Over 44 Zip Codes Represented During Freewheel's Spring Slow Rides
Freewheel, the free slow ride bicycle program of the Memphis Medical District Collaborative (MMDC) and Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC), capped off its second season with 265 participants representing 44 zip codes.
Freewheel—which is free and open to the public—was launched in fall 2016 in an effort to increase awareness of the Medical District and its surrounding neighbors while establishing new connections among participants.
This season, 265 participants met at 603 Monroe Avenue, located across from High Cotton Brewing Co, and cumulatively covered 1,530 total miles through eight neighborhoods, burning roughly 61,200 calories.
Constance Dyson had not ridden a bike in over 30 years before participating in the final ride of the season, which was a trip through the Crosstown and Evergreen neighborhoods. “I was practically smiling the whole time!” said Dyson. “The ride was so fun… it reminded me of my younger days when riding gave me a sense of freedom, with the wind blowing on my face. It’s easy to meet new people around the common interests of learning and seeing more of our beautiful city while enjoying light physical activity."
“Seeing the reputation that Freewheel is growing among its Memphian participants and beyond is incredibly rewarding. By providing people with an intimate connection to both historic and current activity in the Medical District and its associated neighborhoods, Freewheel is playing an important role in advancing the progress of our revitalization effort.”
- Abby Miller, program and data director of the MMDC
Freewheel participants brought their own bikes or signed up to borrow from the Medical District fleet, which was originally restored last fall by the Carpenter Street Bike Shop’s team of trained neighborhood bike mechanics. Siracusa has since grown the concept to a larger citywide collective, entitled “Community Bikes of Memphis.
Mary Smith, who has participated in every Freewheel ride since its conception, said that she enjoys that Freewheel involves people from many different walks of life enjoying riding together as a group. “I also love that each week the route is new, with the opportunity to see and learn about different areas of Memphis,” said Smith.
Downtown resident and regular Freewheel participant Marilyn Livesay said this about her Freewheel experience: “I enjoyed being able to explore the city from a new perspective and watch my son Marlon experience the freedom of riding a bike.” When asked what he enjoyed about the slow rides, Marlon said, “I like how we all ride with joy and care about each other.”
“Memphis is a huge place, and it's easy to get lost in its hustle and bustle,” said Southern College of Optometry student Cori Jones. “Freewheel helps slow down the fast pace of the city, both literally and figuratively. I love that Freewheel gave me the opportunity to become part of a smaller community, especially since I recently moved to Memphis from the Midwest.”
Due to the last two seasons’ success, Freewheel will pick up speed for a 2017 fall season!
Learn more at Facebook.com/WeFreewheel.
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