BY LYNN EDMONDS
Yes, it is possible to exercise and indulge at the same time.
On Saturday, “The man who ate Queens,” will for the first time lead a guided tour of some of Queens’ best ethnic food – by bike.
The tour will be done in collaboration with the Queens Bike Initiative, a grassroots organization that is advocating for more bike lanes to connect parks in northwestern Queens. The group has collected 2,250 petitions since they launched in July.
Flushing’s Chinese food courts, Jackson Heights’ Tibetan restaurants and Sunnyside’s Turkish Markets will be just some of the spots the tour, called “Cycling the Seven,” because it loosely follows the path of the No. 7 train, hits up.
“I live for this, to find the best dumpling, the best Muslim lamb ribs, the best Thai noodle soups, the best tofus,” he said.
DiStefano says biking will be the perfect way to sample a variety of foods without getting tired from walking or impatient from waiting for the train.
But the foodie admitted he was trepidatious at first. “I never thought I would be doing a bike food tour,” he said, “I’m terrified of being on a bike in city streets, I’ve never been on one!”
Since then, the food writer and author of the blog “Chopstick and Marrow” has been on two practice rides. He said participants don’t need to be experienced bikers, but they should be comfortable on a bike.
Laura Newman, the Queens Bike Initative member who dreamed up the ride, explained why it got her excited.
“[Our] biking-savvy combined with his food-savvy and cultural-neighborhood savvy, we thought would be a perfect pairing,” she said.
Newman said that though the ride will loosely follow the No. 7 train, it will take a prettier route and avoid riding directly under the elevated tracks. Several marshals will accompany the participants who will be capped at 15.
“We are traveling in a caravan so that people who are a little more insecure go in the middle,” Newman said.
The tour will cost $30 – a bargain compared to the $70 that DiStefano usually charges, Newman said.
Newman said she hopes the ride will propel the Queens Bike Initiative’s efforts to make the borough more bikeable for recreational riders and commuters alike.
“We feel strongly that would improve so many aspects of life if we had more bike lanes,” she said. “We need a network, like a grid, so that you can go not only east to west but north to south.”
The bicycle commuter added that currently most bike paths in Queens help bikers get to Manhattan but are not designed to facilitate travel intra-borough travel.
For more information about the tour, visit facebook.com/qusnbike. To view the Queens Bike Initative petition, visit qns.bike/petition.
Reach Lynn Edmonds at (718) 357-7400 x127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @Ellinoamerikana