The Biking Craze in Memphis and its Impact on Our City

Posted on June 1, 2014

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By Ellie Skochdopole

Drivers passing Sam Cooper on East Parkway will have noticed a new structure at the entrance of Overton Park. Designed by artist Tylur French, the sculpture is made from over 300 scrap bicycles painted in bright colors and arranged on a bronze-colored arch. The work leads into newly constructed Hampline trail connection, which connects the park to the Greenline via Broad Avenue, therefore completing a bike path stretching from Shelby Farms to the Mississippi River.

The city is following a larger, national trend; bike lobbyists have helped increase federal funding from $200 million to $1 billion since 1999. In the recent years, Memphis has undergone many changes to help accommodate an increasing number of bikers. Roads such as McLean and Madison Ave. now feature designated bike lanes, and the city boasts seventy-five miles of paths open to all bike enthusiasts. 

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conversation has worked hard to fund the new Old Forest trail system and make it ideal for bikers. Riders can bike the entire park without worrying about jumping curbs or push through brambles. The path is also littered with benches and water fountains, making it ideal not only just for bikers but also those looking to relax and enjoy the warm Memphis sun.

However, these bike paths are more than just something fun to do on a Saturday afternoon. The downtown path informs travelers of the history of Memphis by weaving them through landmarks of the Memphis music era. The Midtown paths gives a stunning tour of historic homes while the East Memphis Route guides its rider through the beautiful Botanic Gardens. Although the paths lead to hours of entertainment, they do so much more: they give Memphians a sense of the beautiful and historic city that they call home.

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