SUNNYSIDE — Cyclists are welcome in Sunnyside.
Advocacy group Transportation Alternatives is dubbing the neighborhood its newest "Bike Friendly Business District," the first in Queens to get the designation, which recognizes areas with a proliferation of business owners who encourage cycling as a way to get around, and especially to shop.
"Generally, businesses that see the growth in biking is really good for business in the neighborhood," said Caroline Samponaro, a senior director for Transportation Alternatives, who said more than 70 Sunnyside business owners have signed on as "Bike Friendly."
Businesses can support cycling a number of ways, like offering discounts or deals to customers who visit by bike, supporting safe cycling conditions or requesting a bike rack or corral to put outside their own restaurant or store, Samponaro said.
A map of the city's "Bike Friendly" businesses can be found on Transportation Alternatives' website, and are also identified by a decal sticker the organization provides to businesses to display in their windows.
"I've seen an increase in cyclists in the neighborhood just in the last couple of years that I've been here, and we've had several business owners request bicycle racks, which is exciting," said Rachel Thieme, director of the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District.
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The event will include a bike tour (pedestrians can also join in and travel by foot) to visit several of the participating bike-friendly businesses, some of which will be offering free samples or discounts.
Stops on the tour will include Bar 43, Arriba Arriba and Jack's Ale House, according to Sunnyside's Boulevard Bars' Facebook page.
"Cyclists should come out to Sunnyside and shop at the over 70 participating businesses," City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents the neighborhood, said in a statement.
"As ridership climbs in our City and the cycling infrastructure grows here in Western Queens, Sunnyside hopes to capitalize by highlighting all we have to offer."
Saturday's event will start at 2 p.m. at Bliss Plaza, which is located under the 7 train tracks at 46th Street and Queens Boulevard. Participants can RSVP here.