives you a chance to spend quality time with your friends, family, and neighbors
One of the best things about bicycling is that you can either go out and ride alone or you can enjoy a nice
ride with your family or friends.  Riding with a big group or with a bicycle club can also be a great way to meet others, especially those who share a common interest in riding.  Cycling can also unify neighborhoods and communities through a shared network of bike lanes and trails thereby helping to make us feel less insulated and isolated from one another.     

# 5 – Riding bikes is a cheaper way to get around town than anything else
For those who are seeking an inexpensive way to get around Memphis, bicycling may be the best way to do that.  Commuting on a bike is a lot cheaper than driving, and you can also go places on a bike that you can’t get to in a car.  A bicycle is also better on the environment and it cost less when it comes to maintenance and repairs bills.

# 6 – The weather in Memphis is good for riding throughout most of the year

The weather in Memphis may seem like it can change at the drop of a hat, but it is better and more tolerable than in many other U.S. cities, particularly those in the north, and you can ride a bike throughout most of the year.  It is especially nice in the
spring and in the fall.  For those who don’t like the summer heat, you can always try riding in the mornings and evenings, and with very few days of snow and ice throughout the winter months, you can typically ride during that time of year so long as you dress appropriately.

# 7 – Bicycling is safer and easier on your body than many other sports or other physical activities

If you were looking to get into a low-impact sport or other physical activity, cycling is probably your best bet.  You are far less likely to experience an injury while riding than with many other physical activities and it’s a lot easier on your knees and joints than running.  In addition to that, it also takes a lot less time to ride 10 or more miles on a bike than it takes you to run it.

# 8 – Riding a bike is a  great way for getting in shape, to help cross-train, and more
There may be no better or more enjoyable way to get into shape and get in a workout in than to ride a bike.  It is also an excellent way to cross-train for other physical activities like running, and it can help prepare you should you ever consider doing triathlons.  If you get really good at it, you could also find yourself moving up to a competitive level and maybe even becoming a nationally ranked cyclist like Memphis native, and Olympic gold medalist,
Kristin Armstrong.

 # 9 – Bicycling is beneficial to you and it can help you to support a lot of great charitable causes
There are many health benefits for those who ride a bike, and it can be good for your
emotional and physical well-being.  There is an added plus when you can also ride for a charitable cause at the same time.  Memphis has plenty of these charity rides that you can participate in throughout the year and it can make your bike ride an even more meaningful experience to you and others.  

# 10 -  More Memphians are riding a bike and you don’t want to miss out on all the fun
More people are out riding a bike around Memphis than ever before and the number is only expected to increase dramatically, possibly even doubling, in the next five to ten years.  You don’t want to be one of the only ones sitting on the sidelines missing out on the fun.  Get up and get out and try to it for yourself.  You won’t regret it.

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