A True Community Bike Ride

Wednesday, October 10 by silvia

Our final family bike ride of the season was a big hit: five dozen bicyclists of all ages stretched along the D&R Canal towpath from Turning Basin Park at Alexander Road to Brearley House in Lawrence, plus seven walkers who joined at Port Mercer Canal House. We may have caught one of the last days of summer to boot!

Many thanks to all who took part in our eight-mile ride — residents of West Windsor, Princeton, Lawrence and beyond — and to Terhune Orchards for providing apple cider and apples to quench our thirst at Brearley House.

With the help of our trio of number pickers, the WWBPA gave away a number of items in a drawing, from tools for repairing flat tires to safety gear such as lights, reflective tape and a reflective vest. Plus we all learned about the almost-finished 20-mile Lawrence Hopewell Trail, Brearley House and its New Year’s Eve bonfire night, Princeton’s sharrows and the Princeton Freewheelers. How exciting to learn that there will eventually be bike access from the D&R Canal towpath to the Princeton battlefield — another destination to explore!

This truly was a community bike ride!

We’ve enjoyed sharing new routes with all who came on our rides this year and inspiring them to head out on their own. Our other rides this year have taken us on a trip for ice cream, around historic West Windsor, to the Plainsboro Preserve and down the Trolley Line Trail.

We’d love your feedback and in particular suggestions for another summer’s worth of family rides.

 

 

 

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Our Trail-to-Trail Community Bike Ride (and Walk)

Monday, September 24 by silvia

Join the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance for its sixth annual Community Bike Ride on Oct. 6 (rain date Oct 7) as we head down the D&R Canal towpath to discover how it connects to other bicycling and walking routes.

Our eight-mile ride will leave from Turning Basin Park (Alexander Road and the canal) and head to Brearley House in Lawrence (located on the 20-mile Lawrence Hopewell Trail). We’ll stop there for refreshments and some give-aways, plus hear about the Lawrence Hopewell Trail and the East Coast Greenway before turning back.

This is the last in our series of free family-friendly bike rides for 2012. Meet at the park at 2:15 p.m.; the ride leaves at 2:30 p.m. No preregistration is necessary; just bring a bike in good working order and a helmet. Children under 13 should be accompanied by an adult.

This year, we are adding a walking option, from Port Mercer Canal House. Gather at the parking lot at 2:15 p.m. (departure time is 2:30 p.m.) for the 1.3-mile walk to Brearley House. Because of road construction, the parking lot is only accessible from Route 1, not Princeton.

The ride is so-sponsored by the Lawrence Hopewell Trail, Sustainable Lawrence and the Princeton Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee.

About two dozen people, many of them new faces, joined us on Sept. 15 for a five-mile loop from Community Park down the Trolley Line Trail to Penn-Lyle Road and past High School South back to the park. Thanks for coming along for the ride!

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Save the Date: Bike Ride Sept. 15

Thursday, August 30 by silvia

Join the WWBPA for the last of our 2012 bike rides. Our goal is to help you feel comfortable getting around by bike and showing you some new routes. The next one is Sept. 15 (rain date Sept. 16th): a five-mile loop down the Trolley Line Trail and along Penn-Lyle past High School South and back to the park. Meet at the tennis courts at Community Park (North Mill Road entrance) at 2:15 p.m.; ride leaves at 2:30 p.m.

Our last ride will be Oct. 6 (rain date Oct. 7). Our sixth annual Community Bike Ride (plus walk) is an 8-mile round trip down the D&R Canal to Brearley House and the new Lawrence Hopewell Trail, and back. Come learn about this new 20-mile route! Meet at 2:15 p.m. at Turning Basin Park parking lot (Alexander Road and the towpath); the ride leaves at 2:30 p.m. Walkers, meet at Port Mercer parking lot, 4278 Quakerbridge Road, for a 2.5-mile loop, also at 2:15 p.m.

No preregistration is necessary for either ride; just bring a bike in good working order and a helmet. The ride itself is free. Children under 13 should be accompanied by an adult. We will adjust routes as needed because of road construction. Check back on our website or Facebook page for final details.

Our August ride was to Plainsboro Preserve. Nearly 20 people took part. The kids loved the bugs; the adults discovered the point jutting into the lake. Some of us rode from Community Park, and others met the group at Town Center Elementary School.

Heading to the Plainsboro Preserve

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Join Our “Bugs and Bikes” Ride

Tuesday, August 7 by silvia

Our July bike ride stopped at Van Nest Park

The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance invites cyclists of all ages to join us on the third in our series of casual family-friendly rides, on Saturday, Aug. 18. The destination of our “bugs and bikes” ride is the Plainsboro Preserve, 80 Scotts Corner Road, where participants can opt to take part in the family nature program ($5/per person).

Meet at West Windsor Community Park tennis courts (off the North Mill Road entrance) for a 12-mile roundtrip ride at 2:15 p.m. or at Town Center School in Plainsboro for 5-mile roundtrip ride at 2:45 p.m. Walkers are also welcome and should arrive at the preserve by 3:15 p.m. We will use quiet streets and bike paths as much as possible. Those on the 12-mile ride should be comfortable riding on slightly busier streets.

The preserve’s nature program begins at 3:30 p.m., and pre-registration for that program is recommended (609-897-9400). Those who choose not to take part can join us for a casual walk around the preserve before heading home. (No biking in the preserve itself!)

There is no charge for the WWBPA ride, nor is pre-registration necessary. Just bring a bike in good working order and a helmet. Children under 13 should be accompanied by an adult. Check our website (wwbpa.org) or Facebook page for any changes. The rain date for this ride is Sunday, Aug. 19.

Additional rides are planned for September and October. Thanks to all who took part in our July ride–an 11-mile tour of historic West Windsor sites–and our short ride for ice cream in June.

Where would you like to ride?

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See West Windsor History By Bike

Wednesday, July 18 by silvia

Paul Ligeti

Paul Ligeti

The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance is sponsoring a free 11-mile bike ride of historic West Windsor on Saturday, July 28. Meet at 9 a.m. at the kiosk that describes the route at the corner of South Mill Road and Village Road East, next to the World War II memorial. The ride will be led by Paul Ligeti, who designed and signposted the route for his Eagle Scout project.

You may know that the Martians “landed” in Grover’s Mill, but did you know West Windsor has two stops on the Underground Railroad? Or that Woodrow Wilson would bike from Princeton to walk around Grover’s Mill Pond? Join us to hear about these and more fun facts.

Helmets are required. Children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult.

The ride is the second in our series of casual summer rides. Our third is planned for mid-August and will offer something for both bikers and walkers.

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Bikes and Ice Cream

Friday, June 29 by silvia

The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance kicked off its series of casual summer bike rides with an easy ride for ice cream at Rite Aid with 25 people cycling through West Windsor neighborhoods (and no Route 571) on Saturday.

The riders, who included a five-year-old on a tag-along with his dad, a seven-year-old with a new bike and an eight-year-old new to town, left Community Park and went past the tennis courts on Hendrickson, through the arboretum and across Clarksville at the Norchester crosswalk. The stream of cyclists on Norchester shocked a pair of teens in a car! A little-known cut-though brought them to Ride Aid and ice cream — 1 1/2 miles from their starting point. A bonus: now some families know how to reach Community Park from the station (using the path by Schlumberger to reach the corner of Route 571 and Wallace Road).

The next ride will be an 11-mile loop of historic West Windsor on Saturday, July 28. We’ll meet at 9 a.m. at the kiosk that describes the route at the corner of South Mill Road and Village Road East, next to the World War II memorial. The ride will be led by Paul Ligeti, who designed and signposted the route for his Eagle Scout project.

You may know that the Martians “landed” in Grover’s Mill, but did you know West Windsor has two stops on the Underground Railroad? Or that Woodrow Wilson would bike from Princeton to walk around Grover’s Mill Pond? Join us!

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Ride For Ice Cream

Monday, June 18 by silvia

The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance is launching its series of casual summer bike rides around the community with an easy ride for ice cream at Rite Aid through West Windsor neighborhoods (and no Route 571) on Saturday, June 23.

