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Photo courtesy of Queens Bike Initiative
Photo courtesy of Queens Bike Initiative

To celebrate the holidays, one local bike organization is hosting a Santa Ride to give parents and children a fun and healthy way to meet the man himself.

Queens Bike Initiative, a group of residents who advocate for stronger bike networks within parks in the borough, started the group in 2015. They first organized the Santa Ride last year, where about 40 Queens residents participated.

According to Sergio Peçanha, a member of the organization, the free event on Dec. 3 will be an “easy jingle-bell ringing ride around Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and Corona,” and the starting point is Travers Park at 78th Street and 34th Avenue.

The group will meet at 9:30 a.m. with a stop at Gorman Playground in East Elmhurst and Northern Playground in Jackson Heights for children. The bike ride is open to people of all ages as long as children have a parent to accompany them.

“We will move slow, but faster than walking speed,” Peçanha said. “On Saturday’s ride, kids will be able to ride along with Santa, take pictures and hand their letters to the old man himself.”

Participants will also sip on hot chocolate and there will be police escorts along the route. Organizers also encourage the participants to bring water and bike locks for the stop along the way.

The group is hopeful that additional bike paths in the borough will make it easier for adults and children to visit parks more safely. This summer, the city installed a bike lane on 31st Avenue that connects the Astoria waterfront to the Flushing Promenade. It is the first connection between East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona and Astoria.

“We hope to see a few more lanes in the near future, completing a grid connecting parks,” Peçanha said. “We also hope that part of this network is protected to allow kids to use.”

To register, visit the eventbrite page.

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