Sylvia Crum is pumped about the many bike lanes that Memphis has been building and investing in for the past five or six years. To her, they represent the spirit of innovation and positivity that made her decide to settle, with her young family of four, in the great Bluff City.
“When we moved here four years ago,” says Crum, “the bike lanes felt like an indication that this was a city that was willing to try new ideas. We’d lived in other places around the south that were dying, and they were mad that they were dying, but they didn’t want anybody’s outside ideas, they didn’t want any inside ideas. They were just mad about it. I’ve really been struck by Memphis that it’s the kind of place where people have ideas and other people support them. The new ideas don’t all work, but there are farmers’ markets, and bicycle lanes. Food trucks. Things are growing.”
Crum is Director of Revolutions, a community bike coop in her Cooper-Young neighborhood of Memphis, and while she wouldn’t admit it, she’s become quite a force herself in that push towards creative social change. From organizing Bike Rodeos (which train kids and adults to handle intersections safely, lock up against bike theft, and map safe routes around their neighborhood) to being “that crazy lady” who with her two kids rides everywhere, dinging her bell loudly by way of hello, Crum is a real ambassador. She’s an ambassador not just for getting your exercise while running errands, but also for thinking outside the box, doing things your own way.
“The thing I love about it is when we’re on our bicycles I feel much more connected to the community. I feel like we can wave and speak to people,” explains Crum. Often, she and her five-year old linger so long in neighborly conversation that her three year old son starts dinging his own back seat bell at them to say come on, people, let’s move it along here.
Young ambassadors for fresh air
Right now, Crum is raising money via ioby for a new program she’ll run this winter and spring. She wants to get 16 4th and 5th graders at Cooper-Young’s Peabody School (her daughter is in Kindergarten there) outfitted with bikes, helmets, good locks, and training, so that they can start riding to school and spreading the word about how easy it is. They’ll meet for street safety training eight to ten times, on Thursday afternoons, as part of a new after school club.
“We’ll try route mapping as a group,” explains Crum. “We’ll pick one and say, ‘ok, today we’re going to Sally’s house, so here’s the map, and here’s the route she’s suggested, and we’re gonna follow this route and see how it goes.’”
Once the ambassadors are ready to take on leadership roles, in May, they’ll begin to organize bike trains – group rides to school along certain routes, will invite other kids to join in.
“It makes sense to me that if kids are gonna ride, it’s gonna be other kids that encourage them to do it,” says Crum. Her daughter rides to school a few times a week, and already gets curious commentary from other kids – even older kids – who are starting to get the itch.
What your money buys
Want to get involved?
$30 buys a helmet for one of the 16 ambassadors.
$50 buys a high-quality lock.
Considering a larger donation of $300-$500? Your money will go a long way towards helping Revolutions put on an extra Bike Rodeo.
To learn more, to get involved, or to check out the group’s ioby campaign page, click here.
Feeling inspired? Want to take action in YOUR neighborhood? If you have awesome ideas about how to make your town greener, safer, and more fun, let us help! Tell us your awesome idea right here. We’d love to help you get started today.
Pssst…. In OTHER ioby news: Are you into hyper-local museums? Check this one out, in rural Michigan – they’re raising money to refurbish the historic 1938 Forest Service Residence that will house their extensive collection of logging paraphernalia, turn of the century appliances and small business signs, thousands of early 1900s photos, and much more.