Save Cycling at Floyd Bennett Field!

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Etsu Taniguchi
Etsu Taniguchi signed this petition

[Photo Credit:  Bicycle Racing Pictures]

Tuesday, May 7, 2019 marks the first time in 25 years that the Tuesday Night Floyd Bennett Field bicycle race series couldn’t happen.  This is a heartbreaking loss for the New York City cycling community, and one that was unnecessarily caused by Aviator Sports - a private corporation that took over the permitting process from the National Park Service (NPS) and suddenly and arbitrarily increased permit fees by 22,667%.  Aviator must reduce the permit fees in order for racing to continue.  Without this reduction, New York City bike racing starts dying: road racers have nowhere else to go.

For more than a generation, passionate and committed local athletes have used the runways at Floyd Bennett Field for bicycle races.  Due to this sudden and increase in access fees charged by Aviator and the NPS, dozens of amateur cycling races cannot be held this year. Racing is supported by racers’ entry fees, and they just can’t afford to cover this cost.

We ask that Aviator Sports and the NPS drop the fee increase.  We ask for it because it’s the right thing to do.  The bike races are entirely self-contained and are no drain on park resources.  The bike racers are responsible park users, who have no other place to practice the sport we love.

For more than 25 years, the weekly amateur races at Floyd Bennett Field have drawn bike racers, fans, and family members from inside the city and from around the greater NYC area, from all age groups, and from many of the city’s diverse immigrant communities.  They don’t come for pristine asphalt or alpine climbs.  They enjoy the rough road surface and the unrelenting wind; it’s always challenging.  Even professional cyclists from around the globe regularly come to “FBF” to experience the unique magic of racing a bicycle around abandoned airport runways as the sun sets over Jamaica Bay.

The weekly races also employ dozens of New Yorkers who work as marshals and organizers. They work hard to keep our competitions fair and safe.  They also strive to keep the races as inexpensive as possible, because they believe in keeping racing accessible.

The events are traditionally held on weeknights, when demand for space from other park users is low. Cycling on abandoned runways is a low-cost and sustainable fitness activity.

We urge you to reconsider this exorbitant  fee increase that undermines our city’s values of equity and inclusion and providing play spaces for all, and will make one of our largest public parks less accessible to city residents, amateur athletes who want to enjoy a healthy outdoor sport after the workday is over.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.