Making A Difference On Caffin Avenue
On Sunday, June 3rd the Caffin Ave. Seventh Day Adventist Church “MOB“ (Ministry On Bikes) held their 1st social bicycle ride of 4 miles through the Lower, Lower 9th Ward and Holy Cross Neighborhoods. Twenty four bike riders of different skill levels from beginners to advanced participated in the event. A highlight of the ride was a rest stop at the Bayou Bienvenue Observation Deck on Florida Avenue where the cyclists reflected on the negative effects of saltwater intrusion on what was once a vibrant Bald Cypress Marsh.
Church Community Service Coordinator Royliene Johnson has worked to organize the only “Free Bike Lending Program” in the Lower 9th Ward which promotes health, fitness and fun through cycling. It provides open bike access for anyone who wants to ride, featuring bi-weekly and extra special monthly rides with an emphasis on bicycle street safety, repair, maintenance and education. With the help of Tulane University who donated abandoned student bicycles and Bike Easy who held a bike maintenance pit stop event at the church during the 2018 Bike Easy Challenge, the program now has a fleet of bikes that are available to church members and neighborhood residents to get active, get healthy and get fit. Getting church groups involved in cycling was an element of focus during this year’s Bike Easy Challenge.
Bike Easy member Prahngar “Cookie” Draper a former resident of the neighborhood shared in leading the ride. Royliene said, “He provided us with lots of information to make our future rides safe, successful, but most of all fun. His direct knowledge from growing up in the Lower 9 as he guided us on observations of the wetland area brought even more awareness to an area of the Lower 9th Ward that many of us never knew about. We are thankful for his participation.”
Cheerleaders, hydration, healthy snacks and shade greeted the bike riders on their return to the church grounds and the riders were readily looking forward to the next event.
Written by Cookie Draper