We will gather by the tennis courts at Community Park (near the North Mill Road entrance) at 2:45 p.m. and begin our ride at 3 p.m. We’ll go past the tennis courts on Hendrickson and use the crosswalk to Norchester on Clarksville. Then we’ll show you a little-known cut-though; just remember to yield to any walkers we meet.

The route is less than 1 ½ miles each way, so perfect for younger riders. (Too short? Ride to the ride!)

Helmets are required and children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult. Remember to ride safely and follow the rules of the road.

The ride is free, but bring money for ice cream or other snack. The rain date is Sunday, June 24. There is no need to preregister.

Watch for details about more rides!

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Weighing the Benefits of Bike Commuting

Thursday, May 31 by silvia

On this last day of National Bike Month, we want to share an inspiring story from David Porsche, a bike commuter we met at the Princeton Junction train station and who says thanks for being such a bike-friendly community. His route takes him along Clarksville Road from the southern end of town and he has found that almost all motorists are courteous–yes, during rush hour.

“I started bicycle commuting to the Princeton Junction train station a few years back.  I ride between five and 12 miles each way (to and from) Monday through Friday.  I ride all year round and in all types of weather.  The accessibility to safe roads and plentiful bicycle resources at the train station has made the transition from gas guzzler to cyclist incredibly easy.

Since I have started bicycle commuting I have lost over 80 pounds and feel like I have been given a fresh lease on life.  I have even joined one of the local area Fire Departments as a volunteer firefighter, something that was physically not possible before I decided to saddle up.”

David says he wanted to save money on parking and tried the bus, but he kept missing it and having to wait a long time for the next one. (All of us New York commuters know about train delays!) When he saw someone hop on a bike, he knew he’d found his solution. So thanks to the anonymous cyclists who inspired David, and we hope he will inspire you to try biking, whether to work, the station or for your next errand around town.

Want some more inspiration? A bike commuter on average loses 13 pounds in the first year. (David is clearly above average!) A 140-pound cyclist burns 508 calories while pedaling 14 miles in an hour. And just three hours of bicycling per week can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%. (All this comes from Trek’s 1 world 2 wheels booklet, available from the WWBPA.)

And thanks, David, for your “before” and “after” photo! Also inspiring!

 

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Celebrate Our Bicycle-Friendly Community on Saturday

Wednesday, May 23 by silvia

Bike Friendly Community West Windsor BronzeCome to Community Park on Saturday, when West Windsor will be honored during the BikeFest festivities for being New Jersey’s first bicycle-friendly community.

Jen Laurita will present the award on behalf of the League of American Bicyclists, a national non-profit organization that honored West Windsor with a bronze medal in September. BikeFest is one of the many reasons that the community was selected. Other criteria include educational events (such as BikeFest’s Bike Rodeo to teach good biking skills), infrastructure (the many bike lanes that have been added over the years) and government policies.

The award will be given around noon, after riders are back from their rides (anywhere from 1 ½ miles to 40 miles) and grabbing lunch and just as the DJ gets going and the kids take over the moon bounce and giant slide.

Stick around to applaud West Windsor! You also have a chance to win one of 10 $25 gift certificates from Halter’s Cycles on Router 1 in South Brunswick.

Not signed up for BikeFest? You can register here or on Saturday at Community Park. (Rain date is Sunday.) Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.

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Ken Carlson Loses A Race!

Friday, May 18 by sandy

Somerville to Cambridge RaceBut that was a good thing. WWBPA Advisor and Past President Ken Carlson organized a bike advocacy event in his new hometown of Somerville, Massachusetts. The challenge was for a cyclist, a T-rider (subway), and an auto to race from Davis Square in Somerville to Kendall Square in Cambridge. Ken drove the car.

The cyclist finished first, in 20 minutes. The T-rider came in second, in 29 minutes. Ken drove the course in 32 minutes. (And yes, Ken usually bikes to work.)

