Making Memphis Walk the Extra Mile

I’m overweight; it’s no secret. If you are overweight and you live in Memphis, don’t feel alone. In fact, coming in at #1, Memphis was ranked the city with the highest obesity rate. This isn’t surprising as a 2013 Gallup poll ranked Mississippi and Arkansas two of the top obese states; ranked #1 and #5, respectively. Therefore, I’m glad to see Memphis going the extra mile to combat obesity.

Possibly the most exceptional way in which Memphis is working to overcome obesity is through the continued efforts of exercise. Memphis is continuing to add bicycle lanes throughout the city. The month of May has become Memphis’ Bike Month–this includes a Bike to School Day, a Bike to Work Day, and Bikesploitation (only the coolest Bike festival in the world!).


Another great Memphis creation is the Memphis Greenline. The Greenline runs from Shelby Park’s Wolf River Pedestrian Bridge all the way to midtown (ending at Tillman Street). The Greenline is a 6.5 mile paved road, which runs through the heart of Memphis. This paved path is perfect for those looking to walk, run, or ride a bicycle.

Not only is the community getting involved in the Greenline through exercise, but through community growth. Many organizations have popped up to embrace the Greenline and improve the neighborhood, one of my favorites is Helmet Heroes. Their goal is to “[keep] our youngest riders safe…We’re committed to providing a helmet and training to every rider who needs one.”

Memphis-Helmet-HeroesThe most recent initiative I’m taken interest in is Car-Free Memphis. The following challenge was issued last month:

Memphis residents have a multitude of transportation choices available to them. However, 90% of us continue to drive alone in our cars each day for most of our trips. Some of the alternatives, like bicycling, are growing in popularity and are becoming more common each day. Others, like carpooling, remain at low levels of utilization throughout the city despite a number of resources available to help establish such programs. The goal of this challenge is to get residents to leave their cars are home, at least for one day, and try (many for the first time) the other choices that are available to you.

I won’t be forgoing my car anytime soon; however, I did bust my bicycle out of storage and rode to work a few days last month.