TUPELO • On your marks, get set, go.

The all-new Downtown Tupelo Bike Gang may be only two weeks into their mission, but they’re already miles ahead.

“The goal is to enjoy our growing, cool downtown area,” said Meredith Martin, the group’s organizer. “To get out of the house and do something different, to support downtown businesses as we gather at different spots each ride. This group is more social than anything. Our rides are really slow rolls.”

The inaugural trek saw more than 20 citizens cycle along the downtown Tupelo area, and the group is hoping for more.

“Anyone interested should definitely join our Facebook group page, Downtown Tupelo Bike Gang, where information is posted about group rides, downtown events, bike maintenance, etc.,” Martin said. “We also have representation in our group from local bike shops, Core and Trails and Treads, which is a huge help with bike-related questions since most of the gang are recreational riders that may not have been on a bike for years.”

Martin and others formulated the recreational activity after discussions with the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association installed bike racks in the area.

“This project, funded by a grant from Quality of Life, was completed recently but I hadn’t yet seen many people riding their bikes downtown or using the new bike racks,” Martin said. “Offhandedly I said, ‘Well, I guess I need to start a Downtown Tupelo Bike Gang,’ and the rest is history.

“There was already a core group of fun people living in Mill Village and surrounding downtown areas. This group embraced the idea, began telling their friends, and overnight the gang sprang to life.”

Martin had shirts designed through Tupelo Screen Printing and within a few hours, all were sold.

“It quickly became obvious that flair was going to be very important with this group,” she said. “New and old bikes can be seen decked out with handlebar baskets, honking horns, wheel lights, handlebar streamers … you will definitely see and hear this group coming.”

While the group’s first outing was a free-for-all, Martin said the Facebook page will have info for forthcoming meet-ups.

“We learned after our inaugural ride that it will be best to post the route in advance for all future events,” Martin said. “All information will be posted there.”

Martin said that the majority of the group’s members live and work in the downtown area, but that’s not a requirement.

“If you don’t use it, you lose it,” Martin said. “Tupelo is growing at a rapid pace and it’s exciting to see the expansion of downtown specifically. DTBG is just one small way to gather people together and enjoy downtown.”

derek.russell@journalinc.com Twitter: @wderekrussell

Features, arts and entertainment reporter for Daily Journal.

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