By Gina Martinez
Queens residents were able to check out Flushing landmarks on wheels Saturday at the inaugural Tour de Flushing.
Tour de Flushing, a 20-mile bike ride exploring some of northeast Queens’ best neighborhoods, parks and streets, began at the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park and ended at the historic Flushing Meeting House.
Some 200 Queens residents joined the Tour, which was organized by the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, Transportation Alternatives Eastern Queens Committee, and Eastern Queens Greenway. Organizers expect Tour de Flushing to grow into an annual event.
John Choe, executive director of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, said the Tour de Flushing highlighted the beautiful parks there and provided a unique opportunity for New Yorkers to enjoy all the food, culture and recreation the community has to offer. Choe said the Chamber is promoting the Tour de Flushing as part of it new district marketing campaign, which is designed to boost the local economy by attracting more visitors and supporting local business owners.
Joby Jacob, chairman of the Eastern Queens Greenway, said the organization was proud to help make the Tour de Flushing happen. Eastern Queens Greenway supports KissenaWay, a proposed family-safe path through Kissena Corridor Park, with connections to Kissena Park and Flushing Meadows Park.
“We really enjoyed showing people our wonderful greenways,” he said. “We also showed people how building the KissenaWay would allow families and kids to avoid riding their bikes or running on busy thoroughfares like Main Street and Booth Memorial Boulevard. The KissenaWay involves filling in a few missing links in Flushing’s trail network to create a 12-mile-long, family-safe, stress-free trail experience for all. We also hope it increases fitness and local pride.”
Daniel Solow, chairman of the Transportation Alternatives Eastern Queens Committee, said the turnout for Tour de Flushing speaks to the biking needs of the community. Solow said he knows and understands that there are cyclists in Flushing and surrounding neighborhoods who depend on their bikes to make a living and others who ride recreationally.
“The benefit of protected bike lanes and a connected cycle network is a win-win for all,” he said. “Businesses from the local community benefit from tourism and more traffic and the residents will have safer routes to access the parks and community centers. We hope that this ride captured the cultural, natural and scenic wonders of Flushing.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart