The good deeds of the Delta Bike Project (DBP) have previously been reported in this column. For those unaware of the group, according to its website it is a “bike shop in Mobile that works to enhance the cycling experience by empowering people with the knowledge of basic bicycle maintenance through their guided, do-it-yourself model of teaching repair skills and community programming.”
As a nonprofit organization, the DBP depends on grants and special events to raise money to reach these goals. One of its biggest fundraisers each year is the “Gears & Beers” bicycle rides.
According to DBP founder Jeff DeQuattro, the November event provided funds for several more bike racks and five additional Dero Fixit Stations and air pumps. The group is also adding 52 new bicycle parking spaces in downtown and midtown — which more than doubles the amount of secure bicycle parking currently available in the city.
Benefiting first from the project was The Salvation Army facility at 1009 Dauphin St. Along with the customary repair station and pump, a new bicycle parking area was installed.
“Many of our clients are looking for jobs,” Major Mark Brown of the Coastal Alabama Area Command said. “Buses and taxis are too expensive. If they have a bike, they have an independent way to get there and be home in the evening.
“The Delta Bike Project has done a lot for us. I’m also happy that all the equipment came in Salvation Army red.”
Brown first learned of the DBP through Jenn Greene, who serves as its director of operations. They both serve on the city’s Homeless Task Force, and began to discuss how the DBP and The Salvation Army could help each other.
“We share a lot of the same clients and goals,” DeQuattro said. “Our program has helped many people at The Salvation Army become amateur bike mechanics. Once they learn about bikes, then they can help others who are staying here. It is a perfect partnership.”
Greene pointed out that all of the money from “Gears & Beers” went straight into the community. Such fundraisers are needed, as the air pumps and fixit stations cost $1,600 to $1,700. While staff at DBP have fabricated bike stands in house (such as the 12-space one in front of LoDa Bier Garten), this was the first time a manufactured rack was purchased. The cost was close to $800.
Since 2014, repair stations and pumps have been installed by the DPB at its headquarters at 561 Saint Francis St. and the following locations: 15 Place, Spring Hill College, Cream & Sugar Café, Arlington Park, McNally Park, LoDa Bier Garten, Fins Bar on Dauphin Island, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Buick Building and now The Salvation Army. New locations will include Mellow Mushroom at The Loop, Old Shell Growlers, Doyle Park and Trinity Gardens.
The Salvation Army now has 16 bike parking spaces while The Exchange on Government Street purchased two racks the DBP has installed. Planned for the future are racks at The Garage (six spaces), O’Daly’s (eight spaces), Old Shell Growlers (six spaces), near The Haberdasher (four spaces) and four spaces at the DBP headquarters.
The DBP is also involved in the community with its “Time is Money” program, which helps people with little to no income get a bike, and the “Read to Ride” project, which assists at-risk elementary school children. To learn more, visit www.DeltaBikeProject.org.
• Rafael Scott broke his own University of South Alabama record by winning the men’s 60-meter dash at the Vanderbilt Invitational. His time of 6.59 seconds is among the top five in the NCAA. Sean Collins, a first-team All-American as a freshman, took fourth in the pole vault (5.2 meters) in his first meet since being injured at the 2016 Sun Belt Outdoor Championships. For their efforts, they were named the SBC’s Track and Field athletes of the week. They return to action Saturday at the Birmingham Crossplex.
• Starla Daggan of the University of Mobile has been named the Southern States Athletic Conference’s Player of the Week for a second time. The senior guard scored 20 points against Loyola and another 23 versus Martin Methodist. She is fourth in the NAIA with a 22.3 points per game average.
• Korie Fontenot has been named the interim head coach for the University of Mobile softball team. During Fontenot’s three years as assistant coach, the Lady Rams were 66-35, won the SSAC Tournament in 2015 and appeared in the NAIA World Series. Fontenot is a 2013 UM graduate who was a two-time Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athlete winner. She replaced Terri McCormack, who stepped down after 10 seasons.
• The bowling teams at Spring Hill College have been on a roll. The men first won the Florida State University Seminole Classic team title, while Charles R. Noble Jr. finished first with a 248.83 average. The women’s team was fifth at FSU, with Miranda Singer third with a 216.33 average.
At two events in Texas, the men and women both won in Arlington. In Plano, the men were first and women second. Ryan Hauck averaged 251.6 and 209.8 to take top honors in both events, while Singer was second (203.8) in the first meet and won the second (187.0).
• The Gulf Coast Conference has announced its 2016 FireSeeds Academic Honor Roll for the fall sports season. To earn a spot, a student-athlete must hold a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average and appear in at least one regular season varsity game. Spring Hill had 15 players from the women’s soccer team qualify while the men’s team had 10.
• The Mobile BayBears have announced a job fair the next two Saturdays at Hank Aaron Stadium. The minor league club is looking for seasonal game-day workers during all or most of its 70 home games, played from April through early September. The events on Feb. 4 and 11 will last from 1-4 p.m. Candidates must be at least 16 years old. Applications can be obtained at the BayBears’ front office (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays) or online at www.MobileBayBears.com.