Last Sunday, a group of around 40 cyclists gathered at Community Park South for an extraordinarily pleasant cycle trip through the parks and green spaces of Princeton. The ride was the idea of Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert, and co-organized with the help of the Pedestrian and Bicycling Advisory Committee and Princeton Police.
Turnout was strong on a beautiful, sunny fall afternoon, as riders of all ages gathered for the family-paced ride. (Note- a grainy, shaky video is also available at the bottom of the page!)
After a couple of tours of the park, the group crossed Route 206 under the watchful eyes of Princeton’s local police, who stopped car traffic for a moment to let the cyclists pass. Thanks to the Police!!
Once across Route 206, the riders entered the beautiful surroundings of the Billy Johnson Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve. This 77 acre park includes beautiful forest surrounding a lake that was formerly used to supply the town with ice. In the center of the park stands Mountain Lakes House, a historic home that is now mostly used for wedding parties:
At Mountain Lakes House, hot cider, cookies and doughnuts were provided (thanks again to the PBAC members for organizing!). The riders took 20 or 30 minutes to relax:
Joining the party was Steve Cochrane, who will become Princeton School Board Superintendent this coming January. In addition to being an experienced educator, Mr Cochrane is also a competitive team cyclist, riding with the Mid Atlantic Masters Bicycle Organization (MAMBO Kings). Sounds like a guy we can trust to make sure appropriate attention is paid to making safe routes for kids to cycle to school! (as we know- more and more kids are getting driven to school these days).
Before the riders set off for the return journey to town, Steve Kruse, Chair of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee held a raffle for some free t-shirts for some lucky participants! PBAC organized the event, and are responsible for guiding municipal efforts to improve cycling and walking networks. They have open public meetings on the third Thursday of every month, they have a blog here and you can get added to their email list by contacting Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mayor Lempert congratulated the PBAC team for their recent success in gaining official Bronze Bike Friendly Community Certification for Princeton!
All in all, it was a really fun day out! It’s great that the Mayor is committed to making cycling something inclusive and normative in Princeton! For many people opting for a lifestyle with less car use, cycling is a key method of transportation as well as recreation. As Gil Penalosa put it “Cycling and walking are almost the same: both produce no toxic gases, both are silent, healthy and sustainable. Cycling is just like a more efficient form of walking”. Cycling also fits well with the Mayor’s goals of promoting sustainability and healthy living. Everybody seemed to have a good time, leaving us to wonder how soon before we can do it again?
P.S. More photos are available at the new ‘Bike Princeton’ Facebook page here.
Did you take part in the Mayor’s Bike Ride? Was it fun? What do you think should be done differently if we do it again? Leave your thoughts using the box below.