A few brave souls use bicycles to get around Memphis, but most cyclists in the city bike as a form of recreation. The City of Memphis has established five bike routes that circle the city and various neighborhoods. These routes are marked and have designated parking and restroom facilities at the start. They are not bike paths—you share the road with cars—and normal safety measures are necessary.
The Memphis Hightailers Bicycle Club (www.memphishightailers.com) organizes frequent rides for various levels, with distances ranging from 20 to 100 miles. In addition, there are rides leaving every Saturday at 8 a.m. and Sunday at 9 a.m. from the Super-Lo parking lot at Southern Avenue and Colonial Street.
For bike rentals, gear, and advice about riding in and around the city, go to Peddler Bike Shop (575 S. Highland, 901/327-4833, www.peddlerbikeshop.com), where owner Hal Mabray will happily help you get geared up to ride. A used-bike rental will cost about $25 per day, while a souped-up version can run $50 and up.
There are a number of parks near Memphis that are bike-friendly. Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park north of the city has five miles of paved bike paths, and cyclists use the main park roads for more extensive riding. Bicyclists will also find trails at Shelby Farms.
It is also noteworthy that the Mississippi River Trail, a bicycle route that will eventually run from the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, runs from Reelfoot Lake in northeastern Tennessee, through Memphis, and on to Mississippi. For maps and details, go to www.mississippirivertrail.org.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Tennessee, 5th Edition