Sunday, May 1, 2011

Five Boro Bike Tour - Quick Report

Coming off the Queensboro Bridge. Beautiful weather.
As I had mentioned yesterday, I rode through the five boroughs of New York on the Five Boro Bike Tour. Though I have fun on this ride every year, this year was particularly memorable because I had a chance to ride with my brother as well as the son of one of my cycling buddies. Sometimes, being on a bike isn't about going fast or climbing high... it's about sharing an experience with friends and family.

The ride, as always, starts from downtown Manhattan and winds its way through the canyons of Gotham until it reaches Central Park. In prior years, I'd make my way downtown to start at the "official" starting line but this year I decided to just catch the ride as it rode through Central Park. Doing this let me sleep about 2 hours later and avoid the crush of cyclists downtown.

After riding through Harlem and making a (very) quick excursion into the Bronx, we ended up on the FDR Drive. Usually one of the most hectic and dangerous roads in the city, it was closed to traffic this morning as we wandered down to the Queensboro Bridge. The Queensboro Bridge is typically where most first-time riders have a problem. As you can see below, the route is extremely flat.... and the climbs are where the bridges are. Like every year, numerous riders had to get off their bikes to walk up the bridge. They got too excited and didn't pace their way up the climb.
Map and elevations of the Tour. The climbs are the bridges. Otherwise, the route is extremely flat.
Once we got over the Queensboro Bridge, it was a matter of just wandering through Queens and Brooklyn. There were some really pretty sights and the weather was perfect. About 67F with plenty of sunshine. One of the highlights (for me) is passing in front of Grimaldi's Pizza... Every year, I have the urge to get off my bike and go in for a pie. Yum. The last stretch of the ride along the Belt Parkway is always pleasant though there is always a headwind on that stretch of the ride. My brother and I made our way through the course and took our time crossing the Verrazzano Bridge and into Staten Island. We ended up finishing the ride at around lunchtime, making for a great morning.

As with every year, it's really quite awesome to see all these people out on the roads and enjoying the ride. The ride is extremely well organized and all the participants were happy and excited about the day. There are definitely times when a smile and a wave of the hand is more fulfilling than the latest carbon aero wheels. And for those of you who aren't sure if you can do this ride.... give it a shot! I rode it with a 7 year old who was on a single speed BMX bike and he completed the whole ride!

Congrats to all who rode today. All 32,000 of you!

Update: Though I did not have any problems on the ride, apparently several thousand people did. Due to some poor planning by the organizers, there were several areas where people were held up for >1 hour at a time! Totally unfortunate and understandably upsetting to anybody who wanted a nice, leisurely ride. Hopefully they can plan better next year and this won't discourage people from participating in the future.

1 comment:

  1. I was doing some research on this ride and came upon your post. It sounds you had a great time during this time, and thank you for sharing your experience. Glad it was a safe experience for you.