By Sheree Stubblefield

Enjoying the outdoors has been on the decline in recent years, being replaced by sedentary indoor options such as video games, social media and Netflix binges. While it may be easy to ignore the side effects of this type of non-activity, Psychology Today says that outdoor activity will decrease stress and improve mental and physical health and life satisfaction. In another article, they write that exercise reduces anxiety levels and produces new brain cells well past your 20s when they would normally stop.

This begs the question, what happens if you merge the two? An increasing number of Americans are embracing a more holistic, non-binary approach to health. Rather than hammocking outdoors or exercising indoors, the current model is combining these two to create an active outdoor life that is now known to be essential to physical, mental and spiritual health.

Cooper-Young has decided to follow that trend while adding another health component, social wellness. Recently, Cooper-Young community leaders and business owners met to create Cooper-Young Bike Night, a free, family friendly weekly event that begins Thursday, April 4 and runs for an eight-week pilot period through May 23. 

Beginning at 6:30 p.m., cyclists will meet at the Cooper-Young gazebo and take off riding by 6:45 p.m. with volunteer cyclists leading the way through different routes every week. This free event will be open to anyone who is interested in seeing Cooper-Young up close, perfect for the growing appreciation of urban architecture and infrastructure. To add to the excitement, each ride will have a different theme with the first being glow sticks!

Based on the success of this event, the Cooper-Young Bike Night will continue through the warmer months. The neighborhood is excited to host this event for families because they can come on a ride together and be home in time for dinner. Cooper-Young is known as a place to go to bars and restaurants but residents want people to see that the neighborhood is more than that. Cooper-Young is also for families. 

“Cooper-Young Bike Night is a great way to get the whole family out to explore the neighborhood, get some exercise, and meet new friends. I hope to see all my neighbors on a ride this spring,” says Stephanie Gonzalez, vice-president of the Cooper-Young Community Association and volunteer bike night organizer. 

While Cooper-Young residents have pride in their historic neighborhood, they know it’s not only for them. It is also a neighborhood for Memphis as a whole to come out and enjoy. So, come take a closer look at Cooper-Young on April 4.

For questions, please contact If you would like to volunteer to lead a ride, you can email 

Thank you to Sharron Johnson, owner of Stone Soup Cafe and Ray Rico, owner of Ray Rico Freelance, for sponsoring this event.

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