Volume 78 / Number 19 - October 8 - 14, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower
East Side, Since 1933

Villager photos by Robert Kreizel

Above, scenes from the Second Annual Lower East Side Kids’ Art Bike Parade.

The ‘wild ones’ take over E. Village at pedal parade

By H’Rina DeTroy

More than 100 kids ranging from tikes to teens pedaled through the East Village’s streets on tricked-out bikes to the beat of the Rude Mechanical Orchestra marching brass band last Saturday.

Sun rays burned off the morning mist as families gathered at the Tompkins Square Park basketball courts for free bike-riding lessons, a contest for the best decked-out wheels, music, face-painting and more. The East Village Community Coalition organized the event for the second year in a row to encourage bicycling for fun and sustainable transportation.

“I just want to remind everyone that not only is bicycling healthy, it’s a fast and effective way of transportation,” said City Councilmember Rosie Mendez.

Mendez took over as the last-minute parade marshal, substituting for Congressmember Nydia Velazquez, who, Mendez announced, was in Ohio helping out on Barack Obama’s campaign — news that sparked cheers from the crowd. Borough President Scott Stringer and Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh also spoke on the bandstand and rode in the parade. Kavanagh said that last year’s Lower East Side Kids’ Art Bike Parade inspired him to dig out and fix his bicycle, and that he hoped this event would inspire people to “stop going everywhere in buses and cabs and really embrace bicycling.”

Local businesses like Back Forty, Angelica’s Kitchen, Mud Coffee and Crème Bebe donated food and prizes for the event. Recycle-a-Bicycle, a co-sponsor and a nonprofit group that repairs and donates bikes for free, added five bikes to the prizes. In a raffle, 47 children won bikes that were refurbished and tuned up.

Starting in September, E.V.C.C. held 10 free workshops for making “art bikes,” led by local artist Cindy Ruskin. Eight-year-old Bella Rose Reid had help decorating a bike with tufts of fake, bright-green grass sprouting from the frame and with wheel spokes encrusted with colorful butterflies.

Noemi Mariani and her granddaughter Brianna Chapin, 2, showed off a stroller-bike decked out with tiny toy cars to represent New York City congestion.

Dodi Shepard, 5, from Brooklyn, festooned a pink bicycle with matching pipe cleaners, crepe streamers and baubles dangling from the seat.

“I’ve never seen so many decorated bikes in one space,” said Kate Spaulding, E.V.C.C. managing director, who coordinated the event. “I’m thrilled.”

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