Tour de Brooklyn Set for June With Route From Red Hook to Canarsie

By Rachel Holliday Smith on May 6, 2014 8:20am 

 Members of Seeds in the Middle, a Crown Heights-based nonprofit, participate in the Five-Borough Bike Tour in 2010.
Members of Seeds in the Middle, a Crown Heights-based nonprofit, participate in the Five-Borough Bike Tour in 2010.
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Nancie Katz

CROWN HEIGHTS — Get ready, cyclists!

Registration for the 10th annual Tour de Brooklyn bike tour is just a week away. The 21.5-mile ride is set to start in Red Hook, pedal east to Canarsie and circle back, according to the host of the event, Transportation Alternatives.

Almost all the proceeds from the June 1 tour will fund the advocacy group.

But of the more than 1,200 expected participants in this year’s tour, 100 will have a chance to support another local nonprofit that aims to give kids a healthy start.

Seeds in the Middle has been operating in Crown Heights schools since 2009, teaching kids how to grow and choose healthy foods. Its director is looking to support a new basketball program and open three new farmers markets in Central Brooklyn — and thinks getting help from charitable bikers will make a big difference.

”We’re small, with a lot of heart,” said Nancie Katz, director and founder of Seeds, who said the bike tour aligns perfectly with the group’s goals. “It fits into our whole thing of getting kids fit — getting families to be aware of fitness.”

The group has 100 slots to fill in the race and is hoping serious bikers will consider sponsoring Seeds on their ride. Katz hopes each biker who rides for the group can raise more than $300.

“If you want fresh food, bike for it,” Katz said.

Registration for the Tour de Brooklyn opens May 14. Organizers of the event said regular slots usually sell out within 48 hours because the number of participants is capped at 1,250 to ensure safety. No roads are closed during the event, with police officers stopping traffic at each intersection as the tour rolls through.

“The purpose of the tour every year is to highlight the different neighbors in Brooklyn and how easy it is to get around,” said Ben McRoberts, Transportation Alternatives' events director.

He said this year’s race will begin in Red Hook, snaking through Windsor Terrace, Flatbush, Midwood and Flatlands before reaching the halfway point rest stop at Canarsie Pier.

“Canarsie Pier is a really cool spot that a lot of people don’t even know exists,” said McRoberts. “It’s a huge, giant pier out in the middle of Jamaica Bay.”

For those who miss the registration, but still want to join the tour, Transportation Alternatives is looking for a couple of hundred volunteers to help shuttle the cyclists and help with issues on the ride, McRoberts said.

“Any experienced cyclists we would welcome as riding marshals,” he said. “They ride along with the tour to help and assist other participants  you know, changing a flat tire, putting a jumped chain back on.”

And for those without a bike who want to join the fun, McRoberts said this year they’ll be partnering with those behind the New York Bike Jumble to hold a mini-jumble, or bike sale, at the race’s start in Red Hook.

“It’s an all-day celebration of biking,” he said.

The 10th annual Tour de Brooklyn will be held June 1 starting at Erie Basin Park in Red Hook. Regular registration will open on May 14 on Transportation Alternatives' website. Entrance fees are $15 for members of the group and $20 for non-members. Registration through Seeds in the Middle is available through its website with a $335 pledge, which includes a membership to Transportation Alternatives.

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