5 Boros, 4 Hours, 3 Friends, 2 Wheels, 1 Ferry, 0 Cars
In January, we signed up online for the Five Boro Bike Tour in New York City.
Gayle, Vance and Cindy entered as a team named "Le Tour de Vance".
Within only a few days 31,997 other riders also registered to
participate in the event to take place on Sunday, May 7.
We arrived in the city on Saturday afternoon with our bikes,
checked into our hotel, and headed to the Bike Expo to pick up our
participation packets containing our bib numbers and helmet covers.
We ate pasta and gelato in Little Italy before walking back to the hotel
to get a good night's sleep in preparation for tomorrow's 4o mile ride.
By 7:30 AM,
we were in line on Church Street in lower Manhattan,
joining all of the other riders in our starting wave.
Among those in our starting wave were friends
from back home - Lisa and Daryll!
Everyone in the crowd was excited for the start of the "tour".
Note: this was not a "race".
The route we were about to begin would take us through
the five Boros of New York:
Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.
We headed up 6th Avenue and through Central Park.
We stopped at the first official "rest stop"
after about 10 miles
where our son, Adam, was waiting to see us.
There were also lots of snacks - bagels, bananas, raisins,
juice, etc along with about 25 porta-potties.
This was our only stop of the day
(although there were many other rest stops).
We headed down the FDR. The highway was closed to traffic on one side.
The tunnels were a lot of fun, especially when the riders all made
noises which echoed loudly off the walls.
There were quite a few biking accidents along the way, and at one point
we had to stop and wait for an emergency vehicle to come for the injured rider.
Next, we crossed the Queensboro Bridge into Queens.
The whole course was pretty flat except for the bridges
which consisted of an ascent and descent.
This was my favorite bridge of the day!
I was very impressed with how this huge event was run.
With so many people, it could have been crazy.
They took great care to prepare the roads.
Not only were all 40 miles of road swept clean
of debris, glass, and loose stone,
but all potholes appearedto be freshly filled.
They also took the time to spray paint inspiring
messages on the road at key points on the course.
And the people of New York also provided entertainment along the way!
After riding through neighborhoods of Queens resembling
that of Archie Bunker in "All in the Family",
we headed into Brooklyn.
The final stretch to the Verrazano Bridge seemed to be the most
challenging with long gradual inclines.
The Verrazano Bridge was the toughest climb of the day.
It wasn't steep, but it was long and it was at the end
of a 40 mile ride.
The downhill on the 2nd half of the bridge to the finish line was a great way to
end the ride!
Special 40th Anniversary finishing medals were given out at the finish.
In order to get back to Manhattan, it was necessary to get back on
our bikes and ride 3 miles to the Staten Island Ferry. We didn't realize
that this was actually part of the 40 miles until we passed the
40 mile marker.
As we waited for the next ferry to arrive, it began to drizzle and
we were getting cold - probably because we weren't moving anymore.
We were glad to get on the ferry where it was warm and dry.
The view out the window was nice too.
This day was truly fun, from start to finish. Vance and I had never ridden
40 miles in one day before, but it was an easy ride with lots of things
to see and surrounded by 32,000 happy people who were having
just as much fun as we were.
We will be back.
(Some of the photos are mine,
but photo credits must be given to the participants
who posted many of their pictures on
Instagram under the hashtag #fiveborobiketour!)