Pedal east, Brooklynites!
More than 100 cyclists jumped on two-wheelers in East New York on Saturday for a 20-mile trek to Jamaica Bay and back that showcased the thrill of traveling the borough by bicycle to participants and passersby alike, according to a local rider.
“A group of cyclists who are mostly people of color riding through the streets of Brooklyn is not something I see on a regular basis,” said Nic Bullitt, who lives in Midwood. “And it was really great to see the community so supportive of us.”
Roughly 120 people came out for the fifth-annual Bike East event, for which pedal pushers hopped on cycles at Linden Park and rode on to the Jamaica Bay Greenway, a 19-mile bike path spanning Brooklyn and Queens that circles the body of water and connects to green spaces including Canarsie Park and the federally managed Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge — a natural preserve new to Bullitt, she said.
“I didn’t even know it existed until recently,” Bullitt said. “It felt good to be able to explore the parts of the city that I don’t normally visit.”
Participants concluded their nearly two-hour tour right where they started, returning to the Vermont Street park where the day’s organizers, who included leaders of dance school Purelements and members of cycling-advocacy group The Brown Bike Girl, staged activities that included a free concert by local band The Experi3nce.
But Bullitt said the highlights of her day were promoting bike-riding as part of an active lifestyle to residents of East New York and Brownsville — both deserts when it comes to the public Citi Bike rental program, which currently has no docks in either neighborhood — and watching residents embrace the pursuit.
“Events like this are important because they’re a great avenue for health and being active,” she said. “But a moment that really stuck was seeing people on the street cheering us on,” she said.