Urban cycling group tours Austin

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Cyclists from around the city gathered at Austin’s Columbus Park Saturday to explore the neighborhood.

The group of eight toured close to 10 miles of Austin’s parks and redeveloping commercial and middle-class residential areas, including the AIDS mural and Austin Town Hall.

The bike ride was part of an initiative by the urban cycling group Red, Bike and Green to create a sustainable black bike culture in cities like Oakland, Atlanta and Chicago.

Chicago chapter co-founder Eboni Hawkins said she hopes the ride through Austin will dispel the neighborhood’s reputation for being dangerous and show the neighborhood’s beauty.

“I really enjoy Austin so far after doing research and route planning,” she said. “I look forward to a longer relationship with Austin.”

The organization is trying to get the word out online, said Hawkins, and she hopes people in Austin see them riding and get excited enough to join them on their next ride.

This is Red, Bike and Green’s first event in Austin, and Hawkins said she looks forward to a long relationship with the community.

They normally work with a local bike shop, but there are no bike shops in Austin, said Hawkins.

The lack of a bike shop in the community proposes a challenge because one of the barriers to the success of the program is that people who might be interested don’t own a bike, she said.

Bobby Mitchell, who lives on the border of Oak Park and Austin, has been cycling since he was 17.

The now 58-year-old said he thinks Red, Bike and Green has a great mission to get more African-Americans on bicycles.

“It can be an outlet for some of the youth to see and think they can do it too,” he said.

Check out the photos here.

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