Welcome to our bi-monthly contribution from The Bikesmith, Jim Steffen. Twice a month he’ll highlight a local bike enthusiast and get their perspective on riding in Memphis. Leave your nominations in the comments.
When the Greenline opened, it inspired Poppy to ride more and get in better shape. Since then the sky has been the limit. Although she remembers when she thought a 10-mile ride was crazy, she could kick my butt now in trail riding (and pretty much everyone I know’s butt) and definitely would leave me in the dust on any of the endurance rides she races (if I even signed up). But this is not how I learned about how awesome Poppy is. Her reputation as a steward of our awesome local bike trails preceded her. And I’ve heard so much about her Ladies of the Trail Rides, I couldn’t wait to her interview.
Where is your favorite place to ride?
All the Memphis trails! I’m on Stanky Creek Cycling, so I enjoy that trail in the summer, Herb Parsons when I’m willing to drive 30 minutes, Wolf River trails because I can ride the Greenline from home to get to them!
What would you recommend to someone wanting to get into biking in Memphis but doesn’t know how to start?
Go to a local bike shop and talk to them! Explain what kind of riding you’re interested in and let them guide you as to getting the correct bike. Then, just don’t be afraid to go out and ride! Roads, parks, greenways or trails! Both! Memphis has a lot to offer! Start with a few miles. I remember when I thought a 10 mile ride was a big deal. It gets easier, trust me.
Tell me about your Ladies of the Trail rides?
I was approached by Tulio of the Hightailers , to lead a trail ride, and my sister, Elizabeth, and I decided that we would make it a ladies only ride. We feel that some ladies are intimidated or feel pressure to make certain drops, roots, or challenges when there are men present. We have had great fun introducing people to the trails! I encourage people to join group rides on the trails! It’s easy to get lost out there if you have never been there before.
If women want to ride with the Ladies of the Trails how she should they get in touch?
You can find it the Hightailer’s site under rides, or you can join the Facebook group, Memphis Hightailers Ladies of Trails.
What more could Memphians do to be better stewards of our trails?
Join the Midsouth Trails Association, or just help us on our trail work days! I am on the board of directors of MSTA. We work in conjunction with Shelby Farms on the Wolf River trails, and with the land managers on the other trails in Memphis to keep them clear of fallen trees, build bridges, keep them mowed, etc. Try not to ride the trails when they are soft after a rain , because it really damages them!
What is your favorite bike ride/race in Memphis?
That’s a hard question! Roads, I’d say BCB 100. On trails, definitely Legends of Stanky in August. Stanky Creek Trail is a great place to learn a little more technical riding than the Wolf River trails. I encourage everyone who normally only rides the Wolf River trails to get out to Stanky and ride. SCC puts on a great race.
Will you teach me how to do a wheelie?
Sure lol. In my next life.