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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Midtown Memphis man combines a life dedicated to helping others with his love of cycling

Midtown Memphis man combines a life dedicated to helping others with his love of cycling
By:  Michael Lander


This is a photo of Tim Wheat at the Salt Lake Temple for the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) in Salt
Lake City, Utah.  He was in Utah from August 12 -
September 2 and had traveled through the state during his
2002 cross-country bike trip.

Like millions of others in the U.S., Tim Wheat is a cyclist, but what makes him different than most is what has inspired him to ride and what drove him to do multiple cross-country trips on a bicycle.

Wheat, who was originally from Huntsville, Ala., and who has been a long-time
Midtown Memphis resident, is the program director for the Memphis Center of Independent Living, (MCIL).

He did his first cross-country trip in 1987.

“That year, my friends and I decided that we would run the Bay-to-Breakers in San Francisco so I planned to get in shape by riding my bike across the country.  The ride was great, but it really didn’t help me to run any better.

Three years later, in 1990, Wheat found an entirely different reason, altogether, to make another attempt at a cross-country bicycle ride.

“I was doing student teaching in graduate school, but I did not feel I had enough worldly experience to be a teacher.  I convinced myself that cycling across country one summer would make me an adult, expose me to unique experiences, and give me some distance from the students,” Wheat said.



This photo was taken of Tim Wheat at the Monument Valley
Park in Arizona.  He traveled through the State of Arizona
on his cross-country bike ride from September 5 - 16, 2002.

Wheat readily admits that he did not become an adult like he had planned, but the trip for him was an amazing experience and, through it, he discovered a great way to see the country, travel and meet people, and he knew after doing it that he had to do some more of it.

In 2002, Wheat came up with an idea to ride a bike around the U.S. for a third time after he finished research for a fair housing complaint in Memphis that lawyers said would take years of litigation before it was settled. 

By that time, Wheat had moved from Boulder, Colo. and had begun working for the Memphis Center for Independent Living and he came up with the idea to ride around the U.S. and visit Centers for Independent Living and report back his findings.

Wheat had learned over the years that most Americans don’t know a lot about the 300 Centers for Independent Living throughout the U.S., nor do they know about what they do.

This picture of Tim Wheat was taken of him next to the Rio Grande
as he rode through the State of Texas from April 17 - 26, 2002.
 
He also knew that there was little to no cooperation and marketing between these centers and so he was determined to set out and see what he could do to change all that by visiting as many of these as he could and he figured that, since he had plenty of time on his hands, he could also do this on a cross-country bike ride.

“This ended up being a great adventure for me, personally, but it was not the national celebration of Centers for Independent Living (CILs) that I was hoping for.  Most CILs have a very hard time explaining what they do and, honestly, I did not add much to the public’s awareness of them,” Wheat said.

In spite of this, Wheat was happy about at least having made the effort and the bike riding aspect of the trip was something that he said he will forever cherish.

Whenever he reflects on his three cross-country bike trips, Wheat feels that he has come away with some wonderful memories of the people and places that he came across along the way and how much better that the overall experience was for him on a bike.


Tim Wheat stopped to get a picture next to a sign for the
Loveland Pass, which is located at the Continental Divide
in Colorado.  He rode his bike through there from July
29 - August 12, 2002.

“On my cross-country trips, I have always ridden solo and self-contained and I was that I could ride my bike across the country.  I love to travel and it allows me to see the countryside, to really experience the weather, the hills, and the wind.  I also love it because whenever someone will talk about their travels in this country, I have a related story about the area from my bicycle seat,” Wheat said.

Some of the most memorable and profound experiences for Wheat on his 2002 cross-country journey included the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive up from Asheville, N.C. to Virginia.  The C & O Towpath from Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, M.D. was another.

“The C & O Towpath canal must have been a horribly ugly industrial highway 70 years ago when the park service took it over, but they have reversed the trend and recovered much of the natural beauty along the Potomac,” Wheat said.

In addition to that, Wheat was equally entranced with what he found in Utah and Colorado and Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks.


Tim Wheat posed with Paisano Pete at Fort Stockton,
Texas.  He had ridden through the State of Texas on his
cross-country bike ride from April 17 - 26, 2002.

“The parks and desert in Utah are a perfect experience by bicycle,” Wheat said.

