Archive for the ‘Mobilians on Bikes’ Category

Cathedral Square Market, 7-9-11

I thought I would beat the heat by heading out at 8:00 a.m.   Gonna tell ya, folks, no matter what time you get up during the summer months in Mobile, Alabama you just aren’t going to beat the heat!  Actually, it’s more of a humidity factor.  Nevertheless, headed down my usual route…from my house on Demouy, up Conti (following the “bike route”), through the Monterey area, across Catherine and Anne, Broad and down Dauphin.  Traffic was light.  Got to the Square, chained by bike, and strolled around.

The crowd was light, I guess it was fairly early for most Mobilians.  One advantage of getting to The Cathedral Square Market early is you get the choicest of the choice.  My FAV seafood vendor, J & J Seafood, usually runs out of oysters first, and then folks start snapping up the lump crabmeat.  Jerome, the owner, knows I visit him first, then stroll around, so he packs my goodies on ice and sticks them back in the cooler for me to pick up after my shopping.  Picked up by goat cheese, and then bought “gourmet” pickle slices from a new vendor.  Always good to support new businesses!  Ben and I will be feasting tonight.

Anyway, sorry I missed the C & S ride this morning, but plan to do it tomorrow with the Sunday Morning Breakfast Ride.  I did my first one last week…and it was definitely d0-able, even on my ancient Schwinn.  Told Ben at least he should do the Sunday Stroll tomorrow afternoon.  We’ll see.

Later folks, I’m headed down to Fowl River where I will pop a cold one, and plop into some sort of inflatable, and let the past week float away.


Bike Advocacy: Encouraging New Cyclists

Ride participants hang out by the bay during last Saturday's ride. Vikki (middle left) is holding up scones she made for the riders.

Mobilians on Bikes (MOB),, is a utilitarian bicycling group in Mobile, AL.  The group focuses on encouraging the use of the bicycle as a vehicle for urban transportation.  Many short (< 5 mi) trips can be accomplished using a bicycle and bicycle use can partially address a variety of social ills.  These ills include pollution, traffic  congestion, and the poor health of the community.   MOB creates an encouraging and fun environment for those who may initially be too nervous to ride on their own.  MOB weekend rides focus on fun and strive to show folks that “regular” people wearing “regular” clothes and of a “regular” fitness level can ride a bike.  The purpose is to dispel the myth that bicycles are only for sport.  This way the group hopes to convert people one by one.  Each driver that begins riding a bike, even if only every so often, will be a more empathetic car driver in the future.

One recent success story is that of Vikki Finch.  Vikki got a new bike (Rivendell Betty Foy of all things!!) and began re-learning to ride a bike just a few months ago.  Her husband, Bill Finch, is a prominent member of the Mobile community and an avid cyclist.  I figured he got her the bike in order to spend time together.  Well Vikki would practice riding around my neighborhood and when I would see her I would encourage her to come on some MOB rides.  She would politely decline saying she wouldn’t want to slow us down and that she was too nervous to ride in a group.  Hah!  Like our 8mph rides are too fast and intimidating.  Well I’m proud to say that Vikki is now not only riding with MOB but is leading a weekly Saturday morning ride down the western side of Mobile Bay.  On the last ride she made scones for everybody.  What a ride leader!  She jumped from newbie to ride leader in only a few months.  Her unassuming, positive personality will bring in new bike riders who are looking for a stress free, social and fitness oriented bike ride.

Riders pose in front of one of the few things Mobile has done for bicycling.

Saturday, Warm Weather, Birthday Party, Friends, Bikes !!

