So the Bicycle Film Festival is starting its multi-city tour, kicking off in an unlikely place for bikes…Memphis Tennessee.
I had to find out what the bike scene was like in this town known for the roots of country music. This lead me to the blog fixmemphis.blogspot.com cause as logic would perceive, everybody’s got a fixed gear blog now…right?
The author, was Cort Percer, who was willing to play along with another one of my Q and A.s
(picture from fixmemphis flickr page)
What bikes do you own?
Lately my Trek commuter has seen the most action, after that a Surly Steamroller, and I just put together a GT GTB that I’ll use for flat track racing.
What is the bike scene like in Memphis?
The bike scene in Memphis is, in one word, growing. In more words, there is a positive attitude that I think emulates a growing trend in the rest of the US/World. Memphis has historically been rated among the nation’s worst cities for cycling, but with a new Rails to Trails (memphisgreenline.org) and a proactive county government Memphis will soon fall off of that list.
What are the most common bikers in the area?
If we don’t count the department store cyclists and focus on the enthusiasts, the most common cyclists are road bike riders. But I don’t think any person in Memphis is only one type of rider. A lot of the roadies also ride and race mountain bikes; a lot of the fixed gear riders are also commuters; and then there are the people who have a road bike, cross bike, mountain bike, fixed gear, touring bike, and a bmx bike.
What is the fixed gear scene like in Memphis?
There is a group of about 15 people who have habitually shown up for alleycats, flat track races, bike polo, etc… I think this summer that number will rise given the number of people who’ve been building bikes at the co-op and at local shops.
How long have you been writing the blog, fixmemphis.blogspot.com?
fixmemphis has been up for a year and a half. Before that we would create a new website for each event. Over time I’ve added writers who I think can offer their own perspective.
What got you started?
Years before I started a friendster profile, then a myspace profile called Memphis Parties which would post bulletins about all the house parties and “good” bands playing in Memphis. I eventually became bored with that and applied my interwebz skillz to bicycles. I have a degree in English so writing feels natural.
What kind of people read the blog?
All kinds of people read the blog, some of them even hate it and bash it in their own website rants.
Are there alleycat races here?
We try to have an alleycat race at least every 3 months. There is one recurring race that will be in its fourth year this fall: The Memphis Downs. It started as a 10 garage up & down (Memphis is flat.) and evolved to incorporate criteriums, sprints, skids, tricks, footdown and polo. The will also be an alleycat in conjunction with the Bicycle Film Festival. An Unofficial-official type of thing.
What other bike events take place?
There are many races, triathlons, centuries, shop rides, etc… but probably the most fun is the annual CycloCrunk cross race series.
You guys are getting your first Bicycle Film Festival, who will be attending? What other festivities are planned around the festival?
We hope to run the gamut of cyclists, from racers to families attending. Since this is our first BFF we’re keeping it kind of small; there won’t be an art show even though the films are being screened at the Brooks Museum but we do have some fun stuff planned for the block party like a safety rodeo and bike limbo.
Future plans for bike events?
After the festival ends we’ll resume our flat track races and we’re also planning a tour around Memphis to 5 Memphis Pizza Cafe locations that will be about 65 miles.
Your future cycling goals?
My future cycling goals include completing a century on my fixed gear (I’ve done a metric) and getting my super hot girlfriend to ride more.
****I also wanted to ask Cort about Critical Mass in Memphis which will also be tomorrow. He sent me to Cliff Heegel who volunteered up a few answers about their local ride. (Now Cliff is just a participant in critical mass, so don’t go pegging him as a leader…remember…THERE ARE NO LEADERS OF CRITICAL MASS)
The first Critical Mass I went to was around 1998 at Outdoors in MidTown, a 1-time event. Cops escorted the group, no hassles. TV etc were there- a publicity effort for bike lanes etc that untimately failed.
And C-mass returned around Fall 2007 mostly from the urgings of Duckworth & MidTown Bikes and me I think. Attendance has never been high- 10-20 riders max, usually lower. No hassles ever with cops- of course, we ride legally for the most part and there aren’t very many of us. More of an oddity than anything else.
Hopefully the ride will end up at tomorrows opening night of the Memphis Bicycle Film Festival, fingers crossed.
For some other reads on the Memphis scene there is Driven Magazine which covers local sports such as triathlons.
Terie Box, wrote this on the site:
“Written by Terie Box
Thursday, 21 May 2009
The Memphis Bicycle Film Festival will take place May 29th and 30th, at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art (in Overton Park on Poplar in Midtown), with a large list of short films played over three different sessions for two days. The price for each film viewing $7, a meager $21 for an entire weekend of entertainment! Did we also mention the parties after each day’s showings, at Nocturnal and Murphy’s? Oh, by the way, there will also be a Block Party at Overton Park on Saturday, from 12 to 4pm, before the evening shows commence. Music, bikes, parties and movies. What a perfect weekend.
Check out the web site for Memphis’ Bicycle Film Fest at:
Life is short and you love your bike. Go see something short that makes you love your bike even more, if that’s possible.
See you there!
Also fixedmemphis had this posting of a recent Team Rapha ride down in the Mississippi Delta.
Check it out here.