This coming Friday, June 14th, brings our first of two free and inclusive Clarence Pedal Parties this year in partnership with Discover Main Street, with the first hosted by West Shore Brewing Company (10995 Main Street, 7pm start). Thanks to the passion and pavement-pounding of Clarence stakeholders who ride with us on Mondays and organize other events, our Clarence rides have gathered some of our largest weekend crowds and Discover Main Street continues to advocate in the spirit of GObike Buffalo’s mission of “promoting biking, alternative transportation options, and improved streetscapes to create positive impacts on health, our environment, our streets and the overall quality of life for all residents.”

Presented by Independent Health, our weekend rides are often slightly faster and longer than Slow Roll Mondays, always free and still roundtrip; this Clarence Pedal Party route is about 11 miles with two inclines, which along with details about the afterparty at West Shore and overall progress in the community is described below by town advocates Melany Arrison and Noel Dill.

What’s new since last year on the path to a more walkable and bikeable Clarence?

Melany: Our bike-friendly initiatives are everywhere! We are enjoying our inaugural season of group bike rides at the Clarence Hollow Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, offering a one hour group bike tour at 9am. The Saturday rides are sponsored by Discover Main Street and created to help strengthen and network our Western New York bicycling community.

Clarence is an increasingly bike-friendly community, where people have better and safer routes since the sidewalks and bike lanes were established on Main Street last year, and now with plans approved to place bike lanes on Sheridan Drive. Also noteworthy is the progress made in our bike trail system and how it connects neighborhoods to useful places like parks, businesses, and more.

Our town is aware that trails are a wonderful amenity and have plans in place with the goal of a very well-connected bike trail system by 2030. From the very first Discover Main Street Fun Ride, nearly five years ago, to the recent striping of bike lanes on Main Street, measures have been taken to create bike-friendly awareness, and the farmers market ride series is a perfect start and terrific location, sitting right on the bike path! It is a fun inviting atmosphere to start and end from for cycling enthusiasts.

What inspires you personally to do this work?

Melany: Personally, I am inspired to share my passion for bicycling and think it is my unique way to lift up my community. I have been actively riding my bike for ten years and it has helped me stay healthy. Riding my bike inspires me at times and always lifts my mood. Riding my bike helps me get from one place to the other without consuming gas and the expense of driving. It helps the environment and makes me feel closer to nature, especially when I ride more rural for enjoyment.

It is a sign of a healthy vibrant community to see people out riding a bicycle, and also a legitimate mode of transit such as walking is, of course, and I would like to advocate for it. Ultimately, it has been my experience that when people ride bikes together, it acquaints them to their surroundings more intimately and also to each other. Many benefits come from riding bikes and yet it can also humble people; you realize you’re vulnerable on the road, and for me, I just want to protect people who would choose to ride, or use any form of active transportation in a public space.

What inspires you personally to do this work?

Melany: What I envision these Pedal Parties will do is invite people to be curious about their surroundings, motivate people to come out and ride and to connect people essentially in a fun, safe, casual format to bicycling and each other. I hope we encourage the local community to think of these events as invigorating healthy fun!

What should participants expect at this Clarence Pedal Party?

Noel: This is a different route than folks will remember. We’ll be heading north immediately on leaving West Shore, so we’ll see some more open spaces and rural areas right away. There will be a couple of hills on this ride. Local Clarence riders and folks who have joined us before know what to expect, but if you’re new to the ride you will find a lower gear helpful as we climb up Alexander Drive by the Town Park and again at the end of the ride as we return down Main Street through the Hollow to West Shore.

West Shore Brewing will have a couple of new beer releases, including the Big Six DIPA and a Grapefruit Pineapple Shandy. Babz BBQ and the Clarence Deli will be on hand to help folks fuel up after the ride, and Fools like Us will be playing West Shore’s Beer Garden.