Creating an urban bike culture – one ride (and race at a time): this is the goal of the Jackson Bike Advocates who held their first ever Jackson Bike Advocate’s Alley Cat Race this evening. The multi check point race had riders visiting Hal and Mal’s, Fenian’s, Old Tavern, The Hilton Garden/King Edward, Peaches Restaurant and the finish line, Sal & Mookie’s – in no particular order. JBA ride coordinator Jeff Goodwin said the savvy rider could do the course in about 7 miles but others may zig zag and treat it like a ‘pub crawl’ of sorts. Goodwin estimated the winner’s time at around 30 minutes and wasn’t too far off: Jeremy Polk, first place racer, did it in 27. The winning time earned him $200! Second place racer Wade Grant picked up $100 and third place racer and Fondren resident Michael Preston scored $50. The prize for ‘dead last’ was no morbid matter: Stephanie Miller earned $25.

Goodwin said the cycling culture is big in the rural areas with mountain biking being ‘enormous’. “We just need to create that awareness in the city”, he said, adding their monthly rides have seen 40-50 participants each time, much like the size of tonight’s crowd. The next JBA ride rolls out on August 26 at 6pm from the Rainbow Co Op parking lot in Fondren.

Drew Mellon contributed to this report