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.
Dwayne stays busy biking Memphis, but he knows that slow and steady wins the race and his Slow Ride Orange Mound is changing Memphis. Slow Rides are new to Memphis, but they are a very approachable and really fun way to get communities into biking. And Dwayne is leading the fun and I was honored to interview him.
Where is your favorite place in Memphis to ride?
On my road bike when I clip in I regularly ride South Memphis, Orange Mound, Downtown, and Cooper-Young in a 10 or 20 mile loop. I also ride my bike to church and to visit friends and family.
What was your first bike?
Other than a tricycle, my first bike I can remember was a single speed yellow bike with a banana seat.
What is a slow roll? And how did you become interested in them?
I became interested in Slow Rolls/ Rides when researching bike equity while on the Explore Bike Share Memphis advisory board. I’m now a board member. There are many slow paced community rides and I was interested in building relationships across racial, geographical, and economic boundaries. Being part of a 10 person delegation from Memphis in the summer of 2015 to the Netherlands for a Bike Study Tour sponsored by People for Bikes allowed me to meet some awesome people from Memphis with varying backgrounds. We all committed to engaging in conversations and activities to promote unity, healthy lifestyles, and cycling safety. Cycling was considered our common ground to spark change in other areas of our community.
What is different about a slow roll than other rides?
A lot was discussed during a trip to Philadelphia early this year about bike rider equity and community rides. I actually changed the name from Slow Roll to Slow Ride. The Slow Roll is actually a trademark name for a community ride for a group in Detroit. I’m not an organization trying to benefit or profit from the name but I changed to prevent confusion in the cycling community. Slow Roll Detroit is a huge event that has several thousand bike riders taking over the streets of Detroit on bikes. The event is a big community builder and has insurance, signup, and police escorts. It’s basically a slow paced family bicycle caravan winding through the streets of Detroit on selected routes. It’s called a slow roll because people are riding slow and getting to know other cyclists and enjoying the scenery and exercise at a slow speed. It is not a race!
If someone wants to ride with you how do they get in touch or sign up?
Inbox me on Facebook at Slow Ride Orange Mound or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. No fees, but helmets are required and we have a few to borrow. We have partnered with Revolutions to rent bikes on some rides.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to begin biking in Memphis and doesn’t know where to start?
Join Revolutions Bicycle Co-op to learn safety and bike repair or join the Hightailers for safety, CPR, and weekly rides for all levels. Kyle Wagenschutz and Anthony Siracusa were instrumental in getting me involved in the cycling community several years ago when they were working at Revolutions. Today Sylvia Crum and Sara Studdard are keeping me in the loop on rides and cycling related activities. The Hightailers recently provided me with free CPR training and donated helmets to the Slow Ride Orange Mound rides.
And finally, can you teach me how to ride a wheelie?
I use to ride wheelies when I was younger but now I’ve lost the skill and ride a road bike mostly. I wish I could but no I can’t. Lol.