New York City did the same contest this week (after all, it is National Bike to Work Week) and once again the bike won.  The cyclist traveled from Williamsburg to SoHo in morning rush hour in 15 minutes. The subway took 26 minutes and driving, 41 minutes.

As for West Windsor? Think how long it takes you to drive all the way around the station to the Vaughn Drive lot (unless you’ve been commuting so long that you have a Wallace Road permit) and to walk to the platform in the morning, and then to get out of the Vaughn Drive lot and over the roundabout on the way home. Your bike would be right by the tracks and probably would get you home in a similar amount of time, no sweating involved. And let’s not even think about the time you spend (or intend to spend) at the gym doing cardio. Then the bike will surely win!

Read more about Ken’s race at Metro.US and Boston.com, and tell us about your bike commute.

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Ride of Silence 2012

Monday, April 16 by silvia

The WWBPA is once again supporting a “Ride of Silence” in West Windsor as part of our National Bike Month activities. This is an annual international event to honor those cyclists killed or injured on the roads and to raise awareness among motorists that we are on the road. We will leave the West Windsor Municipal Center at 7 pm on Wednesday, May 16 for a slow, silent, one-hour, 10-12-mile ride through town. We will remain as a group, slowing down as needed.

You must wear a helmet! Think about ways to make yourself visible to motorists.

The ride is free; please bring a friend. (Also bring water, ID, spare tube and anything else you think you might need).

Please arrive for the ride at least 15 minutes early.

At least two other Rides of Silence are being planned in our area: in Princeton and in Montgomery.

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Registration for BikeFest Is Open

Sunday, April 8 by silvia

Claim your spot (and T-shirt) at BikeFest, West Windsor’s big one-day bike extravaganza!

The ninth annual BikeFest is set for May 26 (Saturday of Memorial Day weekend; rain date is Sunday) and includes the usual five route options, from the 1.5-mile loop within Community Park for young kids to the 40-mile route for experienced cyclists. Registration is open; just download the form and mail your check or drop it off at the West Windsor Recreation Department.

BikeFest includes a “bike rodeo” to help younger cyclists learn safe riding skills.

The WWBPA isn’t the organizer of BikeFest; that is Dan Gerstenhaber and his team. But many trustees and student advisors will be there as volunteers, and we’ll also have a table with plenty of materials. So stop for a chat after your ride.

Let’s hear the whirr of many wheels!

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Jolly Santa’s New Ride Sports Handlebars

Tuesday, December 20 by JerryFoster

Friend of WWBPA and Princeton Free Wheeler Howie Luxenberg generously consented to have his letter to the editor of the Times of Trenton, published December 11, 2011, reprinted here. Enjoy – the picture shows Santa in the middle surrounded by his helpers – you know it’s him because of the beard and his indifference to cold. Thanks Howie!

A white-bearded fellow masquerading as Santa Claus has been spotted pedaling a bicycle in the area around Hightstown. Sometimes he waves, sometimes he smiles, but often he does nothing but look straight ahead while pedaling furiously.

His outfit, if I can call it that, consists of some kind of helmet, black tights and a yellow jacket, which makes him look like a bee in hot pursuit of honey.

Can it be that the real Santa actually lives in the Central Jersey area and spreads his merry cheer on a two-wheeled vehicle rather than a sleigh? If so, parents and grandparents must quickly advise the little ones that Rudolph has caught cold and Santa this year will be arriving on a less traditional mode of transportation.

He was seated astride a red bicycle, seemingly riding without a care in the world and probably heading nowhere in particular but just enjoying the festive environment that always fills the holiday season. He was rather tall, but not stocky. If anything, he would probably rank as one of the skinniest Santas from the North Pole. But his size really doesn’t matter to children, who would only see him as perhaps a different and unusual kind of fun-loving Santa.

You just had to see his full, white beard, which practically covered his entire face. His nose and cheeks were red, probably from the biting crosswinds he encountered while cycling. If this wasn’t Santa, he was wearing quite a nice disguise. Yes, this was Mr. Claus and, upon seeing him, any child would certainly have yelled, “Mommy, Mommy, there is Santa on a bicycle!”

