What began as a way for friends to get together safely in the midst of the pandemic has quickly blossomed into so much more.
Every Thursday, the Santa Clarita Valley Mobo Bikers and More, a group of adults with special needs, get together to ride their Mobos and shoot hoops. A Mobo is a low-slung, three-wheeled bike.
Since the group began early this year, they’ve strengthened friendships and social skills and have created an everlasting bond — for both the boys and their parents and/or caregivers.
“They’re a group of just awesome young guys,” mother Debbie Hernandez said. “It’s a pretty healthy support group for everybody. COVID has been tough, especially on these guys who don’t understand why their programs are shut down and why they can’t go see their friends.”
The group began when Hernandez’s son Matthew began riding his Mobo with Riley Bowers, as Riley got a Mobo for Christmas and wouldn’t ride unless Matthew rode with him.
The group has grown to eight core members, which includes Riley and Matthew, along with Daniel Waters, Micah Molacek, Andrew Ramos, Ryan Schubert, Casey Gilruth and Sam Heyrat, who now meet for various activities through the week.
Many of them grew up together and have used the weekly gathering as a way to reconnect and support one another.
“Each young man as they’ve joined the group has purchased their own Mobo bike, and they all love them,” Hernandez added.
In October, the group even created a scarecrow entry for the city of Santa Clarita’s Scarecrow Alley, winning first place.
“It’s all about getting them socializing,” Micah’s mother Frances Molacek said. “This is encouraging them to speak up because it’s a safe (space).”
Molacek has seen a change in her son, who is now talking much more.
“They’re learning to really encourage each other,” Molacek added. “It’s fun to watch them.”
They’ve even created some non-verbal communication among themselves, Hernandez noted.
Riley’s caregiver Don McKetchnie has also seen a change in him, adding, “It has brought him out of his funk, out of this shell. It’s been great for him.”
SCV Mobo Bikers and More is open to anyone to join. The group meets at 11 a.m. Thursdays at the outdoor basketball area of the Santa Clarita Sports Complex, located at 20780 Centre Pointe Parkway, where parents and/or caregivers are required to be present. For more information, visit https://bit.ly/SCVMoboBikersandMore.