Annual Community Bike Ride Doubles Participation

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Annual Community Bike Ride Doubles Participation

Claire Jeantheau ’21, Staff Writer

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The 2019 Northside Ride attracted over 70 volunteers — a majority of whom were connected to Dickinson — and 85 cyclists, nearly doubling its turnout from its first event last year. 

 The annual event brought Dickinson students, faculty and staff together with members of the Carlisle community for a bicycle ride in the North Carlisle area, with an emphasis on cycling safety and local service. 

 Espoir DelMain ’21, a Biking at Dickinson intern with the Center for Sustainability Education, played a significant role in organizing this year’s ride. Afterwards, she said she was “feeling really good” about the turnout. 

 “We had lots of meetings to figure out the route this year, figure out the different activities we would have at each stop, as well as the different partners and what kinds of things they could offer,” said DelMain, “I think it went really well.” 

 The 3.4-mile route led from the parking lot of New Life Community Church to the offices of Hope Station, an organization which seeks to improve the quality of life for residents in the surrounding neighborhood. Other stops were made at community organizations like the Carlisle YWCA, Project SHARE and the Carlisle Tool Library. 

 Violet Hong ’21, who participated as a cyclist, said the skills she learned while navigating the roads around town were her favorite part of the Northside Ride.

  “This was my first time learning [the different biking hand signals]. It was really amazing to know that simple gestures can be so crucial for our safety. I’m not an experienced biker, so it was an awesome educational experience,” Hong said. 

 Members of the Dickinson community had the opportunity to volunteer at all stages of the ride, from organizing stations to leading cyclist groups. Before the ride began, participants could get their bikes tuned-up from volunteers from Dickinson’s Handlebar bicycling cooperative. New Life’s LifeCycle ministry gave eight bicycles to individuals in need, and all neighborhood participants received free helmets, bicycle lights and locks. 

 Kathryn Beck ’20 enjoyed her volunteer experience, which involved helping members of New Life organize a pre-ride pancake breakfast. 

 “This event does a great job of connecting Dickinson students and faculty with Carlisle community members, encouraging sustainable practices and giving back to the community. I hope [it] continues to grow in the upcoming years,” Beck said. 

 The first Northside Ride was organized in 2018 by the Northside Carlisle Learning Action Network to strengthen community involvement and promote neighborhood access to safe transportation. Lindsey Lyons, director for the Center for Sustainability Education, said next year she would like to continue to build on students’ community connections. 

 “There’s all these existing peer mentoring things — our students are at Hope Station; there’s Big Brothers Big Sisters… I think the marketing trick for next year would be to work with those groups to have those existing mentor pairs bike together,” Lyons said. 

The 2019 Northside Ride was held on Saturday, March 6, and lasted from 10:15 a.m. to 12 p.m.