Skip the spin classes and get your buns on a real bicycle — Bike Month is finally here! And while the cold and damp may not yet feel like biking season (sorry, Five Boro Tourists), now’s the time to get back in the saddle and into cycling shape. If you need some extra motivation to start rolling, May has a load of bike-related events that’ll get you pumped to pump pedals.
There are hundreds of non-culturally appropriated events planned. To make it a little easier for you, we’re listing the must-dos for this month. Check out the lineup below.
National Bike Month Kickoff Party & Mythbusting
May 3, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Brooklyn Bicycle Co. and Transportation Alternatives are hosting a cycling shindig tonight at Pencilworks in Greenpoint (61 Greenpoint Ave., sixth floor). Head up there to get free food and drink, get silly in a photo booth, and learn more about biking myths in the city. Everyone who RSVPs and attends gets a chance to win a free bicycle!
Bike the Branches
Saturday May 7, 10am – 5pm (Ride)
3pm – 7pm (Bike the Branches Block Party)
If you’re looking to participate in a massive ride and help out a good cause, then you’d better take part in the Brooklyn Public Library’s Bike the Branches ride this Saturday. Riders will get a Branch Passport they’ll get stamped at every branch they visit. Prizes, like free bikes, gift certificates and bike swag, go to those who visit the most branches. (Last year’s winner got 40 stamps!)
New this year are guided rides leaving from the Central Library throughout the day. So you don’t die of hunger, four of the branches will play host to Smorgasburg vendors. It’s not all trekking around the borough for stamps: there’s a huge block party at the Central Branch at 3pm with food, music and lots more. Individuals, families, and teams can register for various fees, and proceeds will go to support the Brooklyn Public Library.
Brooklyn Critical Mass
May 8, 7pm, meet at Grand Army Plaza, FREE
Anyone who’s spent time biking the streets of New York knows that there’s a certain enmity between cyclists and motorists. That can give new bikers pause, especially when venturing out on the roads alone for the first time. In steps (er, rides) Brooklyn Critical Mass, a monthly group ride through the streets of Brooklyn. Whether you want to assert your rights to the road or simply travel with a group to get your courage up, Critical Mass is for you.
Bike Riding IRL
May 10, 6:30pm – 8:30pm, FREE
Want to know what it’s really like to bike the New York streets? Brooklyn Bike Co. is bringing together four veteran cyclists to talk about their experiences riding in the alleys and avenues of our fair city… and the rest of the country. Jeffery Tanenhaus, that maniac who rode (or stole?) a Citibike across America last year, is one of the speakers. Since these people are awesome, you’ll get a chance to win a free bike just for attending! RSVP here.
Brooklyn Bike Rave
May 14, 7pm – 10pm, $37.92–$53.74
Of all the Bike Month events, this looks the wackiest. Attendees are going to trick out their rides with glow sticks, LEDs, and other flashy paraphernalia for a seven-mile ride of the entire Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. Bring portable speakers and a phone, because Newtown Radio is supplying tunes which everyone’s going to be streaming on the ride. This glitzy convoy will look like an electric second line on ecstasy, so you’d better bring out the bike bling and the crazy costumes to boot. Register here and make your bike cray!
Free Coffee and Snacks for National Bike to Work Day
May 20, Morning
Transportation Alternatives is bringing back their immensely popular bridge pit stops for National Bike to Work Day. Two-wheeled commuters can pick up free coffee and snacks on the East River bridges and the George Washington Bridge, simply for not being a car. There are also free giveaways, too! Just make sure you let the coffee cool before pushing off (and maybe say thanks by becoming a TransAlt member).
Brooklyn Guided Bike Rides
Every Wednesday and Saturday, May-October
Something cool popped up in our tips box: The Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation and CitiBike are teaming up to run FREE guided tours of Brooklyn twice a week from May to October! Each route will be different and will stop at neighborhood locales, farmer’s markets, and more. If you want to want to see more of Brooklyn, going by bike is the only way to do it. No, Citibikes are not required. The entire May schedule is here.
Have fun and, as mom always said, wear your helmet!
Follow Conal, who always uses proper hand signals while turning: @ConalDarcy.