Freewheel slow ride offers new neighbhorhood perspective by bike

Freewheel, a slow ride bicycle program, officially launched in Memphis last week with a ride through the Medical District on September 7.

A program of the Memphis Medical District Collaborative and Downtown Memphis Commission, Freewheel is a fun, social opportunity to better understand neighborhood history and assets by bike. The rides —which are free and open to the public—are for everyone; all ages, all skill levels and every type of bike is welcome.
 
“Slow rides” are group bicycle rides with a focus on community. Other markets who have implemented slow rides have led groups ranging in size from 30 to 3,000.

“Come as you are—scrubs, suits or spandex,” said Leslie Gower with the Downtown Memphis Commission. “The slow pace keeps our group safe and gives riders a unique perspective of our great city and its neighborhoods.”

Freewheel will offer two ride focuses: explorations and destinations. The first ride met near to High Cotton Brewing Co. and, like future rides, was about an hour long. Participants may bring their own bikes or borrow one from the Medical District’s fleet. Rides will take place every other Wednesday through the fall, happening on Sept. 21, Oct. 5 and 19, and Nov. 2.
 
Freewheel is an opportunity for partnership, greater awareness of the District and its street safety, and new connections among participants.

“Our hope is to open peoples’ eyes to the Medical District’s innovative roots and our shared vision for the community,” said Abby Miller, program director of Memphis Medical District Collaborative. “We want to provide a new way for employees, students, and residents of the District—and all Memphians—to get out and explore the gems that exists throughout the District and its distinctive neighborhoods such as the Edge, the Pinch, and Victorian Village.”

The Freewheel brand is based on the word’s biking and colloquial definitions. To freewheel on a bike is synonymous with coasting, taking it easy, and enjoying the ride with little effort.

“In a more general sense, freewheeling is associated with a relaxed attitude and an independent spirit,” said Sara Studdard, project manager of DCA, the branding and marketing partner for Freewheel. “All of these ideas support the environment that Freewheel seeks to create. The name implies that rides will be casual and easily accessible.”

Interested riders can learn more and register through a form on Facebook.com/WeFreewheel
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