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40-Mile Bike Tour Showcases Green Brooklyn

Close to one thousand people will mount their bikes on July 27 to make the 40-mile journey between the Newtown Creek Barge in Greenpoint and Rockaway Beach.

The aptly titled, Epic Ride, is returning for a sixth year running.

The annual event invites cyclists to ride along the currently-under-construction, 14-mile long Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway that is being developed along Brooklyn’s waterfront between Greenpoint and Bay Ridge.

Five miles of the project are already complete, and this year riders will get a glimpse of some of the newest additions to the Greenway including naval cemetery landscape at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the completed first phase of the Columbia Waterfront Park, new infrastructure along Van Brunt Street in Red Hook, and post-Hurricane Sandy repairs along the Shore Park Greenway in Bay Ridge.

“The Epic is the quintessential mid-summer bike ride around the entire Brooklyn waterfront and ending up on the beach where many riders cool off with a plunge into the Atlantic,” said Milton Puryear, one of the three founders of Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (BGI), the non-profit organization behind the bicycling event as well as the creation of the Greenway. “The feel of the ride is relaxed and collegial and ‘of the people’. Riders get to move at their preferred pace with a fast and a moderate group starting sequentially at the beginning.”

BGI has worked for the past decade with public agencies, private owners, local community boards, civic organizations, and elected officials, stewarding the project, and spearheading the construction.

Making this year’s Epic Ride unique is that BGI is seeking certification from the Council for Responsible Sport, which certifies events that have a strong social value while reducing their environmental impact. The TD 5Boro Bike Tour, and the Chicago Marathon have received similar certifications. If approved, The Epic Ride will be the first sustainable Brooklyn-based sporting event, according to BGI.

“We are excited to put into motion this new dimension of ‘green’ practices for The Epic Ride this year,” said Brian McCormick, one of the other founders of BGI. “Through these efforts and by example we have a renewed commitment to reduce our carbon footprint.”

Once complete, the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway will serve as a landscaped route for pedestrians, runners and cyclists. BGI was able to get $20 million in federal funding for the project, and at present the city’s Department of Transportation has identified 23 capital projects ranging in budgets from $1 million to $20 million to build along the Greenway.

The five miles of the Greenway already in place include Kent Avenue, Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the northern end of Van Brunt Street.
Four new segments of the Greenway are currently under construction.

The Epic Ride also allows riders to see the potential of what the combination of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway and the Jamaica Bay Greenway might look like, the latter of which covers areas beyond Bay Ridge and parts of Queens.

Riders not quite committed to make the 40-mile can also participate in alternate routes of 26 miles, and 14 miles respectively.

The Epic Ride, Sunday, July 27, to buy tickets and register visit http://www.brooklyngreenway.org/event/the-epic-ride/ to find out detailed rules about participating and the event visit http://www.brooklyngreenway.org/bgi/wp-content/uploads/The-Epic-Ride-Guide-2014.pdf.

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