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May is Bike Month!

Time to dust off that old mountain bike or cruiser in the basement — May is Bike Month in New York City!  Bike Month includes hundreds of fun, mostly-free events, including group rides, art exhibitions, instructional classes, and speakers panels.  Whether you’re an everyday cyclist or haven’t bicycled in years, Bike Month is a great opportunity to investigate how to bike for transportation in the city, and to meet other environmentally-minded people.  Upper Green Side is helping organize a group bike ride on May First to help its members get to the Bike Month Launch Party in green style (details below).

Cycling for transportation is one the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint, keep fit and healthy, and get around town efficiently — all at the same time.  Cycling is on the rise, with some researchers putting the number of cyclists in the city at 236,000 per day in 2009 — a 28% increase over 2008.  Unfortunately the Upper East Side lags behind other Manhattan neighborhoods in cycling rates, according to census data in new study on cycling in New York City (see figure 3 on page 4 of pdf).  This is probably due to the lack of quality on-street bike lanes and off-street bike paths on the Upper East Side.  That should start to change later this year, when the Department of Transportation begins installation of almost nine miles of protected bicycle paths along First and Second Avenues.

Want to join with other cycling Green Siders, or find out why cycling is New York City’s fastest-growing mode of transportation?  This year, Upper Green Side and Transportation Alternative’s East Side Committee have joined forces to organize a group ride from the Upper East Side to a Bike Month Launch Party on May 1.  The party begins at 1:00 p.m., at New York City’s newest park, Brooklyn Bridge Park.  Once there, you can get free light bike repair from Recycle-A-Bicycle, register your bike with the NYPD to help identify it if it is stolen, enroll your child in a Learn-To Ride class from Bike New York, or attend a festival of cycling-themed film shorts reviewed here by the New York Times.  All free!

The East Side Ride to the Bike Month Launch Party will be a leisurely-paced ride suitable for families with children and for seniors, with experienced volunteer leaders and marshals to help keep it fun and safe for all.  The ride starts at the Central Park Boathouse at 11:00 am on May 1, makes a stop at 96th Street and Park Avenue at 11:30, and a final stop at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at 12:00 before heading south to the Brooklyn Bridge.  All of the details are included on this map.

View Bike Month Launch Party Feeder Ride Starts & Meet-Up Locations in a larger map

Plus the forecast is calling for a beautiful sunny day with highs in the 80s. Hope to see you there!