A little while ago Bicycling Magazine published a spread on Taco Rides and Bike/Taco Shops around the States. They aren’t the first bicycle magazine to publish love for handheld Mexican fare, and they certainly won’t be the last. But while most clubs are focused on getting tacos and burritos, there are a handful (yeah, you got it) of groups who make burritos, ride their bikes and give the burritos and other food to those in need. In Memphis, that group is the Urban Bicycle Food Ministry.
I’ve been a sideline supporter of this group for a few years, helping with charitable races and sharing social media. Recently, though, I had an opportunity to get out and hand out burritos myself. My wife and I loaded the boy on the cargo bike and met up with the group downtown. I have a porteur rack on the cargo bike and that made for easy access to burritos, water, and pastries. With about 9, volunteers the 1 to 2 mile loop that we rode on Saturday morning went by fairly quickly. That’s because the homeless tended to gather in certain areas in downtown – parks, plazas, and alleys. Those we met were grateful for the food and fortunately we were able to share a lot with them. Notably, several were asking for candy which we thought was odd, but is apparently common and a Don’t.
More shocking though were the young ages of some of the people; what looked like 16 to 18 year olds sleeping on the alley sidewalk with pipes for protection under their blanket. As a first-timer I was hesitant to find out their stories but it’s something I would like to do on another ride. You can help by joining the rides and/or donating food and supplies. There is a list of items on their website but for more immediate needs connect with UBFM on Facebook.