According to the numbers, Punxsutawney Phil correctly predicts the arrival of spring on Groundhog Day a mere 36% of the time. A blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and again, and as it so happens a persnickety groundhog predicts the onset of spring about as often. Well, this year, Phil found his acorn.
So on a recent balmy February weekend, I strapped on my helmet and pulled my bicycle out of the garage for yet another jaunt down the Shelby Farms Greenline. Along the way, I exchanged countless high-fives, smiles, and kind words with Memphians of all shapes and sizes, colors and classes. From moms pushing strollers to dads walking dogs, kids learning to ride bicycles to couples strolling hand-in-hand, the Shelby Farms Greenline was full of life. Memphians, like Phil, were emerging from their hovels and shaking off a few holiday pounds.
I cannot recall starting a spring season afresh with such widespread optimism for the future of Memphis. The Shelby Farms Greenline is a catalyst for a renewed sense of community and a rallying point for people who love their city.
With the prospect of more urban greenways on the horizon and dozens of miles of bicycle lanes to be implemented within a few short months, more Memphians will be able to safely enjoy active lifestyles. Our city’s streetscapes, greenspaces, and lifestyle options are transforming before our eyes, and the enriched sense of community that Memphis stands to gain as a result is precisely that which will enable our city to accomplish the lofty goals for which more and more of us aspire everyday.
Memphis already has an ideal climate for cycling, and thanks to a finicky groundhog that season is extended by a few weeks this year. Thanks to the Shelby Farms Greenline and a flourishing bike/ped movement, Memphians are becoming less afraid of their shadows.