On the last Friday of every month between April and October, the Newburgh Transportation Advisory Committee hosts a critical mass bike ride. They have been doing so for the past four years, and even now with the COVID-19 pandemic, they are asking for those to come out and join them.
In fact, it is a great activity that allows for social distancing and safety. With less people working out at the gym, bicycling is the perfect form of exercise.
The last critical mass bike ride of the season is being held on Friday, October 30 – with a Halloween theme! Anyone in the community with a bicycle is invited to come out, dress up in their favorite Halloween costume and get riding. Don’t forget a helmet.
All bicyclists who are interested should meet at Liberty Street Bistro, located at 97 Liberty Street, at 5 p.m.
You might be wondering, what exactly is a critical mass bike ride? It is an “organic bike ride through the city’s main thoroughfares and side streets, en masse.”
The group bike ride is a way to encourage making the streets safer for all modes of transportation. While it is a way to bring attention to shared road safety, it also allows those to explore the city and meet neighbors.
The critical mass bike ride is huge in cities across the country like Portland, Seattle and New York City with hundreds gathering for the event.
“Newburgh is an interesting city where there is a new influx of people and a large portion of locals who have been here for ages, and they don’t always mix,” said Bobby Szeli, who has been participating in the critical mass bike rides for three years now. “I think a critical mass is useful to get those groups to come together.”
The bike ride isn’t rigidly planned. Once everyone has met at the location, someone calls out a landmark in the city and they get riding. The ride is anywhere between 45 to 60 minutes.
You don’t have to be an experienced cyclist either. Everyone comes out with different kinds of bikes and they all go at their own pace.
“Some people show up with expensive bikes that they’ve ridden across the entire country and others show up with a bike they’ve maybe taken around the block a few times,” said Szeli. “The whole goal is to interact and experience the city and see things you typically wouldn’t in a car because you’re driving too fast.”
While the Halloween themed bike ride is the last of the season, it is a way to encourage people to come out and join again next year.
“Newburgh is a beautiful, bikeable city,” said Naomi Hersson-Ringskog, who is a member of the Transportation Advisory Commitee. “The Transportation Advisory Committee has a number of initiatives to make the city safer and more enjoyable for bicyclists. I am really looking forward to 2021.”