“On a bike the uniqueness of the country is unreal.  I especially enjoyed the huge space that seemed to dwarf any problems or issues that I had.  My curiosity would build about the different landscape that I would see next and where I would stay and who I might meet next,” Wheat added.

Wheat’s passion for the outdoors and exploration of it on a bike is something that almost matches that of his desire to help others.

“I really wanted to do something unique and I was looking for something in civil rights when a counselor suggested disability rights,” Wheat said.

“I applied for and ended up getting a job at the Memphis Center for Independent Living and I immediately got hooked on the struggle for equal rights.  I was even part of an activist group and was arrested for non-violent civil disobedience in Atlanta,” he added.


Tim Wheat stood atop the roadside marker when he made it
to Texas.  He was in the Lone Star State from April 17 - 26,
2002.

It was years later, in 2002, while waiting for the litigation to work its way through the court system, (that arose from a grant that he had worked on for promoting fair housing for people with disabilities), that Wheat was able to take his bike ride around the country on behalf of those in Independent Living Centers throughout the U.S.

“I was able to do my bike ride for the Memphis Center of Independent Living after its executive director at that time, Deborah Cunningham, gave me a stipend to report back about what I saw at other Independent Living Centers around the country.  She bought me a laptop and I took off on an adventure that was called, ‘Independent Living Across the U.S.,’” Wheat said.

Wheat started at the Center for People with Disabilities as an Independent Living Instructor and he is most proud of his work in giving people the chance to live in the community and help people with significant disabilities to move out of expensive institutions and nursing homes and to live in their own home.


Tim Wheat got a picture of himself in front of a billboard for
the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, which took place
February 8 - 24, 2002.  Wheat was in the State of Utah on
his cross-country bike ride about six months later from
August 12 - September 2, 2002.

These days, after his last cross-country excursion on a bike, Wheat mostly rides a bike for commuting purposes.  He currently has a Trek 460 road bike, a
Specialized Sirrus Cross, a Univega mountain bike, and a Cruiser.

“I mostly commute and I am happy to live where cycling to work is easy.  I also love to put my camera in my panniers and ride aimlessly around midtown,” Wheat said.

Wheat finds his bike rides in
Memphis, though, to be considerably different than what he experienced while living in Boulder.

“On my three mile ride to work in Boulder, I used a bike path, six bike underpasses, and an overpass where there was no competition with autos,” Wheat said. 

“I find Memphis to be more slowing-going because of the residential riding that I must do.  I am always making my decisions on the path to take by the traffic that I expect to encounter.  Of course, I am riding around midtown, too, to view the people, buildings, and neighborhoods,” he added.


Tim Wheat got a picture of himself leaning against the
roadside marker for New Mexico.  He rode his bike
through that state from April 8 - 17, 2002.

Even though Wheat may no longer be doing any more cross-country bike rides, he still rides his bike to work at the Memphis Independent Living Center and he is continuing to combine his desire to help others with his love of cycling by commuting to his job on a bike. 

To learn more about Tim Wheat, his bike rides, and his life’s work for those with disabilities, you can visit his website: 
http://www.timwheat.com.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

If you love to ride a bicycle, Italy is your kind of place

If you love to ride a bicycle, Italy is your kind of place
By:  Michael Lander


Cyclists are a common sight throughout Italy.  This cyclist is
on the round-about with the Altare della Patria (or Monumento
Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II) in the background.

If you love cycling, beautiful scenery, and a whole lot more,
Italy is the very place that you should go.

The Italian Republic (often described as being in the shape of a boot) is one of the most popular destination spots in the world, (ranking fifth overall) with over
48 million tourists visiting it, annually.

Cycling is a fun and unique way to go sightseeing in Italy
to include cities like Roman.

Whether people travel there to see and experience its cities, its country-side, its mountains and lakes, its astonishingly beautiful coastline, its art, its historical landmarks, its archeological sites, its
51 world heritage sites, (which is the most of any country in the world), or just to enjoy its cultural and culinary delights, Italy offers so much for visitors to see, do, and to love.

Group bicycle tours are a great way to ride and sightsee in
various cities in Italy and they can ease the comfort level
for those who might not feel safe hitting the streets alone.

