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