Having pedaled across 6 continents, this cycling advocate now offers free bike tours of East Harlem

Updated: May 19


Judi Desire, founder of the 11-month-old Uptown & Boogie Bicycle Advocacy, is on a mission to promote bicycle riding throughout Upper Manhattan and the Bronx.

To achieve her goal, this Harlemite dreams up fun group rides that encourage people to explore a variety of uptown and Bronx neighborhoods while socializing with fellow cyclists.

Just this month, Desire–whose passion for cycling has previously taken her on solo bike hikes across six continents–organized a tour of community gardens and their deeply invested caretakers. She also led a 12-mile ride from East Harlem to City Island in the Bronx, using the three-year-old Randalls Island Connector to cross from one borough to the other.

Photo here and above: @uptownbronxbicycle via Instagram

Her next bike social, starting at 8:30am this Saturday, July 28, invites cyclists to go for a spin past East Harlem storefronts that have been spruced up with help from the 100 Gates Project–which aims to "make boring gates beautiful" by connecting artists with merchants. The tour includes other neighborhood murals along the bike path and ends with lunch at nearby Cassava House.

Those who don't have their own bikes can grab free Citi Bikes, which are available on a first-come, first-serve basis at the Citi Bike-sharing station on Second Avenue and 104th Street where the tour starts (to secure one, Desire suggests you get there by 8am).

Photo: @am_nyc via Instagram

And while the five-mile ride is intended for bikers of all levels, cycling and art are definitely the focus. One stop, says Desire, is the gate that artist Alice Mizrachi recently painted for the Heavy Metal Bike Shop in East Harlem–would you expect anything less from a bike advocacy tour?

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