Mobile may not have been considered a bicycle-friendly city at any time in the past, but that view has certainly changed in recent years.
The nonprofit Delta Bike Project (DBP) and Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s office are continuing to work on making the cycling experience even more attractive. Along with a variety of group rides, there are plans to make major roadways more accessible for bicycles.
The DBP depends on grants and special events to raise funding for many of these projects. The largest such gathering is the Gears are Beers ride, which returns Nov. 11.
According to DBP Executive Director Jeff DeQuattro, the 2016 event provided funds for several more bike racks and five additional Dero Fixit Stations and air pumps. The group also worked on adding bicycle parking spaces downtown and in midtown.
Gears and Beers is a collection of four bicycle rides — covering 8.2 miles, 30 miles, 63 miles and 100 miles — and a street party. The “Bayou 100” is the newest addition to the Alabama Backroads Century Series, and will travel from downtown Mobile to Bayou La Batre and Coden.
“With our participation in the Alabama Backroads Century Series this year, Gears and Beers is attracting hundreds of riders that are driving for more than a couple hours to Mobile to ride their bikes,” DeQuattro said. “We’re very proud to show off Mobile and share the things that make us the Gulf Coast.”
Since the first Gears and Beers in 2015, the DBP has purchased and installed 15 bicycle repair stations and pumps, and enough bike parking to accommodate 56 bicycles. Fundraisers such as Gears and Beers are needed to cover the expense, as the air pumps and fixit stations cost $1,600 to $1,700.
According to the DBP website, the group believes cycling and its benefits should be made equally accessible to people from all walks of life. They seek to minimize economic and educational barriers by providing the tools and knowledge for do-it-yourself bicycle repair and low-cost access to, or the ability to earn, donated and recycled bicycles through sweat equity.
The street party following the race will be at the LoDa Bier Garten, which in June had an official dedication of an 18-bike parking station placed on Dauphin Street.
“Creating a bikeable community has been a priority of this administration since taking office and was identified as a priority by our citizens during the Map for Mobile long-range planning process,” Stimpson said at the time. “It is important that we provide the citizens of Mobile with the necessary infrastructure to feel comfortable biking across the city of Mobile. Whether it is creating a safer, more bikeable Water Street or connecting downtown Mobile with the Three Mile Creek trail, making Mobile pedestrian- and bike-friendly will connect our neighborhoods and businesses and move us forward on the path to becoming One Mobile.”
Last year’s Gears and Beers had 306 participants. For a complete schedule of events and information on signing up for any of this year’s races, visit www.gearsandbeersridemobile.com.
Bishop State basketball
• The men’s basketball team at Bishop State Community College had a very successful run last season. The Wildcats went 18-8 and finished second in the Alabama Community College Conference Southern Division.
Head coach J.D. Shelwood has returning starters in forward Terrence Cunningham (5.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and guard Jemiar Jonasian (4.0 ppg). Other returning veterans are forwards Adnan Antonio (6.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg), Byron Knight and Jordin Whitty.
Newcomers expected to see playing time are point guard Lester O’Cain, forward Sammie Sanders and forward Richard Lockett.
• The women’s basketball team is looking to turn things around. After a winless campaign in 2015-16, last year’s club went 3-19 overall and 1-22 in league play. Head coach Trent Eager expects his young team to be very competitive by January.
Returning starters include forward Courtney Jordan and guard Anslea Twymon. Among the 12 new additions are forward Lexius Houzer, guard/forward Jada Pickett, guard Timmia Sanders and guard Etellone Polk-Smith.
The first home action for both squads will be Nov. 9 against Meridian.
• Spring Hill College (SHC) volleyball coach Peggy Martin recently recorded her 1,300th career victory. The milestone took place as the Badgers swept five wins at the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference West Division Cluster event. Martin is only the second collegiate volleyball coach at any level to pass this plateau.
• For the third time this year, University of Mobile goalkeeper Guilherme Altoe is the Southern States Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week. The junior from Brazil had back-to-back shutouts for the nationally ranked Rams.
• Both the men’s and women’s soccer teams at SHC qualified as 2016-17 Team Academic Award winners, according to United Soccer Coaches. A team GPA of 3.0 or higher was required. Only 195 schools had both their men and women qualify.
• This week the Orange Beach Sportsplex is hosting the Southeastern Conference Women’s Soccer Championships for the 11th time. The title match is set for Sunday at 2 p.m. The facility is also hosting the Alabama Soccer Festival and the Target United Cup this weekend.
• University of South Alabama (USA) safety Jeremy Reaves was named the Sun Belt Conference’s Co-Defensive Player of the Week after the Jaguars’ 33-23 win over Louisiana-Monroe. The senior shared team honors with eight total stops and contributed an interception and 92-yard fumble recovery.
• USA volleyball’s Meaghan Jones was named the SBC’s Freshman of the Week. She averaged 2.17 kills per set, and posted a .480 hitting percentage in wins over Georgia Southern and Georgia State.
• The SIAC has honored two SHC athletes. Emmarose Neibert was the Setter of the Week while Abigail Cain was the Cross Country Runner of the Week. Neibert handed out 105 assists over six games, while Cain helped SHC to a sixth-place finish at the Mississippi College Invitational by finishing 17th out of 119 competitors.
Photo/ Courtesy Delta Bike Project – The Gears and Beers ride Nov. 11 raises money for bicycle-friendly infrastructure in and around Mobile.