This kind of Christmas hero is likely to attract hundreds of smiling children as he treks through the area.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

— Howie Luxenberg,
Hamilton

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How I Learned to Bike and Hike

Saturday, December 10 by JerryFoster

Let’s take a break from all this focus on infrastructure and let me share the story of how I came to enjoy biking and walking.

I learned to bike as a small child in a small town in the midwest in the 1960s, which was surrounded by open space. As kids, we biked and walked to school, raced our bikes around the basketball hoops on the playground, and rode the trails through the woods, all on a banana-seat bike with knobby tires.

Later, we rode motorcycles and snowmobiles on those same trails, as well as walked and cross-country skied them. I bought a 10-speed from Sears with my paper route money while in junior high school. With friends from scouts and school, we’d backpack overnight or all week, sometimes in winter with cross-country skis, and once we loaded the camping gear onto the bikes and did a weekend out and back via bike.

After learning to drive, we moved on to longer backpacking trips, including a 6-week trip to Wyoming with a school friend, and learned to rock and later ice climb. Any excuse to travel was good enough – my college roommate and I took a 6-month European rock and ice climbing trip, with an interlude traveling via rail pass.

I moved to the east coast after college and bought a touring bike with high hopes, not realizing how little time there is for fun once you start working full time. My wife and I canoed and camped together, and cruised our sailboat after the children arrived. I did my best to introduce all the outdoor activities I love to my son’s scout troop and later to my daughter’s Venture Crew (a co-ed scout group).

My long term backpacking project is to hike the entire Appalachian trail in sections – so far, I’ve done almost 1300 miles out of about 2200.

Biking for me is mainly recreational – I bought a road bike after failing to keep up with my neighbor on a ride in the early 1990s, and still ride it today. Besides errands and recreational riding with the Princeton Free Wheelers, I’ve done several week-long charity rides for Anchor House, plus a self-supported camping tour from Oakland to Los Angeles.

Hope you enjoyed my story – do you have a story you’d like to share? Please send us an email at wwbikeped@gmail.com, and we’ll be happy to post it here.

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Bike Ride Postponed

Friday, October 28 by silvia

The miserable weather forecast for Saturday means we’re postponing our bike ride of historic West Windsor sites. We’ll see if our rain date, Nov. 13, treats us better.

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Tour the Pine Barrens By Bike

Sunday, September 25 by sandy

Dan Rappoport leads a tour through the Pine Barrens

Dan Rappoport leads a tour through the Pine Barrens

The 2011 Tour de Pines, sponsored by Pinelands Preservation Alliance, celebrates Pinelands Month in October with five consecutive single-day bicycle tours of the New Jersey Pinelands. The aims are to highlight the natural and historic features of the one million acres of the Pinelands and to encourage New Jersey residents to get out and explore this unique environment. The Pinelands, an area of 1.1 million acres in our densely populated state, is the largest surviving open space on the eastern seaboard between the northern forests of Maine and the Everglades of Florida. Ghost towns, historic sites and legends such as the Jersey Devil preserve the Pinelands’ unique culture, telling the many stories of how humans have used and depended on the natural world around them.

The 2011 Tour de Pines will begin on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at PPA’s Bishop Farmstead in Southampton Township, traverse the length and breadth of the Pinelands National Reserve, and culminate at Whitesbog Village on Sunday, Oct. 9.

Each day’s tour will range from approximately 40 to 55 miles per day, with average speeds of 11-13 mph, and begin and end at the same location. Registration deadline is Oct. 1. You don’t need to do all the rides. Plus it’s free! Just provide your own transportation, food and lodging as needed.

For more information, look here.

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Hudson River Loop Ride

Saturday, September 24 by silvia

If you want something more on Sunday, Oct. 2 than riding the sharrows in Princeton, consider this from our friends at the East Coast Greenway:

4th Annual Hudson River Loop Tour, Sunday Oct. 2

Join us for a guided bicycle ride on the East Coast Greenway along the Hudson River waterfront in New Jersey and New York, Sunday, Oct. 2 at 9 a.m. This 25-mile bike ride (easy-going pace of 9-10 mph) will travel along greenways (and a short on-road stretch), enjoying newly completed segments of the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. At the Hoboken/14 Street dock, we will take the New York Waterway ferry to Manhattan, then return north along the Hudson River Greenway to and over the George Washington Bridge.