For all the things that draws people from around the world to this European nation on the
Mediterranean Sea, Italy is also a place that can be seen and appreciated by those who wish to tour parts of it on a bicycle.

Some of the ancient and narrow streets of Florence
are easy for cyclists to navigate and get around on.
The Florence Cathedral or Catterdrale di Santa
Maria del Fiore is in the background.

Italy, like so many of their European neighbors, is, for the most part, a cyclist-friendly place. 
Cyclists seem to ride seamlessly in traffic, even in heavily congested urban areas, without any of the problems that many cyclists can often encounter in far too many other parts of the world.

Many Italians find cycling to be a convenient
and easy way to get around like this man in
Florence.

And, while many tourists may prefer the ease and convenience of a motor vehicle, especially when traveling longer distances, a bicycle may be an option for the shorter sightseeing excursions that some might want to take.

Whether you decide to embark on a short or long-distance cycling journey, there are guided tours, and even some self-guided touring options available, for the more adventurous individuals.

Cycling is an extremely popular mode of
transportation in Pisa and it is much
quicker than willing.  The Leaning
Tower of Pisa can be seen directly
behind this cyclist.

Click here for an independent cycling guide and resource for Italy.

Bicycles can provide a much better and more intimate way to see, feel, and experience Italy and you can cover a lot more terrain on a bike than you can by walking and it can be a lot less frustrating than being in a car that is stuck in traffic.

The Amalfi coastline is breathtaking and cyclists can enjoy
a view of it in a way that motorists can never fully
experience themselves.

For those who have some fear or trepidation of riding a bike either in traffic, or in a place that they are unfamiliar with, they can consider renting a bike from a business that also offers group tours or finding their way to one or more of the many traffic-free cycleways throughout Italy.

Cyclists may have an enviable view of the Amalfi coastline
like no other, but they do have some challenging climbs
and they must contend with little or no shoulders and a
fair amount of vehicular traffic.

For those who have the time and who are willing to embark on their own, there are many cities in Italy where they can ride their bike and stop and do some sightseeing along the way.

There are few views that can equal what cyclists can get
along the Amalfi coast.

Venice Mestre, Florence, Sorrento, Pisa and the “eternal city” of Rome are just a few of the many cities you may want to consider.

One might expect that cycling in cities like Rome, for example, might be risky or treacherous, but that would not seem to be the case so long as you pay attention to what you’re doing and that you follow the rules of the road.

Folding bicycles are very popular throughout Italy.  A gate
to the Villa Borghese can be seen in the background.

Cyclists seem to be able to easily negotiate their way on the streets and vehicle operators, no doubt, are accustomed to seeing a lot of them who regularly take the streets and ride.

Men, women, children, and even priests
can be seen on bikes in Italy, especially
in and around the Vatican in Rome.

For those who prefer not to ride on the busy streets, there is always the option to ride where there is no vehicular traffic and in Rome one of the best places is the Villa Borghese.  It is one of Rome’s oldest and largest parks and it is a great place to ride and spend some time in.

Commuters and tourists alike can appreciate
all of the beautiful monuments, buildings,
and other treasures that Italy has to
offer.

Outside the cities, there are many beautiful places to ride a bike, like Tuscany, Lombardia, the Dolomites, the Apennines, and along the Amalfi, Tyrrhenian, Sicilian, Liguria, Tuscan, and Lazio coastlines. 

There are fewer places in the world that are more beautiful than what you can find in some of these places, but you’ll want to be in excellent physical condition to do some of the challenging climbs in the more mountainous areas.  You’ll also need to not be easily intimidated by the amount of vehicular traffic in some of these places.

Motor vehicles can be an easy and convenient way to get around,
but bicycles can be that and so much more in Italy, or anywhere
else for that matter.

Whether you decide to ride a bicycle in any of Italy’s cities, its coasts, mountains, or its countryside, you will find that it is the best kind of place for riding and getting in a little sightseeing along the way.

If you are interested in taking a trip to Italy, click on these links to see photos of Venice, Florence, Amalfi, Sorrento, Pisa, Pompeii, Rome, and the Vatican.


