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More than 2,000 bike riders coming to bike-hating Bay Ridge

Brooklyn Daily
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Get ready, Bay Ridge — 2,000 bicyclists will be pedaling your way this Sunday.

Tour de Brooklyn organizers have added bike-hating Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst to the ride’s 21.5 mile route in an attempt to show how fun free-wheeling through Southern Brooklyn can be.

“We want to get people to come out and demonstrate the connectivity of neighborhoods by bicycle,” said Ben McRoberts, who planned the route for Transportation Alternatives, the bicycle advocacy group organizing the annual ride.

Civic leaders from car-clogged Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst have repeatedly fought plans to put bike lanes on Bay Ridge Parkway and Shore Road, but some bicycling enthusiasts hope that seeing 4,000 wheels spinning by will soften residents’ anti-spoke stance.

“It’s important for people see it, and get interested in bicycling,” said Bob Cassara, who was reportedly kicked off Community Board 10 last year because he supported the Bay Ridge Parkway bike lane. “It’s where the city’s going.”

Even long-time bike lane critic and CB10 member Allen Bortnick embraced the massive bike ride — although he still opposes bike lanes on major avenues.

“Let them have their day,” said Bortnick, who will be watching the tour from the window of his Shore Road apartment. “I just want them to keep their bike paths away from where they don’t belong.”

Starting from Commodore Barry Park in Fort Greene, a 10 mile-per-hour column of bike riders will roll through Park Slope and Sunset Park along Fourth Avenue to 68th Street, where they will turn and ride the entire length of Shore Road before pumping back up to Fourth Avenue as they head toward Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst. Riders will also roll through Midwood and Kensington as they make their way back to Fort Greene.

Riders will stop and rest at Dyker Beach Park — the tour’s halfway point.

Yet some Bay Ridge residents aren’t happy with the Tour de Brooklyn’s route.

Elliot Rudy, who lives off Shore Road, complained that major bike events were happening far too frequently in Bay Ridge. The Five Boro Bike Tour rolled through Bay Ridge in May and bicyclists participating in the Brooklyn Waterfront Epic Bike Tour will again wend its way down Shore Road on July 30.

“I don’t mind the occasional bike going down the street,” Rudy said. “But the less we have of these big tours, the better.”

Tour de Brooklyn will kick off at Commodore Barry Park [Nassau Street between Navy Street and N. Elliot Place in Fort Greene; www.tourdebrooklyn.org] on June 3 at 10 am. Rider check-in opens at 8 am.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at (718) 260–4507 or e-mail him at wbredderman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/WillBredderman
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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