Ed. Note: Amanda Wheeler is a new Memphian, so just about everything she's experiencing here is a first. Today, though, she's collected a series of photos of things she's seen in Memphis for the first time from the seat of her road bike. Enjoy!
These are a collection of firsts I have encountered as a brand new Memphian and a new biker.
Memphis constantly surprises me. Yes, there are a lot of old buildings, but the standing grit of what once was is where Memphis finds its true beauty. Realizing the attractiveness of an urban environment was a first for me.
New to biking meant being new to biking events. With Cycle Memphis, for the first time ever, I got to experience the thrill of riding through city streets in a massive group of people, all bobbing together to a single location (like Jerry's Snow Cones).
Except for the interstate, the first time I drove south of downtown Memphis was on a road bike. That's where I saw this monster and realized that I'm in love with warehouses. I want everyone to realize how Memphis architecture is truly awesome.
Moving to a new city was a huge first for me. But Memphis is an amazing place to be a newbie. It’s a hub of people experiencing the city for the first time, even if they have lived here all of their lives. I sat on my bike and took this picture, watching a train go by and people come and go from Mississippi and Arkansas and felt very lucky to be in a place where there is so much potential it’s tangible.
Memphis has a distinct sense of community. My first job out of grad school is centered on a community in which I am brand new, but have instantly felt at home. Biking, nonprofits, music, food, volunteering, donating, whatever it is, Memphis has a sense of community like no other. Memphis has good people and that’s inspiring.
One evening I biked into this jewel. It was the first time I had ever seen an antique fire truck up close. It's so nostalgic and simple.
The Midnight Classic Ride was the first time I road 17 miles through Memphis on a bike at midnight. It was also the first time I saw someone ride a two-story bike and the first time I ate Gibson’s doughnuts.
It’s so cliché, but I can’t get enough of Memphis sunsets over the Mississippi River. Every single one of them is like a first because that twilight hour when the river is silently rushing, and the sun is leaving, is always different.
The first time I saw a raccoon blow bubbles I was on my bike. There’s not much else to say about that, besides the fact that this raccoon and squirrel are the cutest things ever painted on the side of a street.
My first time on Tennessee Street was on my bike. I looked up, saw this sign, and it hit me that I’m a Tennessean now, and that’s a first.
Amanda Wheeler works as Community Relations Manager at Literacy Mid-South and is originally from Missouri. As a newly minted Tennesseean, she can’t get enough Memphis.