Best Cycling Routes in Downtown Memphis

Does anyone have any ideas for cycling routes in downtown Memphis? Preferably for road bikes or XC's.

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Re: Cycling Routes in Downtown Memphis

@awshorten Thanks for reaching out!

We connected with our Memphis team for some suggestions and they were excited to help. Here's what they recommend:

  • Cycling via Main St. and heading North from GE Patterson will allow you to see the historic South Main district complete with views of the Civil Rights Museum, Orpheum Theatre, countless eateries and more.
  • Harahan Bridge, or “Big River Crossing” (pedestrian) spanning from South Downtown Memphis to Arkansas.
  • For those interested in gravel, once over the Harahan Bridge and into Arkansas, there is a gravel loop that is around 6 miles and offers fantastic view of downtown Memphis and the Mississippi River.
  • Making your way back to the TN side of the Harahan bridge, you can ride through nearby Martyrs Park heading North along the riverside and have a great view of the Mississippi River, Hernando de Soto Bridge, Beale St. Landing, Bass Pro Pyramid and more. 
  • Continuing northbound along Riverside Dr., you will run into the newly built Mississippi River Park, which will eventually put you on a paved path still heading north and along the backside of the pyramid. 
  • Once you pass the harbor on your left, you can cycle over the Bridge via A.W. Willis Ave. in to Harbor Town where you’ll find Greenbelt Park filled with pedestrian paths and even more scenic riverside views. 

Listed below is a popular eastbound route taking you from downtown Memphis and into historic, nearby Midtown:

  • Cycling eastbound via A.W. Willis Ave., which begins with a “Share the Road” path that eventually turns into a dedicated bike lane, you will pass by world renown St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
  • Continuing eastbound via the bike lane, A.W. Willis becomes North Parkway and will soon take you to Crosstown Concourse.
  • After taking in all the amazingness that Crosstown has to offer, you can continue to head east Via Overton Park Ave., one of the more historic Midtown districts with beautiful homes along either side.
  • Overton Park Ave. eastbound will eventually spit you out right into the most cherished gem of outdoor recreation in Midtown Memphis—Overton Park.
  • Inside Overton Park, there are great paved, pedestrian paths within the “forest” and you will pass by the famous Memphis Zoo (ranked among top 10 in the U.S. in 2019), Overton Park Shell and the Greensward.
  • From the eastern-most edge of Overton Park, you can access the newly installed Hampline and follow it onto the also, newly remodeled Broad Ave. cycling path.

Lastly, listed below is the dedicated pedestrian-only, rails-to-trails path called the Greenline

  • From the Broad Ave. cycling path, you can access the Greenline eastbound via Tillman Ave. and take it all the way to Shelby Farms—one of the largest urban parks in the country spanning 4,500 acres!
  • Within the park, there is a MULTITUDE of cycling paths—both on and off-road offering scenic, lake-side views of Hyde Lake and many others.

If you have any other questions or would like some more information, we encourage you to reach out to our Memphis Store, they would be happy to connect with you!

Hope this helps, happy cycling!

At REI, we believe a life outdoors is a life well lived.
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Re: Best Cycling Routes in Downtown Memphis

Hey @awshorten

I'm part of the Memphis REI team. I absolutely LOVE biking in Memphis, whether I'm on a cruisey ride on my MTB, or a longer ride on my road bike. I know you posted this six months ago, but have you had a chance to do many routes? What all have you done? 

There are two large road bike groups in Memphis: the Memphis Hightailers, and the Memphis chapter of the Major Taylors. Pre-COVID, both of these groups did very regular group rides. There are membership fees for the rides, but it's totally worth it. 

You can go from downtown to Shelby Farms and past that into Germantown along the greenway, and doubling back will get you at least a 30-40 mile ride, depending on which streets you want to ride on in Germantown. You can also ride out to Shelby Forest from downtown Memphis; I would suggest doing this on a weekday so traffic isn't as bad, and definitely carry and extra two tubes because of the potential of flats, but that will get you a 40-miler in as well. 

My usual route is to start at Memphis Made, head north on Central to Peabody, take Peabody to downtown, ride over to Arkansas across the bridge, tool around downtown for a bit, and then take Madison back to Midtown, then hit Central back to Memphis Made. That's a super easy 12-15 mile ride. 

Feel free to DM me, and I'm more than willing to share my Strava routes with you to give you a more concrete idea of where to ride to rack your miles up! 🙂 

At REI, we believe a life outdoors is a life well-lived.
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