Easy Riders

Dressed in old-fashioned tweed and argyle, the members of Mobilians on Bikes gather outside at the Oakleigh Garden District’s Cream and Sugar. They arrive on 10-speeds and clunkers, ready for the Tweed Ride to begin. Together, they will meander to their destination: the Crescent Theatre. This is just one event the 180-member group has scheduled to promote biking as a means of urban transportation. The dress-up-and-ride concept originated in London and has made its way across the pond to various cities in the U.S., including Mobile.

“The Tweed Ride is a way to get more people on bikes, ” says Lynne Cooney, one of the organization’s administrators.

Niklas Hallberg founded Mobilians on Bikes (MOB) not long after he moved to the Port City. He felt there was a need for an active, noncompetitive cycling organization with no special bikes, suits or speed required. “A lot of folks maybe wouldn’t have thought to get out on their own on a bike, but in a group they feel more comfortable, ” he says. Even novice riders can succeed in the group.

Because Mobile is flat and compact, it’s a great place for short cycling trips. Neither Hallberg nor Cooney has a serious riding background, but both bike to work. Cooney says she would love to see more people pedaling to the grocery store or to meet friends at a restaurant or bar. “People used to ride bikes to get around town, ” Cooney says.

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The MOBs hope their advocacy will raise support from the city and local drivers. With some education and nurturing of the cycling community, biking has the potential to become a common form of transportation here. “We really want to dispel the myth that it’s scary to ride a bike on the streets of Mobile, ” Cooney says.

The group rides every Saturday and Sunday, from Cream and Sugar to various destinations. Most events are geared toward families and go at a slow, fun pace. Other themed rides are in the works. Seersucker, dinner-of-the-month, cocktail and picnic outings are just a few upcoming attractions.

“The most important thing is you don’t need to be an athlete, ” Hallberg says. “Just get your old bike out of the garage and ride with us.”

Mobilians on Bikes Weekly Rides

8 a.m. Sa, 3 p.m. Su. Meet at Cream and Sugar. For more information, search “Mobilians on Bikes” on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter at twitter.com/mobiliansbike. [email protected].

Interested in joining, but don’t have a pair of wheels? The group has bikes to lend.

Lindsay Mott

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