There is a growing gang of bikers that hits the streets of Charlotte each week, but it isn’t your typical gang of leather-clad riders.
The Plaza Midwood Tuesday Night Ride is more of a community ride for biking enthusiasts. They meet at Common Market each week for a 15 mile ride.
Organizer Pam Murray says she started riding for entertainment. “I just wanted to ride around because it looked fun, so I ride everywhere, every day. I only drive my car to take my kids places, because they’re all so lazy.”
Murray decides on the location for the group, and is the only one who knows the bike route. There’s usually one stop at a Bicycle Benefits business member’s location, which offers discounts/rewards to cyclists.
“No one knows where they’re going, except for me. We go to different Bike Benefits locations every week to try and support those local businesses.”
There are about 100 riders on warm nights, but Murray rides rain or shine. They ride about 10 miles out where they’ll make a stop for refreshments before heading back to the Common Market.
Murray thinks the health benefits are endless. “There are people who have lost hundreds of pounds riding their bikes around.”
Pel Deal is a regular attendee. He adds, “My blood pressure is good. It makes me happy, the air is clean. It’s exercise, but it doesn’t feel like exercise.”
However, Murray’s main goal is to help people get more comfortable riding in the Queen City.
“Most of these people wouldn’t be riding tonight, but if we all come together and ride together, then they feel safer.
“As they feel safer riding together and they build confidence, then they can ride by themselves at other times.”
Deal says, “One of the reasons that I like doing this ride is because there are all different kinds of riders. We’ve had people that are 14, all the way up into their 70s doing this ride.”
“There are all different kinds of riders, all different socio-economic groups … but we all are united by cycling.”
You can join the ride any Tuesday night by meeting up with the cyclers at Common Market in Plaza Midwood before 8 p.m.
For updates and more information, visit the group’s Facebook page.