Click here to see more photos of cyclists that were taken in October 2016. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

2016 St. Jude Bike Ride is a unique and fun way to help the kids at St. Jude

2016 St. Jude Bike Ride is a unique and fun way to help the kids at St. Jude
By:  Michael Lander

The 2016 St. Jude Bike Ride will be a fun and unique way to
support the kids at St. Jude.  This year's ride will begin two
hours earlier than before (at 4:00 p.m.) and it will offer
participants, and/or their teams, with the opportunity to
either ride for 6 hours on Friday and/or Saturday or for
24 hours, if they wish.

If you love to ride a bike, and you’re looking for a unique and fun way to support the children at
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, you will not find a better way to do both than at the 2016 St. Jude Bike Ride.

You, and hundreds of other cyclists, can participate in a one-of-a-kind bicycle event on two autumn days, (one 24-hour period), along the
Mississippi River, at Riverside Drive and Tom Lee Park in downtown Memphis, that will begin at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21 and end 24 hours later on Saturday, Oct 22.

Click on this link to register for the 2016 event:  http://fundraising.stjude.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ride_home

“Everyone who signs up for the St. Jude ride can either ride solo or they can be on a team of two, six, or 12 people,”
Lee Bobo said.

Hundreds of cyclists participate in the St. Jude Bike Ride each
year.  They can either ride solo or on a 2, 6, or 12 person team
for this annual fundraising event for St. Jude Children's
Research Hospital.  (Photo:  Courtesy of St. Jude)

Bobo is the event director for the St. Jude team relay bike ride, a role that she has now held for three years.

“Beginning this year, we are not only offering individuals and/or their teams with a challenge of riding for 24-hours, but they can now also chose to do one of two 6-hour rides that begin at 4:00 to 10:00 p.m. on the 21st and from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the 22nd,” Bobo said.

There are no limits on how teams are formed except that they are limited to a maximum number of 12 people.  They can be made up of friends, families, co-workers, members of various clubs or other organizations, or a combination of all these and more.

Adam Cruthirds was the team captain for Adam's
Army in 2015 and he will have a team again for
the 2016 St. Jude Bike Ride.  In 2015, he spoke
to participants before the start of the St. Jude
Ride about his battle with cancer and the
life-saving treatment and support that he and
others like him have received at St. Jude.

The upcoming 2016 team relay bike ride will be the fifth of its kind hosted by St. Jude, and it’s something that Bobo is very much looking forward to and is excited about.  More than anything, she finds the whole experience of this event as something that is extremely fun and rewarding.

“The most rewarding part for me is seeing so many groups of people coming together for this one mission,” Bobo said.

That mission for Bobo is an enormous undertaking, but the payoff is huge since the money that is raised goes toward research and treatment.  It can offer hope for children and their families when they are confronted by one of the most difficult and challenging circumstances that they could ever face.

Participants get some announcements and instructions before the
ceremonial lap commences and the St. Jude Ride officially
begins.  The event continues to grow in number and St. Jude is
hoping to have at least 400 sign up for this year's ride.

The St. Jude Ride started in 2010 by
Ann Leatherman who wanted to do it in appreciation of St. Jude and in honor of her daughter, Eliza.  Eliza was a St. Jude patient who successfully won her battle against a life-threatening disease.

"The first year, it was a
century ride that was called the 'St. Jude Give Thanks, Ride,' and the first committee was made up of mothers, aunts, and relatives of patients who wanted to give back to St. Jude,” Bobo said.

“The event was so successful that it became an annual event.  The next year, (in 2011), St. Jude decided to change it to the 24-hour model to make it a unique event special to Memphis,” she added.

Since the St. Jude Ride was moved from late September to late
October in 2015, there is a little less sunlight, but the
temperatures are generally cooler with less humidity.  Sunset
for the first day of the 2016 St. Jude Bike Ride (on Oct. 21)
will be at 6:16 p.m.  (Photo:  Courtesy of St. Jude)

Since they made that change, the event has grown from 186 cyclists in the first year in 2011, to 280 cyclists in 2012, to 305 in 2014, to 325 in 2015, and Bobo said that the goal now is to have at least 400 participants in 2016.

Currently, there are 34 teams and quite a few solo riders who have registered for this year’s ride and the current total number of those who have signed up, thus far, is 185 individuals, according to Bobo.

Like last year, Bobo and her 10-person committee have worked to further encourage a more festival-type atmosphere, which she hopes will attract more spectators and enable them to enjoy the event and cheer on the cyclists as they do their ride.


