Bike Drive For Kids Promotes Healthy Alternatives

Bikes can be dropped off at Twin Forks Bicycles in Riverhead.

At a time when many kids spend long hours playing video games or sitting in front of the computer, Riverhead Town continues to promote healthy alternatives.

Currently the town's alternative transportation committee has teamed up with Cornell Cooperative Extension, through its "Creating Healthy Places" program, to co-sponsor a bike drive for kids. The drive is also co-sponsored by the Police Athletic League.

Gently used bikes for kids in grades 5 through 9 can be dropped off at Twin Forks Bicycles on East Main Street in Riverhead through Feb. 28. Those who donate a bike will receive a 10 percent off coupon from Twin Forks.

The goal, organizers said, is to give more Riverhead children the opportunity to discover the joys of riding bicycles while promoting a healthy lifestyle.

"The initiative will hopefully get kids out of the house and away from the video games and television," Riverhead Town Councilwoman Jodi Gigilo, who sits on the town's alternative transportation committee, said. "We hope it will encourage them to enjoy a healthy activity of exercise while enjoying a breath of fresh air."

The initiative is not the first in Riverhead to focus on biking as a green transportation alternative in the past months.

A new $3 million  is in the works, said Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter.

But until the path is complete, there are a number of beautiful bike paths to explore in Riverhead Town, according to Nick Attisano, owner of Twin Forks Bicycles.

For some scenic biking, Attisano recommends Peconic Bay Boulevard, a "nice, scenic road" that he says follows the waterfront and will be part of the town's new bike trail once complete.

Also, Attisano said another bike-friendly area exists on a partially paved trail at the former Grumman parcel in Calverton. Currently, approximately two to three miles are paved on the parcel, with a goal of nine paved miles completed once funding is secured, he said. Bikers can also ride along the dirt road that runs along the perimeter of the property, Attisano said.

"It's a nice choice for family and kids that want to bike off the street," he said.

Another option Attisano enjoys is the bike lanes along New York State Route 24, which he takes to the "back roads," including Mill and River Roads, and then, "doing the loop" toward other back roads in the Manorville area.

Last June, bikers participated in a Healthy Riders: Healthy Riverhead Bike Day, hosted by the Town of Riverhead's recreation department.

Attisano, who sits with Giglio on the town's alternative transportation committee, said he looks forward to the town's new bike trail. "We're excited to see it happen," he said.

Other biking events offered at Twin Forks Bicycles include teaming up with the Suffolk County Bicycle Riders Association for a series of Monday and Thursday evening bike rides; the goal is to bike between 20 and 30 miles each evening during the 1.45 hour events.




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