Photo by Madison Miller.
Adieu, Bike Lady
Bobbie Jean Bailey bikes near her house Peachtree Street before moving to Virginia at the end of last month.
For most Mountain Brook residents, it’s hard to imaging getting around without a car, but Bobbie Jean Bailey has managed to live here for 46 years and even raise a family without one. She never even got a driver’s license.
“I always liked riding a bike,” Bailey said. “After I saw how other people drive, I didn’t want to be out there with that.”
Even people who don’t know Bailey know her as the “Bike Lady” who rides around Mountain Brook. The staff at Piggly Wiggly look forward to her coming in to shop.
“The people up at the Pig are having a fit,” Bailey said. “I have two totes on the side of my bike. They get a kick out of helping me load them up.”
Bailey moved to Roanoke, Va. at the end of June to be closer to family. However,she lived in Mountain Brook for most of her life. Originally from Virginia, she and her husband, Russell, moved to New York City and then relocated to Birmingham in 1966.
Their three children, Laura, Russell and Reid, grew up here and went to CrestlineElementary, MBJH and MBHS.
Since her husband passed away seven years ago, Bailey has been adjusting to living on her own. Her home is filled with handmade projects she has crafted over the years. She has always enjoyed crafts and sewing.
“I knit, I sew, I made clothes for the children when they were little,” Bailey said.
Bailey said that her homemade hobbies are part of why she prefers biking over driving. She likes to stay close to home.
“I’m such a stay-at-home kind of person,” she said.
Bailey will miss a lot about Mountain Brook and the Birmingham area, including living where she is known.When she rides past the Crestline playground, the neighborhood kids come up and hug her. They all know the bike lady.
“I won’t have that in Virginia. They’re not used to me yet,” Bailey said.
Although she will miss parts of livinghere, Bailey is ready to move.“At this age, it makes sense to be closer to family,” she said.
One thing she will not, however, miss is riding her bike in Alabama’s heat and humidity: “My gravesite is here, so I’ll have to come back for that. I hope they put a fan in my coffin.”