Many cyclists, like these from the 2015 St. Jude Bike Ride,
rode throughout the night and were not deterred by the
intermittent, light rain showers.

To further facilitate this, they will seek to make accommodations that will entice people to come out, which will include a way for them to purchase a wrist band that will allow them to eat at the hospitality tent.

With the exception of adding two shorter 6-hour rides, and moving the event from late September to late October, Bobo said that cyclists will find much of what they have known will remain the same for this upcoming ride in the fall.

The ride will remain a team relay event, which means that only one person on a team can ride at any given time over the 24 hours that it takes place.  Team members can decide for themselves when they want to ride and they can switch off as they wish.

Many participants of the St. Jude Bike Ride often chose to
spend the night in Tom Lee Park where they are treated to
a nice view of the Memphis skyline and the Mississippi
River.

As in previous rides, cyclists will be required to wear a helmet and they must have a headlight and tail light on their bicycles, which must be turned on from dusk until dawn.

When they aren’t riding, cyclists can hang out and eat with their friends and/or family, in Tom Lee Park, and listen to live musical performances late Friday night and throughout most of the day on Saturday.

Cyclists can check out the
River Art Festival on South Main Street that will be taking place the same weekend as the St. Jude Bike Ride.  They can also ride over to the opening ceremony of the Harahan Bridge, which will take place at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22.

This photo from the 2015 St. Jude Bike Ride is a daytime view
of tent city with the Memphis skyline in the background.

After the ride, teams will be recognized and will receive awards for the most money raised as well as those on the solo, two-person, and larger teams who complete the most number of laps on the 3-mile loop of Riverside Drive.

Tracking is done with timing chips that each cyclists must have on their helmets.

Long before cyclists ever show up for the ride, Bobo and many others behind the scenes spend countless hours planning and preparing for an event of this magnitude.  These efforts begin immediately after the current year’s event is over.

“It takes a full year to plan, execute, promote, and work with all of our participants who sign up,” Bobo said.


The St. Jude Bike Ride is a fun-filled, family-friendly event
and many who do the ride bring their families along with
them.  The threat of rain during the 2015 ride did little to
dampen the spirits or interfere with the ride or stop any
children from playing and enjoying themselves.

“I have a wonderful committee of 10 people…. And we have about 40 volunteers who come out and help from setting up, taking down, and everything in between.  It is a huge production to put together a 24-hour event like this and we appreciate all the help we can get to make it happen,” she added.

“We can’t have enough volunteers and we gladly welcome anyone who would be willing to come out and support us at any time during this event,” Bobo said.

For those who might be interested in volunteering, they can contact Lee Bobo at Lee.Bobo@stjude.org and she will send them the sign up information.

No one hosts an event better than St. Jude.  Cyclists and
volunteers for the St. Jude Bike Ride are treated to
live performances, food, and drink throughout most of
the event with the music beginning Friday evening and
picking back up late Saturday morning.

The St. Jude Ride relies heavily on the help of its volunteers, and the hospital itself relies on the generosity of those who are willing to give.  Because of them, St. Jude is able to continue to provide the care and treatment to critically ill children, which it is able to provide at no cost to their families.

The hospital was
founded in 1962 by Danny Thomas and it was his vision that no child will ever be denied treatment at St. Jude based on race, religion, or a family’s inability to pay, but the only way to make that possible is through the fundraising efforts and the 24-hour bike ride is one of those ways.

The 2014 ride raised $140,000 and $210,000 was raised in 2015.

Getting an adequate amount of sleep can be a big challenge
for some, unless you are like Chris Sheffield who was able
to catch a little shut-eye in between one of his turns to
ride for the Gray Falcons team in 2015.

There may be no better way to have fun with friends, family, and fellow cyclists than to participate in a bike ride that helps the children of St. Jude and their families.

Even though the cyclists who participate in this event are of different ages, skills, and abilities, they all share one thing in common and that is their support of St. Jude and its lifesaving work on behalf of the children who receive treatment there.

