Now here's a great idea, I thought. Why not combine my two most favorite things in life: bicycling and peace. How 'bout a bike ride for peace? So I was surprised and delighted when New York -United For Peace And Justice, the local chapter of the great national anti-war coalition, announced just that: a Pedal For Peace fundraising bike ride. The idea? Bring family, friends and fellow activists together for some fun and exercise while, at the same time, raising some money to help promote the upcoming anti-war protest set for October 27th in NYC.
Well the great idea turned out to be a great day. A splendid day! The weather was as good as it gets ... a balmy, first-day-of-fall Sunday with a sky as cloudless and blue as one could imagine. We caught a 10:30 Q train in Brooklyn and rode it, with our bikes and friends, to the last stop, ascended to the street and rode through Cental Park to the ride's launching point: the Naumburg Bandshell inside the park at 72nd Street.
Our first stop: coffee and a bagel at our friendly Prospect Perk, a coffee shop in our hood. Then onto the Q for a quick subway ride to Central Park.
UFPJ volunteers staffed the registration table at the Central Park launching point.
Stacey shows off her Pedal For Peace t-shirt. Our bikes are tagged and ready to ride for peace in Iraq.
Leslie Kielson of UFPJ, addresses the cyclists, promoting the anti-war protest slated for October 27th.
The ride attracted young and old alike. Here, two of the younger riders, Noah and Josh, listen up to ride instructions.
This dude's ready to ride!
And we're off! Nadette, one of several very helpful UFPJ ride marshalls, waves us on.
We rode to the top of Central Park, regrouped at 110th Street, then continued up through the streets of Harlem.
Looking back through my mirror, a sea of yellow cyclists for peace!
Our bike ride for peace was warmly greeted by the residents of Harlem.
The people -- they want peace!
Our rest stop at High Bridge Park overlooking the Harlem River and the historic old bridge that first carried fresh Catskill water to the city of New York.
The final stretch - rolling down Riverside Drive on our way back to Central Park. The view was awesome!
Leslie: Thank you all for coming. And don't forget to go out and build October 27th into a mighty protest of the war.
Thanks to all the marshalls and to Olive, the Peace Pup, who made the ride a wonderful cycling event and a strong and compassionate plea for peace.
This was a memorable day: great people, great weather, lots of fun and, most of all, a very worthy cause. Thanks go to all the folks at NY-UFPJ who worked so hard to make it the big success it was.
And to all my readers, please make a donation to UFPJ so they can carry on their work which is so important to our world. You can e-mail me at email@example.com to make a contribution as a sponsor of my ride today. I'll send back details.
The fight for peace is costly and funds are urgently needed to make October 27th the big protest it needs to be. End the war! Bring our troops home NOW -- Safe and alive!
P.S. Take a look at some more photos from Sunday's ride at my friend, Diane Lent's website: