Mixolo wants you to get to know (and love) Baltimore, one unique neighborhood at a time.
On a sunny (and dry) summer morning, a dozen or so cyclists – some on 10-speeds from their high school days, some on swanky city hybrids and others on skinny-tire road bikes replete with toe clips and rearview mirrors–met up at Union Square Park in the Southwest Baltimore neighborhood where prominent journalist and satirist H.L. Mencken spent his childhood.
After signing waivers and claiming their new Mixolo-branded water bottles, the group set off to explore seven adjoining Baltimore neighborhoods–including two cultural attractions and one of Baltimore’s famous food halls–with stops for both breakfast and lunch along the way.
“Southwest Baltimore is one of the most historic parts of a historic city,” says Penny Troutner, owner of Light Street Cycles and tour leader. “When you bike you get to slow down and interact with people.”
Participants chatted along the rambling 6-mile ride, getting to know one another while at the same time, gaining a new perspective on a slice of Charm City that some hadn’t previously paid much attention to.
Mixolo’s “Love the City You’re With” bike tour through Southwest Baltimore–also known as SOWEBO–could serve as a metaphor for the essence of Mixolo itself, a company whose mission is to bring people together to enjoy the things they love (no plus-one required). The event shone a light on the rich diversity of what Carolyn Lynch, Mixolo founder and CEO, calls one of the city’s “unsung neighborhoods.” In other words, along with meeting new people, participants had a chance to make friends with a new place. “It’s a part of Baltimore that is uniquely beautiful and diverse in its attractions,” Lynch says.
The cycling tour began and ended with food–starting with Culinary Architecture’s tantalizing breakfast spread and steaming coffee, and ending at the historic Hollins Market. At the B&O Railroad Museum and the Mt. Clare Estate in Carroll Park, Mixolo guests were treated to private tours that underscored the significance of the area, exploring the birthplace of American railroading as well as the carefully restored 1760 home of one of Maryland’s leading patriots, Charles Carroll.
To organize the ride, Mixolo partnered with the Southwest Partnership, a group comprising SOWEBO residents and business owners committed to maintaining a vibrant, cohesive and diverse community. Curtis Eaddy II, the group's marketing and events coordinator, played an integral role in getting community leaders involved, like Ivan Leshinsky, active resident of the the beautiful and historic Union Square neighborhood and founder of the youth-centered Southwest Sports Alliance. Ivan and his wife Babette joined our pack as de facto tour guides of their beloved SOWEBO.
Jordan Fleck, who attended the event as a docent on behalf of the partnership for our walking tour of the Hollins Market district, says that he was enthralled by the tour. Even people who already live here, he says, “have no idea how important their area of the city has been in building this city and this country. Southwest Baltimore isn't simply a location, but a meaningful place.”
This is part of Mixolo’s mission, says Lynch. “While Mixolo is about helping facilitate connections between people,” she points out, “The byproduct is connecting people to our city’s businesses and attractions in a new engaging way.”