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Posted on: December 11, 2023

DOZENS OF CYCLISTS SHOW UP FOR "RIDE WITH THE COMMISSIONER" BIKE RIDE EVENT AT OLIVEIRA PARK

Bike Ride

At least two dozen cyclists participated in a six-mile bike ride on the West Rail Trail with Brownsville City Commissioner At-Large “B” Dr. Rose Gowen. Despite cold and brisk winds, the cyclists gathered at Joe and Tony Oliveira Park for a "Ride with the Commissioner" event  held on Sunday, December 10 ,2023.

The cyclists rode to the Brownsville Flea Market, taking a break there for about 20 minutes before heading back to Oliveira Park. Brownsville City Manager Helen Ramirez, AICP, along with other city leaders, joined the bike ride. 

Ramirez expressed excitement about the event, highlighting the success of the West Rail Trail, which transformed an old railroad station into a hike and bike trail. She mentioned that hundreds of thousands of people were already using the trails, and the event showcased the natural beauty of Brownsville.

“We already have hundreds of thousands of people who’ve used our trails, we have been tracking them through data and bike counters, but to see everybody come out and all the natural beautiful landscaping that we have throughout the city. We are going to be trekking six miles all the way to the flea market; hopefully, people will get some wonderful images of how beautiful Brownsville is,” Ramirez said.

Dr. Gowen emphasized the importance of encouraging people to be active and explore opportunities like the West Rail Trail. She noted that not everyone is aware of the trail and its scenic routes, and events like this provide an opportunity for people to discover and try it on their own.

“Getting people off the couch is very important and showing them opportunities and choices that they can try is very important so not everyone knows what the West Rail Trail is and not everyone knows where the West Rail Trail leads, so we are giving them an opportunity to say ‘hey look at this, it’s kind of neat why don’t you try it on your own as well’,” Dr. Gowen said.

The West Rail Trail's development originated from a grassroots movement by residents in West Brownsville who opposed a toll road in their neighborhoods. They successfully advocated for the development of a hike-and-bike trail instead. Larry Hollmann, one of the founders of the West Trail neighborhood group, expressed gratitude for the members who worked to make the trail a reality. The group had been active since 2008, with the West Rail Trail being the result of their efforts.

Dr. Gowen said that more "Ride with the Commissioners" events are anticipated in the future.

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