by Andy Meek – The Daily News
Jim Steffen is pedaling harder this year. The proprietor of The Bikesmith – an operation that includes a truck that doubles as a mobile bike shop and a retail presence inside a converted auto garage at 509 N. Hollywood St. – is making good on his ambition to do more this year.
Starting May 5, Bikesmith proprietor Jim Steffen plans to start parking his bike truck at Crosstown Concourse so that residents and workers there can get their bikes repaired.
That includes taking his truck to new spots around the city to offer his repair services.
Starting May 5, Steffen plans to park his mobile bike shop at Crosstown Concourse so Crosstown residents and workers can get their bikes repaired.
Steffen also will be letting Crosstown customers order bikes and accessories from his shop in the Broad Avenue Arts District and get those purchases delivered right to them.
“We’re going to start out going down on Friday afternoons once a week and providing service to folks who live and work there, including visitors in the area,” Steffen said. “The initial thought was to provide bike maintenance service, but they can also order helmets or parts or buy bikes from us and get them delivered.
“We’ll be down there for a few hours in the afternoon, to try to catch people before the weekend. We’re going to start on Friday afternoons and then kind of ramp up as demand increases and more businesses and residents move in.”
The Bikesmith plans to host more events at its Broad Avenue-area shop this year, with more pump track parties through the summer and fall, in addition to more race events, music shows and more.
The Bikesmith for a few years now has been at the vanguard of a movement in Memphis around biking, the fruits of which include everything from the launch of bike shops like Steffen’s to the spread of bike lanes, festivals, riding groups and more. To supporters, the expansion of that culture around the city is an indication that more Memphians are coming to realize being a bike friendly community carries abundant benefits.
That’s according to Kerry Hayes, principal of Key Public Strategies and a longtime cycling advocate, who said those benefits include improving health, wellness and safety in addition to bolstering tourism and economic development in neighborhoods around the city.
“Jim Steffen and his team at Bikesmith deserve a tremendous amount of credit for furthering our city’s bicycling culture in a number of ways, and their presence at Crosstown will only make them more successful,” Hayes said. “Making our city more cycling friendly is not only about more bike lanes and trails. It’s about the many retail and service businesses that are required to support cycling by making it easier, safer, and more available for more people.”
As for Steffen’s shop, it spent last year hosting pump-track happy hours, race events, a gathering of the local Undercurrent organization and more. The pump track is a special track outside the shop on which bicyclists don’t have to pedal when they’re zipping around on it.
Steffen plans to shift things into a higher gear this year, with more pump-track parties through the summer and fall, in addition to more race events, music shows and more.
The bikes are the reason he runs the shop in the first place. But along the way, he decided to try and make it something more – a community gathering spot, a way of using the bikes to bring people together.
“We definitely want to do more events, maybe showing a movie too or something like that once a month,” Steffen said. “We’ll have more pump-track happy hours and parties. The truck is open – we go all over town doing pickups and drop-offs and on-site repairs. We want to include Crosstown in that. We really want to create a community at the shop and have a cool place for people to hang out.”