Aug. 12, 2015 By Michael Florio
A group of bicyclists calling for more bike lanes in western Queens is launching a monthly bike ride to take advantage of the culture and arts on offer in the district.
This month’s bike ride will focus on food—and is being called the Queens Bike Food Tour—where participants will ride to Astoria and try several Astoria eateries.
Future rides are likely to go into different neighborhoods and focus on art or other subjects of interest.
The food tour is scheduled to begin at 10:30 am on August 29, starting at the Northwest corner of Travers Park, on 77th Street.
The ride will go to Astoria Park, where participants will have a short picnic. Riders will stop at several bakeries and restaurants along the way, according to Queens Bike member and event-organizer Yi-Ling Tan.
“We will make at least three or four stops so people can buy food for the picnic,” Tan said.
Tan said she is still reaching out to the vendors and restaurants to ensure the group can stop by. She hopes to have a route finalized next week that includes a number of stops.
Participants will go around Astoria Park and are expected to return to Travers Park at 1 pm.
Tan said she decided to organize the ride to help emphasize the need for bike lanes to connect the neighborhoods in western Queens. The ride also provides the Queens Bike Initiative with insight as to where the bike lanes are most needed.
“We wanted a fun and safe way to bring people together,” Tan said. “It helps us get to know the neighborhood and spread awareness of the need for bike lanes.”
Tan is expecting more than 20 riders to show up.
The group held a ride through the district last month and had 15 people participate. However, she expects the turnout to be larger now that they are using social media to spread the word.
Tan plans to hold a ride monthly, with a different theme each month.
“Next month it may be art focused,” she said. “This allows us to explore different aspects of the neighborhoods and go on different routes.”
She plans on hosting these events throughout the fall and winter- depending on the weather.
The Queens Bike Initiative, which is calling for bike lanes that connect the parks of western Queens together, met with Councilman Daniel Dromm this month.
The group plans to meet with the Council members who represent Astoria, Sunnyside and Elmhurst in the coming weeks.
Members plan to present their proposal to Community Boards 1, 2 and 3 next month.
The group has collected more than 1,200 signatures in support of the proposal to date and is still looking to add more.