SCHENECTADY – Six weeks removed from a well-attended event that gave away refurbished bicycles and made free repairs to residents’ bikes, Cycle Schenectady and the Electric City Bike Rescue is offering a second Bike Bash, this time with neighborhood slow rides.
The two entities are sponsoring a Bike Bash in the Hamilton Hill neighborhood’s Jerry Burrell Park on Paige Street from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
About a dozen used, refurbished adult bicycles, and as many children’s bikes, will be given away first come first served, said Art Clayman, president of Cycle Schenectady, and vice president of the Electric City Bike Rescue.
A bike rodeo provides a venue for children to learn to ride safely and test their skills.
One or two slow rides around the neighborhood lasting about two miles is a new feature.
Organizers chose Hamilton Hill because many neighborhood kids own bikes, but they may not be in the best shape and their families may not have the means for repairs at a bike shop.
“We fix them up and make sure they’re roadworthy and then try to get them out in the community,” he said.
The adult bicycles are basic commuter and mountain bikes, some of which are as old as 40 years.
“They’re all decent bikes, they do the job and they’ve been taken care of,” Clayman said. “They were in bad shape, but we replaced parts and everything, so they’re definitely rideable and good bikes.”
The children’s bikes are newer because parents donate them more often when their children outgrow them.
The cycling advocate said there were other reasons for targeting Hamilton Hill.
“We want to get kids on Hamilton Hill involved in cycling because it’s a great sport, and it’s a great mode of transportation, and a lot more adults in Hamilton Hill don’t have cars, necessarily,” he said. “As many as 40% don’t have cars so they don’t have that option and they actually need to bike.”
The event will be staffed by 15 people, including five each from Cycle Schenectady and the bike rescue, another five volunteers from Social Enterprise and Training Center, a workforce development Agency in Schenectady that serves underrepresented young people, and two police officers.
Clayman said organizers are hoping to accommodate at least 100 attendees.
In Hamilton Hill, Brandywine Avenue and the narrow Albany Street are two of the worst streets on which to bicycle, Clayman said.
“Fearless as I am, I’m not sure I would ride on those roads,” he said.
But the rest of the neighborhood is relatively bicycle-friendly, with wide roads and a number of one-way streets, he said.
The slow rides through the neighborhood target roadways with newer pavement so that the group doesn’t have to dodge potholes, Clayman said.