NEWARK, NJ — The two-hour Lincoln Park Sustainable Living Community Bike Ride on Sept. 19, hosted by the Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District in Newark, was geared toward uniting the community, including neighboring towns. Even Irvington Council First Vice President October Hudley participated.
A nonprofit organization in Newark, the LPCCD has been hosting a series of outdoor happenings, “Activate the Coast,” around Newark’s historic Lincoln Park with the hope of bringing Newarkers and day-trippers “Back Together Again” around music, dance, food, culture, small business vendors and wellness in a safe and socially distant environment. Held in partnership with Newark Community Cycling Center, the 17-mile bike ride traversed several Newark parks and was recorded for an upcoming documentary film on the history of cycling in Newark.
Kim J. Ford, the president and CEO of BRND Marketing Group, the agency of record for LPCCD, said her agency created the Sustainable Living Community group as an outgrowth of its wellness initiative, which saw several changes due to COVID-19.
“That is the umbrella platform that we launched during the pandemic because Mr. Anthony Smith and myself put our heads together and thought about building a more happy and healthy community and what that entails,” Ford said Sept. 20. “Under that, we’ve launched the first-ever podcast called the Sustainable Living Community podcast, the Lincoln Park Sustainable Community Walkers Club and finally, for the second time, we’ve hosted the Lincoln Park Sustainable Living Community Bike Ride, which has the opportunity to grow into its own mini-fest.
“The reason why we were so excited that Councilwoman Hudley was able to come was because biking is a culture and a way of life and also an environmentally friendly way to travel,” she continued. “Newark leading the charge, along with our sister communities like Irvington, is really about bringing the past to the present. Before everyone had cars, biking was a way of life. It’s a way to be socially distanced and safe.”
LPCCD Executive Director Anthony Smith, a beginner rider himself, praised the many bike clubs that took part in the community bike ride.
“We definitely will have this event again, because it was well received, and there were so many different groups that were so excited to come together and participate in such an event,” Smith said Sept. 20. “We had just over 50 riders, and the clubs that were represented were RBG (Cyclist), the Spinderellas, the Trendsetters, Brick City Bike Collective and free agents, meaning you’re not part of a bike club but respected in the community anyway.”
According to Ford, the children and adults who participated loved riding through Lincoln, Washington Military, Weequahic and Branch Brook parks.
“When they got back, not only did we have a biker mixer where they were hanging out and networking, we had a massage practitioner who did a five-minute muscle relaxation adjustment, and they loved that,” Ford said of participants. “We’re going to grow and work with them on this film as well as produce other rides with them.”
Cameras were rolling the entire ride for the upcoming documentary. Hudley, who is a member of RBG Cyclist, was interviewed for the documentary, which is expected to debut in 2022. She mentioned that the event highlight for her was the free massages.
“I enjoy participating in community bike rides because it gives you the opportunity to meet people from different age groups and cultures with a common goal to ride bikes,” Hudley said Sept. 20. “I have a delightful time because the ride moves at a pace where no one is left behind and I don’t feel pressured. I don’t have to ride at an excessive pace.”
She added that an event like this is important because “it encourages people from different nationalities, cultures and religions to come together for a common cause, which is to come together and have a great time. It’s a great place to reunite with people you haven’t seen due to the pandemic. I am looking forward to the next event.”