Brooklynites Bike the Branches

May 19, 2014 Editorial Staff
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Last year the first annual Bike the Branches event saw just over 400 participants, but this year, more than 600 people took part in the ride, which supports the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) on Saturday, May 17.

Second-time participant Rachel Ackoff was one of those bicyclists, setting off from her neighborhood in Prospect Heights on a 35-mile route. Her favorite part of the route was biking through Ditmas Park as she admired the historical houses.

Bike the Branches is a two-goal event, which is part of BPL’s annual Support the Branches campaign.

According to Cheryl Todmann, director of special events and membership at BPL, “It’s a fundraising event so we continue to provide important services to the patrons of the library and to the residents of Brooklyn.” The event raised over $50,000 for the BPL.

The event was sponsored by Zipcar, Con Edison and Bloomberg and partnered with Bike New York, Borough President Eric Adams and many others. First, second and third place prizes were provided by Bike Smith, Cycles & Recycles and more to adults and children.

Brooklynites may only be familiar with their local branch and central branch but Bike the Branches brings awareness, reminding residents that there are 60 branches throughout Brooklyn. “So it helps residents know that we have a very large footprint and learn more about our programs and services,” Todmann said.

The ride-as-you-go event did not have a specific starting point and was not just restricted to biking. Participants biked, walked, or ran to as many branches as they wanted, collecting stickers as they go from each branch.

Participants were also able to choose their own route, set their own pace as they go or use some of the suggested routes on BPL’s website such as Underworld Brooklyn, which highlights some of the mysteries of Brooklyn and Bottoms Up, Brooklyn, which is about the breweries and distilleries throughout the borough.

While some participants biked more than 50 miles, each branch had a variety of activities such as bike safety workshops, bike decorating contests, story times, puppet shows and Where’s Waldo scavenger hunts.

The finish line was at Grand Army Plaza branch where a celebration took place with a performance by the Paulo Stagnaro Group, a jazz group.

“It’s growing in popularity by increasing numbers and so it’s something we will continue for a while,” said Todmann.

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