If you love to ride a bike, and you’re looking for a unique, challenging, and fun-filled way to support St. Jude, you will not find a better way to do it than at the 2016 St. Jude Bike Ride.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Bicycle rides can help you live your faith and help change the world

Bicycle rides can help you live your faith and help change the world
By:  Michael Lander


There may not be an obvious connection to cycling and to faith,
but one would not need to look very hard to find numerous
ways in which there could be.  This photo is of the Abbey of
Gethsemani near New Haven, KY, which is about 350 miles
northeast of Memphis.  This monastery is a good location for
riding and for a faith-filled spiritual and religious retreat
experience.

Most of us have heard about taking a
leap of faith or taking a walk of faith, but sometimes, the living of one’s faith can come in many different and unique ways.  For some, it can even be found on two wheels.

Whether or not we think of ourselves as being a person of faith, we still have many times in our lives when we find ourselves placing our trust and our faith in someone or something else.  It would be virtually impossible to go through life without doing that.

It is only natural, then, that we would put our trust and faith in something much greater than ourselves that gives some meaning and purpose to our very existence and we find that when we turn to the divine – or in other words – to
God.

Cycling, like faith, can be a test of endurance and perseverance
and both can be an extremely rewarding and meaningful
experience, especially if one contributes toward the other.

So, you might ask, how can one express or demonstrate their faith on a bicycle?

The answer, it would seem, is quite simple.

Cycling affords many opportunities for a cyclist to experience their faith, to share their faith, and to live their faith and the bicycle, itself, can provide the modus operandi in order to do just that.

Just about everybody recognizes the health benefits of cycling and even the therapeutic benefits of it as well.  There is also a social, recreational, practical (utilitarian), and a competitive aspect of cycling, too.

Many people of faith, like Brother Matthew at the Abbey of
Gethsemani, can appreciate the true pleasure of riding a bike
and the usefulness of it in his work and service as a
Trappist Monk.
 
Even though many might not think about, faith can be as much a part of one’s cycling experience as any of these other things are. 

The application of faith can, arguably, be done at any time or any place, but there are some things that seem to lend themselves more to it than others and cycling is one of them.  

In our busy and hectic lives, a cyclist will often find, when riding, that a bike ride can provide them with an opportunity to escape from the many distractions of life and it can provide them with an opportunity for solitude, reflection, and prayers that they might not, otherwise, have time for.
 
Charitable fundraising events like the St. Jude Bike Ride in
Memphis, provide an opportunity for cyclists to
demonstrate and to live out their faith by raising money
and awareness for causes that benefit others.
  
Cycling can also give a person a chance to ride not only for themselves, but in a such a way that it will benefit others, giving them the means in which they can actively demonstrate or express their faith.

One of the best ways that someone can begin to do this is by participating in charitable fundraising events of which there are many that take place each year in
Memphis.

Click here to see a list of charitable fundraising events in our river city:
http://memphiscyclist.com/html/charityrides.html

In addition to the charity-related bike rides, there are also other rides, like the Urban Bicycle Food Ministry (UBFM) outreach ministry at First Church United Methodist in downtown Memphis, in which cyclists can participate.
 
There are many ways in which bicycles can be used to
assist people of faith in helping others.  Mike Rouse, of the
Urban Bicycle Food Ministry, gives some last minute
instructions to cyclists before they out with food to give
to the homeless and hungry in downtown Memphis.
 
UBFM helps to feed the homeless and hungry in our city and it offers people of faith to reach out their hands and open their hearts to do God’s work in our community and it’s all done on a bicycle.

Click here to read more about the Urban Bicycle Food Ministry in Memphis:
http://memphiscyclist.blogspot.com/2015/05/outreach-ministry-on-bicycles-in.html

Some churches, like First Congregational Church in the Cooper-Young neighborhood have also created an innovative and unique bicycling ministry, known as Revolutions Co-op, which offers a healthy, environmentally-friendly, and an alternative (and cheaper) mode of transportation for Memphis area residents.

Click here to read about First Congregational Church’s Revolution Co-op:

Bicycles can, and have also been used, by missionaries or other people of faith who may sometimes find themselves in remote and isolated areas, or by those who have limited financial means for transportation.


The Revolutions Co-op at First Congregational Church is
one of the most innovative church ministries that focuses
on meeting the needs of our Memphis area communities
with bicycles.  Its director, Sylvia Crum, is pictured in
the front with a group of others, to include her husband,
Teddy, behind her.

In these instances, the bicycle can be the best and most intimate way that can enable them to connect with people and to spread and share their faith.

