Metal to the Pedal 

So, I went away for a week of rest and relaxation and I missed the most Memphis thing ever: After being out of commission for four years(!), one of the newly refurbished downtown trolleys smashed into a Sprock n' Roll pedal-party bike on the Main Street Mall. I was happy to learn no one was hurt — and no drinks were spilled — since the whoo!-party had just disembarked to have a couple pops at a Main Street pub.

Oh, and I also missed the news about the city being included as a charter member of the new professional football league, the American Alliance for Football, or AAF. The Memphis franchise even has a coach already, former Chicago Bears great, Mike Singletary. There's no team name yet, but since Showboats, Pharaohs, Southmen, Mad Dogs, Maniax, and Xplorers have already been used in prior attempts to establish an NFL alternative, I vote we go with something simple: the Memphis AF. And I want in on the "Memphis AF" swag concession business.

Also, if I may, I suggest that instead of playing the National Anthem before games and risking losing all the MAGA folks if some players kneel, the AAF should instead play "Freebird" and allow players to do whatever they want — play air guitar, do jumping jacks, check text messages, whatever. We're the AAF, dammit.

But back to the Main Street Mall action ...

The Flyer offices were moved downtown at the first of the year, and we staffers for the most part have enjoyed the new digs — and the proximity to all the restaurants and other amenities within walking distance. But when we arrived downtown, it was mid-winter. You could walk down the Main Street Mall like a boss. No cars, no trolleys, no horse-drawn carriages, and no pedal-party pubs — or whatever the official name for those things is — just the occasional guy looking for a handout and that semi-decent street musician who sounds like Tracy Chapman.

Now, not so much. If you're walking down the mall to grab a lunch or get some exercise, you'd better keep your eyes and ears open. The new trolleys are quieter — stealthy, even — and judging from how far that trolley pushed the pedal-pub after the collision, they are taking no prisoners. Silent but deadly.

The Flyer staff tried out one of the Sprock n' Roll wagons a couple years ago. We pedaled from Overton Square to Cooper-Young, stopping at various joints along the way — and back — for drinks, so I get the "Look at us drinking and pedaling!" appeal. You get lots of honks and you have to yell "Whoooo!™" in response, but on the whole, I prefer stationary drinking. Pedal taverns are a party thing.

If you want to see where all this could be going if we aren't careful, spend a night in Nashville in the trendy Gulch area. The capital city's party wagon game is several notches above ours. There are flat-bed trucks tricked out with giant speakers blasting country music and filled with dancing bachelorette partiers. There are giant-wheeled pickup trucks that will bump you around downtown while you guzzle Bud Lite, listen to Florida-Georgia Line, and yell "whoo!" at the pedestrians below. And there are multitudes of pedal taverns. They're everywhere. It's insane.

Frankly, Nashville could use a couple of Memphis' killer trolleys to calm that shit down.

All this to say, yes, we want tourism in Memphis. Tourism is incredibly important to our economy. But we have to draw the line, and I'm not talking Florida-Georgia. We don't want loads of drunks being driven around downtown on flatbed trucks. And we need to pass a city ordinance outlawing the blasting of bro-country music anywhere in the 38103 before it's too late. For all their issues, horse-drawn carriages, our few pedal taverns, and trolleys are greatly to be preferred. They'll just have to learn to co-exist. Perhaps we should consider pedal-trolleys?

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