Community Bike Ride this Saturday

The leaves have begun to change and the paths throughout Princeton are painted by the crisp strokes of oranges, golds and reds. In its fourth year this Saturday, Mayor Liz Lempert will lead the Community Bike Ride, aptly titled “The Ride of the Falling Leaves.” No matter your skill level, Lempert and the Princeton Pedestrian Bicyclist Advisory Committee invite their fellow residents to enjoy a beautiful bike ride through a beautiful town.

“Nothing beats riding your bike on a beautiful trail on a picture perfect fall day in Princeton. It’s fun! There are so many great places to ride in Princeton,” Lempert said. “The idea behind the community ride is to introduce folks to a trail they might not know about and whet their appetite for more.”

Lempert explained the ride was established to encourage use of recreational bike paths and to demonstrate how much fun riding can be. . It starts at the Community Park fields, then goes up Mountain Avenue and winds through Mountain Lakes Preserve with a stop at the Mountain Lakes House for cider and donuts. This year, the mayor and committee have added an optional extension for those who want to ride a bit further.

The ride will be at 1 p.m. this Saturday. Participants can meet at the Community Park south parking lot near the tennis courts.  The famil friendly excursion is a total of 3.5 miles, flat and mostly off-road. The optional extension totals about 7.5 miles, some of which is uphill. The committee asks participants to wear their helmets, as they are mandatory for the ride.

“The Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee first organized the ride a few years ago to raise awareness about both the existence of the Ped-Bike Committee and the important work that they do,” Lempert said.

The volunteer committee is run by Princeton residents and municipal staff. Some of their accomplishments have included the installation of “sharrows,” the road markings placed on certain streets around Princeton to help establish the safest paths to ride and to remind drivers to be cognizant of cyclists. The committee was also honored as a “Bicycle Friendly Community” by the League of American Bicyclists in 2013.

In addition to spreading awareness for a “share the road” mentality, Lempert believes the ride also just provides “an excuse for families to come out and enjoy Princeton by bike.” Lempert is an avid cyclist who encourages her community to be a bike-friendly one.

“There are a lot of great reasons to ride a bike — it helps reduce greenhouse emissions by cutting down on car usage, it’s good exercise and you don’t have to pay for parking or spend a lot of time searching for a parking spot,” Lempert said. “But one of the most compelling reasons to ride a bike is that it’s fun, and a community bike ride helps remind all of us of the simple joys of riding a bike.

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About Erica Chayes Wida

Erica Chayes Wida is a writer, mom, and complete zealot when it comes to poetry, paella and globe collections. After graduating with a degree in Anthropology from UCLA, Erica moved to Italy where the seasons and old architecture inspired her journey back to the East Coast. Since then, she and her husband have created a nest egg locally and, over time, developed a rather grand love affair with the town of Princeton. Erica is senior editor at The Princeton Sun and enjoys fulfilling her Princeton affections on a daily basis. | View all posts by Erica Chayes Wida