We’ll enjoy lunch at beautiful West Harlem Piers Park, just opposite Fairway Market where food and drinks can be bought.  We will return to Fort Lee Park at about 2 pm.  Cue sheets provided.  Bring snacks and water, wear helmet.  Rain or shine. Start and end at Fort Lee Historic Park, Fort Lee NJ.

Pre-registration: ECGA member $10 / non-member, $20
(New Members can join the ECGA at a special $25 rate – this event only!)
Day-of registration:  member $15 / non-member, $25
Price includes cost of ferry (rider + bicycle)  –  Children under 13 – $10 (for ferry)
To pre-register: http://hudsonloopride.eventbrite.com

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Bike the Sharrows

Thursday, September 22 by silvia

Sustainble Princeton invites everyone to experience the new sharrows on its “Be Green, Be Seen” mass bike and skate ride on Sunday, Oct. 2. The group will set off from Hinds Plaza (by the Princeton library) at 3 p.m. for a two-mile ride. (“Be Green, Be Seen” will run until 5 p.m.) Sharrows have been installed on a number of local roads, including Nassau, Harrison and Witherspoon streets. The route will cover parts of those streets plus Hamilton Avenue.l

What’s a sharrow? A shared-lane marking when it’s just not feasible to install a full bicycle lane. You can read about their success elsewhere here.

Here’s the full message from Sustainable Princeton:

Unlock those bikes and come ride on the bike sharrows!
Cyclists and skateboarders, all ages, all skill levels are invited to take part in a short ride along the newly marked sharrows along Princeton’s streets.
Bike for the environment, bike to support the BYOBag campaign or just bike for fun… but please join us to show that we love the new Sharrows and look forward to more support for healthy, sustainable, fun-loving bikers and skaters.
Remember your helmets!
The more people who attend the ride, the bigger the statement.
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Try a Group Bike Ride

Friday, September 2 by silvia

The Princeton Freewheelers are inviting newcomers to join them on Saturday, Sept. 17. Three rides will leave from the Hamilton YMCA at Sawmill Road at 9a.m.:  D+, C and B-level rides.

The D+ ride will cruise on flat terrain at 11-12 mph (or an average moving speed of 9-10 mph) for about 20 miles. The C ride cruises about 14 mph for about 25 miles and the B ride at about 17 mph for about 30 miles.

Most importantly, though, the D+ and C rides are social rides.   New riders may expect much encouragement and support.  No one will be dropped for going too slowly.

This new-member ride has a preliminary stop after 4.5 miles to be sure everyone is in a group appropriate for their ability. That’s in addition to the usual rest and/or food break somewhere in the middle of a ride.  Most people who choose these rides enjoy the camaraderie of others who also like cycling, as well as the beautiful scenery.

Helmets are required.  Riders need to be sure their equipment is in good working order. There will be a brief discussion of safe riding practices for group riding and about the Princeton FreeWheelers (also see the group’s website, www.princetonfreewheelers.com). Snacks will be served.

The PFW provides opportunities for recreational bicycling and related activities, including the promotion of safe recreational riding, fellowship among cyclists, advancement of the general interests of cyclists, and education about the rights and responsibilities of cyclists.

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Upcoming Events

March 9   ******* Annual Membership Meeting ******* 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Main Mtg Rm A). Guest Speaker TBA.

March      Membership Drive. Become a member/Renew your membership today and support our local community.

March 12  WWBPA participating at the St Anthony’s Health Fair 1:30-2:30pm in the gym at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Hightstown.

April 13     Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

April 15     Scholarship applications due for Graduating High School Seniors

May          Look for opening Season of WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

May 11     Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Jun 8       Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

July 13     Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Ongoing – Register your bike with the WW Police Dept for Free

Volunteer Opportunities – Sign up to give back to the community

Now Accepting Applications for WWBPA Student Advisory Board

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