The title of this post says it all.  What a Saturday!  My son Alex is celebrating his 4th birthday and my wife Megan planned a low key, stress-free birthday party with friends for him and friends for us.  We are fortunate to live very close to a nearby square that offers a lot of shade from impressive live oak trees.  This is particularly important since we have no backyard space for entertaining.  We also live in a neighborhood that is very bikable.  Four families biked, 1 family walked, and 1 family drove.  That’s not a bad rate of sustainable, healthy transportation to a birthday party.  While we were there we saw other folks, some friends and some strangers, out and about enjoying the great weather or going about their errands on their bikes.  This got me to thinking about what makes a neighborhood truly enjoyable and what characteristics give its citizens a sense of community and well being.  Having a public square that is easily accessible is important.  This allows people to meet, converse, and

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

enjoy a public space together.  The bikability and walkability of our neighborhood builds well being and a sense of community because they foster active lifestyles and impromptu meetings with neighbors and friends.  Even if it is a casual wave and saying “how do you do?”, these things are important for building a sense of connectivity in a community.  At one point during the day I was thinking about these things and how it is really the small, inexpensive, simple things that are truly important.  At one point I thought to myself “this is the good life.”

Bikes and a Historic Tour

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Mobilians on Bikes hosted a historic neighborhood tour of Ashland Place in Mobile, Al.  A local architect and historian, Douglas Kearley, educated the cyclists on the neighborhood which he called Mobile’s first suburb.  Its stately homes and live oak trees are very beautiful.  We also visited the nearby Visitation Monastery with its pleasant grounds and beautiful chapel full of stained glass windows.  Over 50 participants pedaled across town, approximately 4.5 mi each way and everyone got a little history lesson on important homes, trees, and neighborhoods along the way.  While the ride wasn’t designed for children, there were a couple child passengers that joined us.  I don’t know how old the oldest participant was but I would guess over 70.  This is great and goes with our 8 to 80 theme that people of all ages can ride a bike.  Along the way  a police officer blocked traffic so we could all get through a busy intersection and a fireman aided one of our riders who got a small gash on her shin.  So kudos to our public servants.  I would also like to mention that the drivers were all very courteous and patient, most turned off to avoid us (a benefit of a gridded street system) and others that passed gave plenty of room and went slowly.  Along the way the group got plenty of waves and smiles from neighbors and people on the street.  One woman who saw us has already joined MOB and is looking for a tricycle!  All in all another example of how using bicycles can be a fun, practical, and low cost way to get around and have fun.

Halloween Cemetery Ride

For Halloween the Mobilians on Bikes group hosted a Magnolia Cemetery ride.  The board president of the cemetery gave a tour of the grounds and everyone learned a lot about Mobile history.  The grounds are laid out similar to French cemeteries due to Mobile’s French history.  The grounds are full of alleyways that are perfect for a cycling tour.  My wife and I are familiar with the cemeteries of Paris since we lived there several years ago.  They are more like parks than anything else and it was a pleasant surprise to find Magnolia Cemetery had the same feel.  I might have to start doing my jogging there.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Forty riders participated which makes this ride the largest for Mobilians on Bikes.  Not only that but we incorporated a useful way for people to use their bikes to learn more about their city.  Many guests said they really enjoyed the experience and the group is now thinking of doing an historic homes tour via bike.  Stay tuned for that one!

Farmers Market Bike of the Day

Nice urban errand vehicle here!

Quick entry here as we are getting ready for a local move in a couple of weeks.  It’s not easy to get things done with two little ones and no grandparents within 500 miles!  Saturday morning we had a nice group ride down to the farmers market.  We picked up some new riders that joined us as well.  The weather can’t be beat and the atmosphere was very pleasant at the market.  A woman from Europe, I’m assuming a Germanic country from the accent, rode in with her son on the bike in the picture below.  Looks like a great farmers market bike to me.  I love seeing parents exposing their little ones to an active lifestyle!

Saturday Riding

We started out the day on Saturday like most days in the fall by going to the farmers market.  First we meet up with friends at the local coffee shop Cream and Sugar.  There were some new riders and several of them were kids.  It’s always nice to see kids out riding on bikes.  Now we just need to work with the city about making the conditions safer for children to bike around.  The weather was super pleasant and the market was entertaining.  I think we ended up buying some muffins and flowers.


Kids bikes at the farmers market



Nice Electra Townie outfitted for the farmers market



Alex bought flowers for his mom. So nice!


Later that day I had to go into the office.  On the way back I was pleasantly surprised to find a choral group singing Motown and contemporary favorites.  They even did some Journey.  Nice!


Faulkner State Chorus



I wasn't the only one riding. Nice Schwinn.