Slice of Life

Cycle in the City takes bikers through downtown Syracuse and local neighborhoods

Daily Orange File Photo

One Sunday a month Cycle in the City hosts a 10-mile ride and a 15- to 20-mile ride. The 10-mile ride is easier while the 15- to 20-mile ride is for people to go farther and faster.

Although National Bike Month has passed, Syracuse bikers can still enjoy a group-ride each month, from now through October with Cycle in the City.

Started in 2010, Cycle in the City was part of the “Eat Well Play Hard Community Projects” with help from a grant provided by the Gifford Foundation.

“Most people keep coming back,” Bob Dougherty, a Cycle in the City organizer, said. “They look forward to what the rides are going to be. We’ve got over 200 people on our mailing list. We send out an email every month telling people not only where we’re going, but what the ride’s going to be like.”

One Sunday at 9 a.m. each month, the group has a 10-mile ride and a 15- to 20-mile ride. Dougherty said the 10-mile ride is an easier ride that has some novice and also older riders, and the 15- to 20-mile ride is for people to go farther and faster.

The group’s next ride is Father’s Day, June 18 on the Onondaga Creekwalk trail beginning at its trailhead — the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology in Armory Square.

John Allen, another Cycle in the City organizer, plans the routes which include the Creekwalk and the Connective Corridor.

“The sole purpose is to provide an opportunity for people to participate in a relatively low key bicycle ride,” Allen said in an email. “I’m 77, ride a hybrid bike and lead the longer ride, which is an indication that it is a fairly relaxed ride.”

Dougherty said when Cycle in the City began, it was a one-day event that had 138 people ride four or five miles in downtown Syracuse guided by police. It was a cooperative project between Onondaga County Health Department, Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation & Youth Programs, Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council, Syracuse Police Department, The Gifford Foundation and b.i.k.e.-Syracuse.

After the first two years of the one-day event, Dougherty and a few other organizers created the idea of the monthly bike rides from May to October. In 2012, the group of 20 to 30 riders rode 10-miles each month, Dougherty said. This past May’s ride had around 50 riders.

“That was really pushing our limits,” Dougherty said. “We did a 10-mile ride the first year, then we figured that people have all different abilities.”

The routes are on Sunday mornings because traffic is less hectic, and Allen plans the routes to be in a different Syracuse neighborhood each month, like Strathmore, Sedgwick, Eastside, Westside, and North side.

Dougherty hopes when the final part of the Connective Corridor, the Pacific Strip, is finished, the bikers will be able to use the bike lanes and street improvements for some of the monthly trails.


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