First Time Biking Over the East River Bridges? With the Right Help, It’s Easy

Photo: Kim Burgas

Shawneladee Cole is not what most people would consider an “avid” cyclist. So when e-mails on her Clinton Hill co-op listserv got heated as bike-share stations were installed this spring, Cole paid some attention, but it wasn’t until the blue bikes appeared in May that she thought she might want to give it a shot.

“I have a bike but it’s been in my closet for five years,” Cole said. She bought an annual Citi Bike membership and at first used it around her neighborhood and a little bit in Manhattan, but not to get between boroughs on the East River bridges.

Then on Sunday, she joined a ride organized by Citi Bike and NYC Biketrain, which coordinates scheduled rides so new bike commuters can try out routes with a group of more experienced riders. Sunday’s route went from Fort Greene to Stuyvesant Town, using bike lanes and paths on Flushing Avenue, Sands Street, the Manhattan Bridge, Allen Street, and First Avenue.

Before Sunday, Cole wasn’t sure how to access the Manhattan Bridge bike path. Now, she knows — and isn’t afraid of making the steady climb up the bridge’s incline, though she would like bike-share to bring stations closer to where she works in Williamsburg.

“Our goal is simply to get more people cycling by offering a friendly way to get on the road,” NYC Biketrain co-founder Kimberly Kinchen said in an e-mail. The group is looking to connect with large employers and develop outreach tools to make organizing rides easier. In the meantime, mark your calendars: NYC Biketrain is organizing another ride with Citi Bike on the evening of October 18. For details, follow NYC Biketrain on Twitter or check out the Citi Bike website as ride day approaches.