Family Fitness: Biking

Brooklyn Paper
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Bike riding is a healthy, fun activity for the entire family. Cycling offers families a chance to spend time outdoors and it’s great exercise. Families with children of different ages can all bike together, which makes this sport especially family-friendly. Check all your equipment before taking off and make sure your child’s helmet fits properly. Take along water and a snack and have fun.

Try biking at these area locations.

2019 bicycle Sundays

The Westchester Parks Foundation offers this beloved Westchester tradition in May, June, and September. Every year some 60,000 people bike, walk, and jog a 13.1-mile loop of the Bronx River Parkway that is closed on select Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to vehicular traffic. The route runs from the Westchester County Center south to Scarsdale Road in Yonkers. All ages and abilities are welcomed, from the professional biker to the kid with training wheels. Ride the route on June 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 as well as Sept. 8, 15, 22, 29. Free. Parking is available at the Westchester County Center for $15 per car.

Westchester Parks Foundation, Bronx River Reservation, 914-231-4600. thewpf.org/programs/bicycle-sundays.

Just learning

The Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla has extra wide paved paths that are ideal for the youngest cyclers. It’s a popular place for children just experimenting with training wheels. The Plaza is open seven days a week. Permanent park lighting was installed in 2014 making the Plaza available for all until 10 p.m. in the summer.

The Kensico Dam Plaza, 1 Bronx River Parkway, Valhalla. 914-231-4033. parks.westchestergov.com/kensico-dam-plaza.

A linear pathway

Running adjacent to the Bronx River Parkway is the Bronx River Reservation, the oldest park in Westchester, and home to the Bronx River Pathway. This paved linear path has three segments, a 1-mile loop, a 4.6-mile section and a 5-mile portion that connects with Kensico Dam in Valhalla. See the website for a Pathway map.

The Bronx River Reservation, Bronx River Pathway. 914-723-4058. parks.westchestergov.com/trailways.

A longer ride

The North County and South County Trailways are paved multi-use trails ideal for family biking. The North County Trail spans north for 22.1 miles through Westchester to the Putnam County border. The South County Trailway runs from central to southern Westchester for 14.1 miles. See the website for parking locations along the North County Trailway.

The North County and South County Trailways. 914-864-7275. parks.westchestergov.com/parks-and-destinations/trailways.

Mountain biking x 2

If you’d prefer the challenge and off-road experience of mountain biking, visit Blue Mountain Reservation in Peekskill. The Blue Mountain bike trail offers 20 miles of marked trails geared toward three levels of skill: beginners, intermediate, and advanced. There is a parking fee of $5 for Westchester County Park Pass holders, $10 without.

Blue Mountain Reservation, 435 Welcher Ave., Peekskill. 914-862-5275. parks.westchestergov.com/blue-mountain-reservation.

For down county families mountain biking can be enjoyed at Sprain Ridge Park in Yonkers. The park’s 278 acres are heavily wooded with about eight miles of well maintained and marked trails for biking. These trails are great for intermediate and advanced riders. The park has two picnic areas that provide a great place to stop for a packed lunch or snack. See the website for a video review of the trails and a map. County Park Pass required for admission. See westchestergov.com for Park Pass information.

Sprain Ridge Park, 149 Jackson Ave., Yonkers. 914-231-3450. parks.westchestergov.com/sprain-ridge-park

Jean Sheff is co-publisher and editor of Westchester Family magazine and a dedicated cyclist.

Updated 3:31 pm, June 14, 2019
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