Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Warble Likes Bikes

Sometimes on my way to work I'll pass this guy riding a black cruiser. His name is Alex; maybe you've seen him? He has this band called The Warble; maybe you've heard of it? Anyways, in this week's Flyer there is an ad for a free show at Shangri-La Records on Madison at 6PM this Friday, July 29th.

The last line of the ad says, "A BIKE-FRIENDLY EVENT!"

I usually work past closing on Fridays but Shangri-La is a block off my route home so I'm going to ride by. Maybe I'll see you?

Worst of Craigslist #2

Check this out. That second picture is blurry because the bike is going 50 mph!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Grocery Getters

There has been some recent hullabaloo in regards to the Memphis Farmers Market's recent institution of a voucher program. It seems that some people are having issues with the new program and the amount of people it is attracting. One patron experienced "Problems getting into and out if [sic] the parking lot from people stopping their vehicles to let someone off or pick them up..."

I've said before that one of the advantages to riding a bicycle is front-door parking and it just so happens that there are 3 bicycle racks located at the Powerhouse: 1 here, 2 here. That's 36 bikes that can be parked right at the "front door", closer than you can get in a car! The possibility of those racks becoming full is a dream for the future but in case it does happen, there are three other bicycle racks within walking distance of the market: here, here, and here.

Now that we've solved WHERE to park your bike, let's get your groceries back home safely.

If you're single or not very hungry a simple basket may be the best option for you. There is a copious amount of baskets out there. Here are several options for a variety of budgets:

The Wald Basket #135 is sized at 14x9x9, appropriately sized for a grocery bag and priced at $25. This model bolts to the handlebars and axle giving ample support for your heavy items. I hear watermelon is in season!

The Sunlite Liftoff Front Basket is for those who don't want to keep the basket on the bike all the time. The handle also makes it easy to carry it around the farmers market so you have a place to put your tomatoes and eggplants. The liftoff basket is priced at $15 and is about the same size but won't carry the same amount of weight as the bolt-on basket.

The Minoura King Carrier is the front basket for those aiming to keep some style to their ride. Wooden slats grace this welded steel rack that is slightly larger than the previous baskets and has a weight limit of 40 lbs. These extras add up, though: pricing is at $130. All of these baskets can be obtained through your LBS (Local Bicycle Shop).

There are some of us who can't fit enough groceries in a basket. That's where the trailer comes in handy.

Most of you know I have a BOB trailer that I find very useful. It's been to the MFM and laden with 3 blueberry bushes. Mostly it just goes to Schnucks because Em and I are at work on Saturdays. For the 4th I fit a cooler full of ice, beer and pasta salad in the trailer and hauled around midtown. I opted for the single rear wheel design because it tracks behind the bicycle better and doesn't affect my turning. This is the BOB Yak with Drysac which retails at about $359.

The Burley Nomad is a two wheel design trailer that can haul up to 100 lbs. whereas the BOB is rated for 85 lbs. The Nomad pictured here has a cousin in the Burley Flatbed, which is the Nomad sans cover. Another advantage to the Burley is that it disassembles and folds down for storage. Similarly priced at $349.

Burley recently introduced the Travoy which would be like if a bike cargo trailer mated with rolling luggage. You are sacrificing some cargo capacity with a 60 lb weight limit but gaining more ease of use, storage and mobility. You can easily unhook the Travoy, roll it around the market, fill it up then hook it back to the bike and be on your way. It has several options for bags with a "Market" line and a "Transit" line making it an invaluable commuting tool priced at $289.

Understandably some people aren't ready to drop $250+ on a bicycle trailer so what's the cheap solution? Purchase a used kids trailer like this one on Craigslist for $50. Most kids trailers have a weight limit of about 100 lbs. While I might not trust my (future) children to a used bike trailer I would certainly haul around some groceries. Kid trailers also have the advantage of folding down for storage.

For more info on carrying goods check out one of my favorite websites: There you can learn about making your own trailer and about Xtra-cycles and extended bikes, trikes, and bakfeits.

Memphis Medical Center Bicycle Rack


I have 10 eyes, at least. Ten eyes that are open to seeing bicycle racks and their form and function. Ten eyes that see a piece of art and say, "That's more than just a sculpture!" Two of those eyes belong to Michelle the Memphistanista. She spotted this bike rack on one of her trips and sent me a picture. Not familiar with the location I had to go check it out myself.

So this bicycle rack is tucked away on a low-travelled section of Monroe, between Dudley and Pauline next to a parking garage that serves several medical offices and schools. I would venture that this rack's potential is limited by it's location. Visibility by the general public is paramount in usage. Not that much of the general public would ride a bike to the hospital; depending on the situation I probably wouldn't either. But that doesn't rule out staff and students. However, the location of this rack is such that I wonder how many staff and students even know of it's existence.

Here's how it racks up:

Form - Artistic
Function - Aside from my speculations on the visibility the rack functions well with a 10-bike potential
Environment - Lots of M's!
Points of Interest - Memphis Bioworks Foundation, Regional Medical Center, UT Health Science Center

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Memphis City Hall Bicycle Racks

There have been some bicycle rack additions since my initial sweep of downtown. The City of
Memphis has installed two bicycle racks that truly show our dedication to becoming a healthier and more environmentally friendly city.


The identical racks feature the crest of Shelby County in the front wheel. They are located under a covered arcade so you don't have to worry about your bike getting wet. That's the pro of the location; the con, for me, is that they are placed in front of the building dedication and a poem. It's like covering one piece of art with another, maybe not so drastic because you can still take pictures of either.


