A group of bicycle enthusiasts put their wheels to good use this holiday season.
Cyclists from the borough affiliated with Transportation Alternatives, an organization that encourages alternative forms of transportation like bicycling in the city as well as traffic safety, held a bicycle excursion around the borough to spread holiday cheer on Saturday, December 8.
Three of the members of the group were in festive costumes while others wore holiday-related headgear, and their bicycles were decked out with red and green lights, ornaments and other seasonal decorations, said Kevin Daloia, Transportation Alternatives Bronx Committee chairman.
On the same day as the ride, Transportation Alternative’s Bronx Committee volunteers hosted a holiday party where they distributed toys to children at Concourse House, a shelter for woman and children in Bedford Park, said Daloia, who is a Waterbury-LaSalle resident.
The holiday party featured a magician, balloons by Shemakesballons, a face painter, gifts for adults as well as children, along with pizza, juices and snacks.
After the party, a dozen cyclists set out from in front of the Bronx Museum of the Arts for a 22-mile ride around the borough both to spread holiday cheer and draw attention to alternative forms of transportation.
Daloia said he dressed up as Santa Claus, decking out his bicycle with red and green headlights as well as displaying a Christmas tree effect attached to the back.
“We ride for a ourselves in order to have a good time and to spread holiday cheer,” said Daloia.
The ride went to several locations, including stops at Arthur Avenue’s Ciccarone Park, a Christmas tree lighting on Zerega Avenue, and a large Winter Wonderland display at Metropolitan Oval in Parkchester.
Daloia said that he and his fellow riders were thrilled with the reactions from the people they encountered, from children and their families to police officers and pedestrians.
“It was very festive,” he said, “We had a radio with holiday music playing and I think people who saw us got into the Christmas spirit.”
Daloia was also joined by riders dressed an elf and a reindeer, he said.
“When people see Santa, it is universal—they wave out of impulse,” he said. “You can tell everyone was enjoying it.”
Groups of volunteers in other boroughs took part in similar rides, said Daloia.
Amril Hamer, Transportation Alternative’s Bronx Organizer said that the organization’s toy drive for Concourse House, in conjunction with the bicycle ride, were celebrating its third consecutive year.
“By having the ride we engage the community so that they are aware of our organization and are willing to support us when we come to their community,” said Hamer. “This brings awareness to our campaigns for traffic calming and safety, like the one we recently did on the Grand Concourse and another we are currently doing on Boston Road.”
Juanita Fernandez, Concourse House director of social services, said that both the parents and adults at Concourse House loved the gesture and the presents from the Transportation Alternatives volunteers.