BIKE TOURS OF MEMPHIS

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SEE THE CITY BY BIKE

You may have looked at the cover shot from THE UNWITTING ADVOCATES and thought, “Wow, that’s a bunch of white dudes!” And yes, being the second white dude from the left I can factually say that we are a bunch of white dudes. The picture is from my friend’s birthday where we did a bicycle tour of Memphis brew-pubs (Almost. Time constraints prevented us from completing the tour.) which, maybe I’m going out on a limb here, is something that most everyone enjoys. I’m talking about bicycle tours; everyone knows that craft beer is a white person thing.

It got me thinking about all of the other great things about Memphis and how to connect them all via bicycle. Googling “bike tours of Memphis” will get you the usual suspects: Midnight Classic Bicycle Tour, Tour de Grizz, Tour de Bird; but these are not really tours as much as just organized rides. (The “Tour de” is a nod to “Tour de France” and is as ubiquitous as a pun-based bike shop name.) So I had to dig a little deeper. We’re talking 10 pages deep. In my search I found some tours that I can’t wait to try for myself:

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1. Architecture Tours from AIA Memphis – AIA currently offers maps for four self-guided tours of unique and historical architecture in Memphis. The tours are grouped around neighborhoods which keeps the riding distance to a minimum. Local architects will also lead tours throughout the year. Click the link above to get on the e-mail list for the next event.

2. Tour de Coop – Another self-guided tour, this one of chicken coops, beehives and gardens throughout the city. There’s a new group of coops every year; you get a map and you can walk, bike, or drive to see them all, talk to the owners and get ideas on how to build your own. Donations support the work of Grow Memphis.

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3. Memphis Today & Tomorrow: By Bike – Local Planner Nick will lead you around the city and talk about “where Memphis is now and its exciting trajectory into the future.” Reservations can be made for $65/person which includes bike rental and a drink. I know Nick in a professional capacity and can say that the knowledge that he will drop on this tour will be well worth the price, but I’m more interested in the other bicycle tour that he offers:

4. Barbecue Bike Tour – This is a perfect combination (I even made a T-shirt showing my love) and an almost necessary one. I mean, you can drive to 3 or 4 bbq joints but it would be much better to burn calories while you’re deciding between dry rub or wet rub, chicken, beef, pork or portabella. This one also includes bike rental and a “predetermined sampling of specialties at 3 – 4 barbecue restaurants” for $95/person.

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5. One Lap of Memphis – This is the tour you should do the day AFTER the Barbecue Bike tour. Affectionately called “Ironbutt 100”, this mountain bike tour covers almost 100 miles and captures all of the trails around Memphis, linking them together in a ride that’s “not a competition, it’s merely an exhibition of stupidity.” Several friends have completed this task and I can honestly say I don’t envy them. The $68 entry fee gets you food, a t-shirt, and a donation to 88bikes.

Honorable Mention:

My search also turned up the Memphis Public Art Tour from the Urban Art Commission. While this self-guided tour is not specifically designed for bicycles, the locations of the art are all downtown where the bicycle is an exceptional mode of travel.

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So what about that brew pub tour, because really, everyone likes beer. Here’s a link to a map:¬†https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zYWVrmlQjlPw.kQbD-f8Tyl9A&usp=sharing¬†Note that these are the breweries that have tap rooms. There’s a rumor circulating that Ghost River will have a tap room soon, and when that happens I’ll update the map.

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Comments

  • Nick February 10, 2016

    Thanks for the shout out on numbers 3 and 4!

    I just want to add that I offer significant discounts for those who can use their own bikes. Please check out my page on Vayable.com and let me know if you’re interested. I’d look forward to showing you around!

    – Nick

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