Classes and Community Involvement

Greetings to you in the midst of this beautiful Fall weather. Since it’s so cool out, I’m sure you are looking for places to ride your bike. Revolutions has several ideas for you!

First, how about a some classes?

Traffic Skills 101

This traffic skills course will help you understand riding in traffic –from side roads, to bike lanes, to urban highways.  It will give you the confidence you need to ride safely and legally in traffic or on the trail. The course covers bicycle safety checks, fixing a flat, on-bike skills and crash avoidance techniques and includes a student manual. This is a “must have” if you have thought about bicycle commuting, or just for day-to-day riding on city streets.  It will give you the confidence and know-how to handle traffic basics.

Recommended for adults and children above age fourteen.

Class cost $30 dollars for members and $50 for non-members and includes a student manual.


Class is limited to 10 openings. And you can sign up here. This is a class in two parts. Please plan to attend both sessions:

Thursday, July 24, 2014 from 6:00PM to 9:00PM, in Conference Room B

Saturday, July 26, 2014 from 8:00AM to 12:00PM, the Field Practical (parking lot and road session)



Community Meetings

Looking for a way to have your voice heard? Cycle on down to the Beale Street Landing, on Tuesday, July 29 at 6:00 p.m. for the Riverside Drive Complete Streets Project Community Meeting.


In June 2014, Riverside Drive was transformed using paint and signs to demonstrate how a reconfigured street could improve access and mobility to the Memphis riverfront for persons walking or riding bicycles. This temporary exhibition will be used over the next 12-18 months to test, measure, and refine the design so the end result is a street that works well for all roadway users. A series of public meetings will be used to share data that has been gathered and to receive comments and questions about the roadway’s current and future function.

This community meeting is the first of several that will be scheduled during the pilot period so that data can be shared and public comment can be made. This meeting will include information about what data is being gathered, the projected schedule of future meetings, and what the public can expect during the duration of the pilot period. Doors will open to the meeting at 6:00pm, followed by a presentation at 6:30pm.

Come to the community meeting and express yourself. Your ideas and opinions are a valuable part of the process that will impact the final design of this roadway. The ultimate success of the Riverside Drive Access and Mobility Project depends on your participation… so please join in!




Questions? Please contact Kyle Wagenschutz, Bicycle /Pedestrian Coordinator, City of Memphis at: (901) 636-6710 or


Volunteers Needed

Tour de Coop-2013

Did you go on last year’s Tour de Coop, put on by GrowMemphis? It was awesome!! This tour of backyard chickens, honeybees and community gardens is a great way to see how Memphis is growing our own food. And it can all be seen by bicycle. This year’s tour will be on Saturday, September 20. GrowMemphis needs volunteers to put on this event. If you are interested in helping, please email Carole Colter at And mark your calendars, because if you aren’t volunteering, you’ll want to be riding!


More Places to Bike

Have you heard about the new bike corral in front of 1st Congo, in Cooper-Young?

IMG_8165 IMG_8183

It’s a great new place to lock up your bike when you’re out enjoying the Cooper-Young neighborhood.


And how about Riverside Drive?


What a beautiful ride the new bikes lanes afford. Beale Street Landing has a bar and grill that is almost open. And there are bathrooms, there, if you need a pit stop. And when you’re ready to cool off, the new playground at the Beale Street Landing also has a water feature. Riverside Drive is a new biking destination for us. How about you?

Shop Closed Sunday, July 6

The Shop will be closed Sunday, July 6th, in observance of the end of Independence Day weekend.

Upcoming Classes

We have some classes coming up, so mark your calendars, now, for:

1. Smart Cycling: Traffic Skills 101. This is a two session class taught by Gene Carkeet on July 24 and 26.

2. Basic Parts and Tools, on Aug. 4 with Keith Norman.

You can find more info and a sign-up form here for all upcoming classes.



People on Bikes

I’m back from Oregon and I had a few more pictures that I wanted to share with you. First off, in Portland we saw this:




The Red Hat Society out for a ride. It looked like a great way to see the city.

