Third annual Brooklyn biking odyssey draws crowd

Nearly 300 cyclists took to the streets forthe third annualBrooklyn Waterfront Epic Ride-a 40-mile bike-a-thon through adesignated route from Greenpoint around southwest Brooklyn toRockaway Beach in Queens that highlights the Brooklynwaterfront.

Riders of all ages and skill levels met at Newtown Creek toembark on the July 30th adventure, with helmets, sunglasses, fluidsand a fierce determination to conquer, but yet embrace theexperience.

Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (BGI) created the event toillustrate the possibilities of the Brooklyn Greenway, the 14-milewalk and bike path from Greenpoint to Sunset Park that connects tothe Shore Road path and forms a route around the borough.

Since the late ‘90s, BGI has worked coordination with variousorganizations and NYC departments to make the Greenway areality.

Assemblymember Joseph Lentol, a supporter of the Greenwaygreeted riders, noting,Hopefully, after we finish thisinitiative, we’ll have more, because cycling is definitely the wayof the future.

Andy Hsu, a participant from Cobble Hill, said he was excitedabout the Greenway because it enhanced riding in Brooklyn.

One thing I notice about riding around Brooklyn was that thereare a lot of times when you are on these scary roads, Hsuremarked. I like riding along the bay near the Verrazano and thenwhat they have done with the Brooklyn Bridge Park, and all thesegreat areas, but none of them are connected. It’s great to see whatthe potential is for all these parts to be connected.

The event was more fun for friends and family than competitive,and many just enjoyed seeing amazing vistas that many Brooklyniteshardly take time to appreciate such as the Manhattan skyline, theBrooklyn, Manhattan and Verrazano Bridges, the Brooklyn Navy Yardand various parks, piers and sandy beaches.

Along the path, there were also rest stops, and at the halfwaypoint, Aviator Sports in Floyd Bennett Field, cyclists receivedenergy drinks and power bars to help them continue.

As the herd of riders barreled down the path,parts of which werenot fully complete, cyclists, runners and skaters could be seenusing the path.

To bike lane activist Bob Cassara, the event was fun and trulyshowed the beauty of the Brooklyn waterfront.

I haven’t had as much fun since I was a teenager. You get tosee things on a bike that you don’t see when you’re in a car, saidCassara. He also noted that the path was connected pretty well.There are some rough patches here and there, but all and all, Idon’t think it was bad.

When cyclists finally reached the finish line, they were treatedto music from a band stationed on the beach, where they could baskin the sun and their own sense of accomplishment.

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