Okay, I ride a bike. A lot. Downtown. Which is bad for the tires & spokes and my spine. Since July, I’ve pedaled 328 miles, mostly along a 3-mile loop covering Tennessee St. , Linden Ave., Second St., Mulberry and Front St. I was visiting my girlfriend in Cordova for my birthday Saturday and took my bike along, just in case I felt up to some exercise.
We did have the time and inclination to check out the new Memphis Greenline, the new bike & walking trail that runs from Tillman to Farm Road in Shelby Farms. While she covered about 4 miles on foot, I pedaled off to see how far I’d get. I heard someone call my name almost immediately. Turns out my former Channel 3 co-worker Joe Incardona, president of Memphis Media Source, was biking the Greenline too. He made the point that the nearly 7 miles of trail was one of the better things that’s happened in Memphis in a long time.
I have to agree with Joey the I. During my morning ride, sheriff’s deputies and Memphis police were providing traffic control at the places where the Greenline crosses streets like Highland and High Point Terrace. You get to see a real cross-section of area residents on trail. Regular bikers, causal types, people walking, families, roller bladers, etc. I covered about 10 miles in the morning. The trail is so straight and smooth, I went back for a second ride that afternoon, covering the entire trail, both ways. Much nicer ride than the pockmarked streets that line downtown.
Perfect weather and the newness of the trail probably accounts for the number of folks hitting the trail. One of the things I’ve noticed about Memphis is a herd-ish mentality when something new hits town. Things are huge for a while, but people eventually lose interest and move on to the next thing. Or after the gunplay starts.
I really like living downtown. I also like riding my bike. However, the streets are so crappy, now that I’ve been on the Greenline, I’m going to have some trouble getting used to the idea of going back to those streets. I will say this; if you have the chance, get on the Greenline. And support efforts to extend it and other paths and trails where you live.