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Sharing bikes, building community

Originally published by Memphis Commercial Appeal, May 2018

Do you remember first learning to ride a bike – that moment when a loved one’s hand slipped away and you were balancing on your own? It announced a new kind of freedom.

I loved riding my bike as a kid.

I didn’t have to ask for a car ride to go to the store or visit friends. I could just hop on my bike. I also remember riding to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions for my grandmother. Being able to help my family gave me a sense of fulfillment.

When I arrived at the University of Memphis as a young man, I didn’t bring my bike. Maybe I thought I was too cool or maybe my dorm room was just too small. Looking back, I sure could have used it.

Now as an adult, I’m glad to be riding again thanks to my daughters, who bought me a nice bike for Christmas. Sometimes I push myself to ride with friends who are more competitive than I could ever hope to be. And my favorite bike memories are still being made with my family on our weekly rides, whether on the riverfront or out at Shelby Farms.

For a growing number of Memphians, bikes represent other kinds of freedom – a chance to leave the car at home some days or a way to sweat off some stress over a lunch break.

With this week’s launch of Explore Bike Share – including 600 bicycles and 60 docking stations, and more to come – it’s easier than ever to enjoy a ride through the beautiful streets and parks our city has to offer.

We’re proud to sponsor Explore Bike Share because these bikes represent many things: a form of public transportation, a community builder and a new approach to wellness for our city. All of those benefits matter to BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee – and our neighbors.

We have more than 300 employees based in our office on Danny Thomas Boulevard who travel the same highways and city streets coming to work, going to the doctor and running errands. So we understand how a bike share can enhance quality of life by offering a new way to get around.

And as our great city continues to grow and our neighborhoods blossom, it’s important to foster the personal connections that make communities healthy and strong. A bike ride alone can be a wonderful experience. A bike ride with colleagues, friends or family members can be even better.

Finally, it’s no secret that people are built to be active.

Physical fitness is key to achieving a healthy lifestyle and preventing the diseases that affect so many of us and our loved ones. Even a few minutes of extra movement a day can bring better health.

No single program can solve every challenge our city faces, but Explore Bike Share is poised to make a difference on several key fronts. So I hope you’ll join me in celebrating its success – and I hope to see you on the road.

About Kevin Woods, VP and Memphis Market President

A photo of the authorKevin is Memphis market president, building and supporting key relationships with west Tennessee businesses, and serving as a vital link between the Memphis business community and BlueCross sales and service teams.

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