A team of local cyclists set out in mid-March to map a bicycle-friendly trail from the Kentucky-Tennessee border to Memphis as part of the Mississippi River Corridor. Their route — known as K2M for Kentucky to Memphis — was unveiled this morning at the Tipton County Museum & Nature Center in Covington.
The 155-mile route takes riders along winding roads, many of them positioned alongside the Mississippi River, that have less traffic than the major streets leading from Kentucky to Memphis. The trail begins on Highway 157 near the Kentucky-Tennessee border, runs along the Great River Road (Highway 181), through the Chickasaw Wildlife Refuge and Meeman-Shelby Forest, and end in Harbor Town's Greenbelt Park.
On March 17th, 11 cyclists set out to map the trail by driving a van loaded with their bikes to the border. From there, the cyclists took to the streets, at times battling 12 to 15 mile per hour headwinds, to document the safest route for cyclists. The trip, which was organized by Ward Archer, took the cyclists two days to complete with stops at diners and general stores along the way.
Archer created a video of their journey, which can be viewed on the K2M website. The site also contains maps and GPS files that cyclists may download for free.
“The purpose of developing this route is to inform the growing numbers of bicyclists about how beautiful the biking country is in West Tennessee and to show them how to make the trip themselves," said Diana Threadgill, president of the Mississippi River Corridor-TN. "The film clearly demonstrates you don’t have to be Lance Armstrong to do it”.
The K2M route will eventually link up to the proposed Harahan Bridge Project, which will create a bicycle and pedestrian trail over the Mississippi River into Arkansas.
“This route is for those bicyclists who have a bit of adventure in them and want to get out in the open country for a few days”, said Archer. “I won’t say it’s easy, but it’s very doable, especially if you can get enough friends together to arrange for a support vehicle to tag along behind.”