Bicycling in Memphis has never been so easy, thanks to a new initiative that pairs participants with a personal coach who will work one-on-one to develop safe and efficient bicycle routes all over the city. Launched by Commute Options at Innovate Memphis, Commute Coaching aims to help Memphians overcome obstacles of commuting by bicycle, including insufficient knowledge of safety rules, hesitancy regarding traffic, or lack of experience. The one-of-a-kind program is designed to show people that it is feasible, uncomplicated, and fast to travel by bicycle in our city regardless of the destination.
“Commute’ is in the name but the program is not only about commuting,” said Sylvia Crum, Commute Options Program Manager. “We can help you ride to the grocery store, the coffee shop, your favorite to-go restaurant, family rides to the park, as well as work and school. You pick the place and we will make the plan.”
Once a participant signs up, they are paired with a personal Commute Coach who will contact them to discuss a bicycle route. The coach plans the route, videos it, and then walks the participant through the route virtually. Once the participant feels comfortable, the Commute Coach will take them on an in-person, socially distant ride-along the route.
Participants will also receive an informational toolkit that includes bicycle safety tips, basic bike repair info, FAQs, and local bicycle laws, and fun swag on the day of the ride-along.
To find out more, or to register, visit the Commute Options website here.
Crum says the idea developed as they looked for the positives of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With the reduction in car traffic due to work-at-home and hybrid work situations, one such positive is the increase in bicycling rates locally and nationally.
“As the pandemic has disrupted almost every facet of our lives, Commute Options has searched for ways to help,” said Crum. “Bicycling is a safe and healthy way to commute, run errands, and have fun. Since spring is just around the corner, with nicer temperatures, we knew this would be the perfect time to launch Commute Coaching.”
Commute Options, an initiative of Innovate Memphis, is designed to decrease the use of single-occupancy vehicles in Memphis by encouraging residents to use commute options such as walking, biking, carpooling, or public transit whenever possible. Innovate Memphis develops initiatives, develops partnerships, and innovates solutions with the goal of building a more equitable, innovative, competitive, and sustainable city.