Here's how it racks up:

Form - Artistic
Function - 4 bike potential
Environment - spot on
Points of Interest - Memphis City Hall

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up

The holiday weekend started off at a leisurely pace with about 60 cycling companions at Cycle Memphis's inaugural ride. I pulled the trailer and brought up the rear with a few of the more experienced riders occasionally hanging back (thanks Adam H., David S., Brett E., and Cara N.!) It was nice to ride with some folks that I see out all the time but with whom I rarely get a chance to ride (Howell E., Grace K., Steven W. - bring your trailer next time!)
Cycle Memphis, 7-2-11

You can sign up for the next ride on Facebook or just show up and ride! View a few more pics on my flickr.

Saturday we loaded the cooler onto the trailer and biked over to Wagenschutz Manor (after the thunderstorm) for some grilling and fireworks. What happens when you go to a vegetarians house for a cook-out? Veggie-burgers and burger-cakes:

I made that picture big so they look more tasty. The "burger" is chocolate cupcake! I was stuffing my face and lighting bottle rockets for the next 6 hours so I didn't get any more pictures. Then folks from Little Rock wanted to go play polo so we were out until 2 AM sweating out the alcohol. It looked like this but dark and worse courts:

That picture is actually from the Sunday Friendlies Cookout. This time I was just way too tired to take more photos. Brett should have some good ones soon. To all the LR folks, thanks for coming over; it was great to again see those I've met and meet those I haven't seen!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Cooper Young Bicycle Racks

You guys and girls are like, "Finally!" right? No bicycle racks are more obviously deserving of a review than these. Well here ya go, I hope you learn something:
Cooper young, bicycle rack
Inbalance Fitness

The Cooper-Young Bicycle Racks were designed by Yvonne Bobo (who also built the Drag'n Trailer). From Andy Ashby, reporter at the Memphis Business Journal and secretary of the Cooper-Young Community Association: The CYCA had Yvonne put together several ideas and this one made the most sense. It was small enough to be put in several locations (some property owners didn't want a big long bike rack in front of their space). It was also economical, $400 or $500, I think. Also, the ginkgo tree is the official tree of Cooper-Young, according to the history book. Revolutions Community Bicycle Shop also approved the design.
Cooper young, bicycle rack Cooper young, bicycle rack
Burke's Books, of course and Midtown Acupuncture & Natural Apothecary

I have to be honest, I feel a sense of pride when I lock up to one of these because I did some fundraising for Revolutions to pay for these racks. Remember the flat track races? We raised about $341 (probably more but I can't remember. It was the heat, ya know.) All of the racks function well, allowing a bike on each side potentially. Three of them, however, could be turned a quarter turn to allow for more convenient sidewalk flow: Inbalance, Midtown Acupuncture and Celtic.
Cooper young, bicycle rack Cooper young, bicycle rack
Celtic Crossing and Cafe Ole/Young Avenue Deli

There is a plaque near each of the racks (except for the Midtown Acupuncture rack which I think was knocked off because it was attached to the ground) telling where funding for each rack came from. The Revolutions racks are the ones in front of Burke's Books and Cafe Ole.
Cooper Young bicycle rack Cooper Young bicycle rack
Cooper Young bicycle rack Cooper Young bicycle rack

I considered looking at each of these racks individually but I think I would just be saying the same thing about each one, substituting a location. Since we think of Cooper-Young as the mark by which we measure other Memphis communities it seems only proper to keep these racks together.

Andy also tells me that there is a seventh ginkgo rack at the CYCA offices. They wanted to put it in front of the office but the asphalt doesn't make a good foundation. Perhaps they should put it in front of Urban Outfitters? Or maybe a contest to see which CY business gets the most bicycle traffic, excluding the businesses that already have racks, and also excluding Victory Bicycle Studio because they would obviously win.

Here's how they rack up:

Form - Artistic
Function - Pass
Environment - Inspired by neighborhood trees
Points of Interest - Just check the tags below

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cycle Memphis - First Ride

Cycle Memphis is a new adventure started by a few friends. They plan to have a monthly ride leaving from the gazebo at the Cooper-Young intersection on the first Saturday of each month at 8pm. The way I understand it is that it's a beginner's ride meant to show people the best ways to get around Memphis. With over 70 people signed up on the Facebook Page it stands to be a great easy ride. I have volunteered my services to SAG this ride so I'll be pulling my trailer and I'll have some spare tubes and whatnot. Check the event page for more info and a route map.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Walking with a View

I'm a big believer in walking. It relaxes me, gets my heart rate up with barely any effort, lets me chat with old friends and I see the coolest stuff. Today I walked with one of my best friends, Bonnie Butcher, sister of Clark from Velocity Bicycles and a bridesmaid (heart shape here). We try to walk together as much as possible and don't fight nearly as much as when we were ages 4 - 11.

Today we walked around the Overton Park area by Fresh Slices and saw this awesome backyard. They had a garden area fenced off with old wine and beer bottles and a make-shift hen house (i think) made from old windows and doors. I will definitely replicate this as soon as i grow up.

2011-07-01_18-19-46_244 2011-07-01_18-20-13_984 (1)

Grizzlies Bicycle Jersey

Just pokin' around the interwebz...

From - $68.99

Or Sports Authority - $79.99

Get yours before next year's Tour De Grizz!