Biking in Brookhaven

“There are a lot of great parks that we didn’t know about,” says nine year old Lila B., describing her experience riding a bike to all 15 Brookhaven parks during the Brookhaven Bike Alliance’s (BBA) “Brookhaven Parks Bike Challenge.”  Lila and eight year old Alex W. are among the youngest of the 17 Gold Award winners.  “It’s really fun and there are a lot of hills!” says Lila.

Brookhaven wants to become a Bicycle-Friendly Community so, as part of that effort, the Brookhaven Bike Alliance created a new event to expand bike-riding in Brookhaven.  Altogether, an estimated 100 participants pedaled over 1,000 miles during the month of May in their pursuit of Gold, Silver and Bronze status.  Explore Brookhaven furnished branded prizes for the winners.

The event was born out of Brookhaven Bike Alliance’s inability to host its annual “Pedal the Parks” day in April due to the COVID pandemic. “Pedal the Parks” attracts a large group of riders to a single start and finish point.  Riders can then ride from park to park with a perk in each park provided by a sponsoring community organization. Bringing together a large group on a set day was not possible this year, though the need for outdoor activity is clearly greater than ever. Thus, the Brookhaven Bike Alliance’s new event that kept the focus on Brookhaven’s parks but allowed people to ride to them any time in the month of May. Riders logged their rides via a dedicated Brookhaven Parks Bike Challenge contest app.

For this event, participants documented their park visits with selfie photos, and weekly prizes were given for the most creative shots. An after-event questionnaire showed enthusiasm for doing it again next year and suggested participation will grow as riders encourage their friends and neighbors to get on a bike and give it a try.

“We could not have wished for a better outcome, we had cyclists from many levels and ages join the challenge, ranging from kids to seniors, from experienced to those discovering the joy of cycling for the first time” says Marjon Manitius from the Brookhaven Bike Alliance. “We already have ideas on how to make it even more fun next year!”. When a pandemic slows life down, new activities spring up. Bikes, parks and Brookhaven—what a perfect combination!