Biking Long Island: It's more fun in a group

Riders from the Massapequa Bike Club bicycle through

Riders from the Massapequa Bike Club bicycle through some of Long Island's roads.

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Bicycle clubs on Long Island range from the uber-informal "let's-get-the-gang-together-for-a-ride" groups to highly structured organizations with all the trimmings - Web sites, boards of directors, meetings, committees and dues.

Such clubs often serve as community advocates, promote bicyclist rights and safety issues. But all are big on socializing and camaraderie.

"Being part of an organized group encourages people to get out there and ride more often," says Janine Schwartz, 43, of Hauppauge. "A nice day on a clear path and you feel like you're flying; it recaptures my youth."

Here's a sampling of organized bicycle clubs.

CLIMB

Concerned Long Island Mountain Bicyclists

INFO climbonline.org

WHERE THEY RIDE Nassau and Suffolk counties.

ANNUAL DUES $20 (voluntary)

Club president Michael Vitti says the group is dedicated to building and maintaining safe, off-road bicycle trails in public parks. Membership funds are used to purchase tools and other equipment for maintaining trails. Volunteers keep the trails clear of brush and fallen tree limbs. CLIMB. organizes riding sessions for various skill levels - nonmembers are welcome.

HBC

Huntington Bicycle Club

INFO huntingtonbicycleclub.org

WHERE THEY RIDE North Shore

ANNUAL DUES $25 ($30 per family)

Membership coordinator Sal Levy says this nonprofit club organizes weekly rides with trained leaders, plus seminars on road rules, bicycle maintenance and such.

UPCOMING Registration is open for this year's "Gold Coast Tour" on July 11. Riders can choose from five different routes tailored to skill and endurance - all start in Greenlawn and continue through residential areas along roadways with sweeping water views. Participation costs $25-$30. 

LIBC

Long Island Bicycle Club

INFO 516-489-3958, www.libike.org

ANNUAL DUES $20 ($25 family)

WHERE THEY RIDE Rides fan out from Westbury High School to destinations in all parts of the North and South shores.
This club stages rides to all parts of Long Island with groups assembled according to skill and endurance levels. Rides and routes are detailed on the Web site. Club president Bill Selsky says that the club also arranges holiday-weekend-long ride/tours in New England and Pennsylvania with overnight stays in local motels.

UPCOMING Rides every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m.

MPBC

Massapequa Park Bicycle Club

INFO massparkbikeclub.org

WHERE THEY RIDE South Shore

ANNUAL DUES $20 ($25 family)

Families are encouraged to bring children on group rides scheduled all over Long Island year-round, says membership secretary Ed Major. The group hosts rides designed with different paces and terrains.

UPCOMING Attend a general member meeting 8 p.m. April 9 at Massapequa Park Village Hall. New to group riding? Try the 8:30 a.m. flat, 26-mile ride from Massapequa Park to Freeport on April 17. The group's annual "Tour of the Hamptons" ride is scheduled for Sept. 26.

SBRA

Suffolk Bicycle Riders Association

INFO sbraweb.org

WHERE THEY RIDE Mid-to-eastern Suffolk

ANNUAL DUES $20 ($25 family)

Founded in 1977, this club stages a host of riding events - the annual Bike/Boat/Bike ride (June 6) around eastern Suffolk attracts more than 1,000 bicyclists, says president Bob DeVito.

UPCOMING Newbies are invited to the group's general meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at the New Village Recreation Center in Centereach as well. Its "Spring Welcome Ride," 9 a.m. April 17, is a flat, 15-mile route from Mount Sinai to Middle Island suitable for beginners. For seasoned riders, the 100-mile "Montauk Rail Road Ride" is scheduled for May 8. Preregistration required.

BIKE AROUND LONG ISLAND

INFO bikearoundlongisland.com

WHERE THEY RIDE Islandwide

ANNUAL DUES None

This informal, three-decade-old club was founded by George Waldbusser, who is affectionately called "the Trail Boss" by its 224 members. "We just ride for the fun of it and don't get into special events or meetings," says Waldbusser.

UPCOMING Jones Beach rides are scheduled for 9 a.m. April 10 and 17 from Bethpage State Park. 

BIKEHAMPTON

INFO 631-725-7329, bikehampton.com

WHERE THEY RIDE East End, South Fork

ANNUAL DUES None

This informal club stages year-round group rides led by experienced bicyclists. Between 25 and 50 riders generally participate, says organizer David Krum. Routes include a 47-mile loop around the Hamptons (often along the shoreline) as well as a 37-mile tour of Shelter Island.

UPCOMING Weather permitting, rides start at 7:30 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday at BikeHampton in Sag Harbor.

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