And while sitting at brunch, we saw this crew roll by:




The woman and cameraman are on an Xtracycle Edgerunner and she seemed to have no trouble peddling him. The guy in the bucket was, maybe, on a Bullitt front loader, but I can’t be sure of the brand. You can also see a little of a bagpiper on a unicycle. Unfortunately, I missed getting a picture of him playing. It was pretty exciting because, for some reason, flames kept shooting out of his bagpipes.

We heard many times in Portland that people do all sorts of things on bicycles. This group is a talk show. You may be able to read that the side of the bucket says “Pedal Powered Talk Show.” I looked them up and they’re pretty fun. They pedal to places all over Oregon and then park the bike and the host interviews interesting people. You can find their shows here. And this is a great interview with the host, Boaz Frankel, talking about the show, and the sorts of people they have interviewed, over their three seasons.

Bike School was awesome!! I passed the test to be a Certified Bicycle Mechanic! Now I just need a bunch of practice. It was really great to be around and bicycle with so many folks in Oregon. But we were anxious to get back home. We came back with lots of ideas and things to try in Memphis! I hope I’ll see you around Revolutions where we can work on bicycles, together!

Bicycle Overhaul

I can believe that it’s the last day of Bike School. I’ve been here for three weeks and it was more awesome than I could have imagined. This week we covered brakes, headsets, and re-threading bottom brackets. I also got to bleed two types of hydraulic disc brakes and change the oil on a suspension bike. And the instructors gave us the briefest introduction, just a small taste really, of frame building. I’m pretty sure I need to come back for Bike School’s three different welding classes!!

The instructor told us that suspension systems (now almost standard on mountain bikes) may be the fastest growing part of the bicycle industry. He went on to say that the technology is so impressive that other industries are picking up on it. Clearly, I am far outside the realm of cycling sports, or any sports for that matter, because I had absolutely no idea what sorts of industries he might be talking about. When I asked, he said what now seems pretty obvious: motorcycles and car racing. Right, that makes sense.

On Thursday, to show what we learned, we each did a complete bicycle overhaul. I’m confident that I will get faster. But this time it took me about five hours! It was super, super fun, though. During the last three weeks, we looked at all the systems in a bicycle one at a time. Performing the overhaul was a chance to bring it all together by doing it all at once. The instructors signed off on our work as we went along, and I felt great that their comments about my work just involved minor tweaking, not major things like “that’s not where the pedals go!”

I learned so much in my time at Bike School. I clearly have a lot more practice to do. And I look forward to getting back to Memphis to do just that! I hope I’ll be seeing you around Revolutions, soon. And maybe we can do some wrenching, together!!


Last week I started the two-week Pro class at Bike School. I was nervous before it started because I am definitely not a “pro.” And I worried that it would be a bunch of guys with a lot of Shop experience and that the class might move too fast for me. But I am fine and the class is great. Out of a class of 15, there are only two who have worked with any regularity and length in a retail bike shop. The rest have varying levels of experience, but I am definitely not at the bottom. It is a little different from the Intro week, though. Where the Intro week there were five women in a class of thirteen, this class only has two women in fifteen. But the instructors are just as great. And everything we do is discussed and demonstrated first. So, though some of the days are difficult, I’m still having loads of fun and getting my hands greasy!

Last week, I built two bicycle wheels. I’ve heard this called the art of wheel building. But I appreciated that this instructor shared his opinion that it is not exactly an art because a specific procedure must be followed. And though there is a feel to getting the spokes to the correct tension, there is also a tension gauge that indicates when the right tension has been reached.

wheel building

As we talked about the process, it seems like the instructor just glossed over the math of figuring out spoke length. As a former chemistry major, who took a lot of math and math based classes in college, I though this was weird. The instructor pointed out that there are several measurements to take and then there are lots of online calculators already set up that can figure out the needed spoke length for us. Still, though, I was interested in what this secret formula might be. I did not do a very extensive search. But I did almost laugh out loud when I saw this on Wikipedia:

For wheels with crossed spokes (which are the norm), the desired spoke length is

l = \sqrt{ d^2 + {r_1}^2 + {r_2}^2 - 2 \, r_1 r_2 \cos(a)} - r_3


  • d = distance from the center of hub (along the axis) to flange, for example 30 mm,
  • r1 = spoke hole circle radius of the hub, for example 35 mm,
  • r2 = half of effective Rim Diameter (ERD), or the diameter the ends of the spokes make in a built wheel (see ‘Discussion’ attached to this article for explanation) of the rim, for example 301 mm,
  • r3 = radius of spoke holes in the flange, for example 1.1 mm,
  • m = number of spokes to be used for one side of the wheel, for example 36/2=18,
  • k = number of crossings per spoke, for example 3 and
  • a = 360° k/m, for example 360°*3/18 = 60°.

The article goes on, and you can read more here, if you’re interested. For me, I’m satisfied that those online calculators exist. And my wheels came out quite nicely, after about eight hours of work. I also appreciated that the instructor refrained from telling us how much time a bike shop mechanic would take to build a wheel. He said he didn’t want to discourage us. And he emphasized that our next build would go faster. But he also said that an experienced builder could do a basic wheel in maybe thirty or forty-five minutes, and definitely under an hour!

My favorite part was lacing the spokes from the hub to the wheel rim. Getting the tension right was, shall we say, less fun. But in the end, it made a lot of sense. And I think, with practice, I could possibly enjoy the whole process. And the great thing about Revolutions is, there are plenty of wheels with which to practice!

Memphis’ Open Streets Project

Join the City of Memphis, Downtown Memphis Commission, and Riverfront Development Corporation on Sunday, June 15, 2014, from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. for an afternoon of fun to celebrate the grand opening of the newly configured Riverside Drive and Memphis’ first Open Streets event. Read more at Bike/Ped Memphis.



Bikes, Bikes Everywhere!

It is so amazing to see bicycles everywhere. They’re at the grocery store (where the employees have their own, separate bike rack, as though the store actually expects them to ride to work), the brewpubs, and the town square. And they are safe in all of these places, because there are bike racks and bike corrals to house them. The bike corrals are great because, not only do they have a rack in which to lock up the bikes, they are also covered. I’ve even seen double-decker corrals, and will get you a picture of that, soon!


A local brewery, who encourages patrons and employees to ride their bikes!


Some of these bikes are uncovered, but you can see a green awning for some other bikes, in the background.

The above brewery is Standing Stone Brewery. I thought these bikes were merely patrons bikes. And some of them are. But it’s even more exciting than that. Standing Stone has an employee bike to work incentive program. From their website:

To promote health and reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions, we (Standing Stone Brewery) offer free, new  to employees who have worked here for 1,000 hours and agree to bike commute at least 45 times within a year of receiving their new wheels. Our friends and local cheese purveyors at the  were inspired to establish a bike commuting program for their team, too.

You can read more about their program here (from the date of this post, it looks like this program is in its 5th year!). The hostess told me that once an employee works 1,000 hours, they are eligible for a bike with a $300 deposit. After they complete the 45 roundtrip commutes, they get half of that deposit back and the bike is their’s to keep. After they work an additional year with Standing Stone, they get the rest of the deposit back, too.

They are provided with new bikes (they had been Konas and now the bikes are Treks)! And Standing Stone has inspired other businesses in the area to create similar programs. The hostess also told me that Standing Stone is able to provide such nice bikes thanks to help from a local bike shop and a government subsidy program! Healthier, happier employees, lower carbon emissions, and more people riding bikes! This is a great idea!!! And they make tasty beer and locally sourced food, too!

In town, I was also super excited to see this:


It’s an outdoor, do-it-yourself bike repair station. There are several of the main tools that a minor bike repair would call for and a pump, on the side. And you can hang up your bike on the top of the red rack, for easy access.


I had read about communities using these, before coming out to Oregon. You can see that the tools are attached with thin wire cables. There is the possibility of theft. But I’ve read that for the most part, tools stick around. One post I saw said they had a recurring incident of a kid braiding the cables, but no trouble other than that. How great to know that even if you don’t have all of these tools at home, you can go to a central spot in town and make a fix.

The cargo bike is also proving quite useful. On Friday, a friend had two bikes at Bike School. Oh no! How to get them back home at the end of the day? How about a tow? Teddy put her front wheel in one of the panniers and rode it home!


Hours & Info

Sunday: 12:00pm-6:00pm
Thursday: 6:30pm-8:30pm

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