In this way, bicycles can essentially become instruments that can lead people to a life of faith and service to others.

Click here to read more about how bicycles can lead some down the road of faith:
http://memphiscyclist.blogspot.com/2014/05/cycling-may-lead-some-down-road-toward.html

There are yet other ways where bicycles can be used by people of faith to do some good in this world that is often so hungry for it. 

A popular non-profit bicycle club in Memphis, known as the
Memphis Hightailers, is one group that not only sponsors and participates in charity-related bicycle events, but they are also establishing a ride that will enable those who are visually impaired to experience the joy and freedom that can come from a simple bicycle ride.

Bicycles can be used for so many purposes and they can also
be a tool that can unify people and communities with one
another.  Livable Memphis Program Director, John Paul
Shaffer, is leading a group of cyclists during a Bikes on
Broad event that took place once a month from April to
November 2015.

In these and other ways that bicycles can be used in performing faith-based works, there are also things that bicycles can do for our communities at large.

Bicycles can help unify our communities and bring people together where we are not separated by barriers, fences or walls.  A bicycle can give us an opportunity to meet one another in places where we can learn to get to know and appreciate one another. 

Whether it is on the roads, trails, or in public parks, a bicycle can take us to places where people often come from communities from around Memphis.  Knowing this, people of faith can take advantage of this, if they wish to reach out to others.

Memphis has had an explosion of bike lanes, trails, and
improved public parks, like Shelby Farms.  All of these
places provide the perfect setting for people to not
only enjoy and appreciate what we have in the
Memphis area, but through faith, they can be
places that bring us together and to unify us.

The bicycle can take us from a world where we may be segregated and divided and bring us to places where we have a chance to meet, to talk, and to see each other as fellow travelers in this world and this can all start by the simple act of riding a bicycle.

As people of faith, we should seek to dismantle that which obstructs and divides us and bicycles can be one way to help to unify our communities by bringing people together. 

To read more about how bicycling can break down barriers, click on this story: 
http://memphiscyclist.blogspot.com/2014/05/cycling-has-few-boundaries-and-it.html

As much as bicycling can be an outward expression of one’s faith, it can also help the body and soul of those who do it.

Cycling is one of the best physical activities that most
everyone can do.  Staying active and healthy can allow
people of faith to better accomplish the work of
helping others and sharing their faith.

It is the body, especially, that can benefit from riding a bike and people of faith should not ignore the value of their own health.  It is only from taking care of our bodies that any of us are better able to carry out the work and mission of sharing our faith with others. 

Click here to read more about the health benefits of cycling:
http://memphiscyclist.blogspot.com/2012/04/normal-0-false-false-false-en-us-x-none.html

Many Christians know the story of the good Samaritan and all cyclists, whether they are people of faith or not, should always be ready, willing, and able to assist those in need.

We should all take the time to learn some first aid techniques, (what to do for broken bones, bleeding,
CPR, etc.).  This is a skillset that is invaluable, whenever you or someone else might need it.

Cycling offers one of the best ways to take in some scenery,
but like everything else in life, there are some risks of
injury when cycling so cyclists should learn what they
can to treat injuries and to be good Samaritans for those
in need.

You can find a lot about first aid and CPR by reading or watching videos on the Internet or by taking classes, which may be offered by the American Red Cross or others. 

Whenever possible, we should always be willing to render any assistance, especially to those who require immediate medical attention. 

The day might come when you will need someone to help you and Good Samaritan Laws in most states will protect you for any actions that you take to help anyone in distress. 

Here are links for Good Samaritan Laws in Tennessee: http://web.archive.org/web/20110105082432/http://www.heartsafeam.com:80/files/Tennessee_Good_Samaritan_Act.pdf
, Mississippi:

It is not uncommon to find cyclists stopping and offering
assistance to other cyclists and it is something that people
of faith can and should do whether they are on a bike or
not.  Michael Wener, on the left, stopped and offered
his help to a fellow cyclist during a fundraising
cycling event for the National MS Society on
September 10, 2016.  (Photo:  Courtesy of
Tim Wheat)

If you are a person of faith, a bicycle will not only be something that can help you to improve your own life and your own health, but it has the potential to do so much more and to even change the world for the better. 

You need only to open your mind to its potential and let your faith take you from there.