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Old 03-28-12, 07:24 PM   #1
donheff
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Anyone doing the Five Borough Bike Tour?

My wife and I signed up for the 5 borough ride in New York in May. Anyone else joining in? This is a first for us. We plan to cruise along and see the sites, possibly stop for lunch along the route. If anyone has suggestions for a good lunch stop midway, let us know.
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Old 03-28-12, 07:47 PM   #2
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expect to wait a long time as you walk your bike along the route... it is that crowded.
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Old 03-28-12, 09:05 PM   #3
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I'll be there. Hoping to work my way toward the front and get a decent pace going. (Am I being too optimistic..?)
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Old 03-29-12, 10:07 AM   #4
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Get there early

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Originally Posted by donheff View Post
My wife and I signed up for the 5 borough ride in New York in May. Anyone else joining in? This is a first for us. We plan to cruise along and see the sites, possibly stop for lunch along the route. If anyone has suggestions for a good lunch stop midway, let us know.
My wife and I have done the last two years. First year, got there 8, and got stuck back and did lots of walking. Last year, there at 6, up in the front third, and when we got on the saddle, never walked once. Rode the whole time. This was in a year when thousands got stuck, complained, etc. We had the best experience, but I'm convinced, only happened because we were there early.
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Old 03-29-12, 10:18 AM   #5
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I believe the organizers are trying to make some changes for this year and an effort to address some of the past problems.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20...ds-to-changes/
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Old 03-29-12, 10:47 AM   #6
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Did it last year with my wife. We had planned to get there early, but had some car trouble on the way so we got there later than we planned. Yes we did some standing and walking, it wasn't the best part. Where and when we could ride, I'd say we passed 10000 people.Thing got better as the crowd thinned out, but there where still stoppages. Every rise in the road made people slow down, causing a backup. The bridges that had hills where a mess. People just didn't get the concept of slower traffic keep right. Then somebody would just stop in the middle of the road to take pictures. Many people, especially going up 6th ave at the start, where looking at the buildings and not watching where they where going.
All in all it was a fun day, I'd do it again, and knowing what to expect, it would be more relaxed.
There where some not to bad memerable moments; We where riding in upper Manhattan, some woman was taking to her friend, asking where they where. one of them said "I think this is queens, yeah this is Queens". A course marshal heard this, and yells out "QUEENS? This is Manhattan. You're in HARLEM". I laughed so hard I almost crashed.
We didn't stop for food, so no help there.
Not going this year because it's my sons' 21st birthday.
Good luck, and get there earlier than you think you need to.
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Old 03-29-12, 03:17 PM   #7
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I will be in NYC in early May; didn't know this was going on, but it's too late to get in, unless you want to pay $300 & be a VIP (and even then you pay extra for the jersey). So I'm just going to do my own 5-boro ride the hard way on a day that's less crowded.

L.
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Old 03-29-12, 03:34 PM   #8
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Once was enough! Did the Five Boro Bike Walk last year. Got stuck on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway for over 2 hours, then once we made it to the finish we had to wait another 1.5 hours for the ferry back to Manhattan.
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Old 03-29-12, 03:36 PM   #9
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I will be in NYC in early May; didn't know this was going on, but it's too late to get in, unless you want to pay $300 & be a VIP (and even then you pay extra for the jersey). So I'm just going to do my own 5-boro ride the hard way on a day that's less crowded.

L.
You can easily get 4 boroughs in, but without being able to ride across the Verrazano Bridge you need to take the ferry to Staten Island
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Old 03-29-12, 03:56 PM   #10
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The wife and I are doing this NY ride in May: http://www.granfondony.com/index.php
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Old 03-29-12, 05:22 PM   #11
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This is one of the days I will usually get up early, put the bike in the car and get out of the city to bike since everyone is going the opposite way.
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Old 03-29-12, 05:24 PM   #12
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Once was enough! Did the Five Boro Bike Walk last year. Got stuck on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway for over 2 hours, then once we made it to the finish we had to wait another 1.5 hours for the ferry back to Manhattan.
I have never ridden the Five Boro, but last year we happened to be in NY on the day of the ride to help move my son from Queens to Manhattan. We drove from Jersey into Manhattan to Queens and then back to Manhattan. I was amazed at the thousands of people standing with their bikes along that entire portion of the route. I didn't see many actually riding.
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Old 03-29-12, 05:27 PM   #13
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I did it last year with #1 son (who lives upper east side) on single speeds. We moved well up but not to the front. We walked on and off all the way to Central Park entrance and rode from then on. Very crowded. I'd recommend getting there early and as close to the front as possible. I have some friends doing it also.
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Old 03-29-12, 05:35 PM   #14
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That morning we took our bikes on the subway starting at 86th. More bikes kept getting on as we headed south. We got off and rode because it was way too jammed with bikes -which we thought very strange. People getting on the subway in lower Manhatten with bikes instead of riding a dozen blocks. Very strange vibe.
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Old 03-29-12, 06:38 PM   #15
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Not for $75.00 no bike ride is worth that much and oh I forgot isn't there like 35 thousand riders doesn't sound like fun to me but hey enjoy the view and the ride if you can.
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Old 03-29-12, 06:57 PM   #16
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Never sounded like anything remotely interesting to me. I used to go into the city and roller blade with my youngest daughter on Sunday mornings. That was fun.

Scene: Us, holding hands, skating down a back street towards China Town, with a dead rat in the middle of the street between us.
Me: "Nat - I think that was a rat."
Nat (8 yrs. old): "Yeah, and so was that one back in Bryant Park."
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Old 03-30-12, 06:16 AM   #17
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I love NY so this sounded like fun. Shoulda asked first so I would know about the walking part. We will try to get up front but I suspect a lot of competition for that.
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Old 03-30-12, 06:45 PM   #18
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Aww, donheff, don't be discouraged. You probably received some good advice here about getting there early. In any case, you'll be in NYC, one of the coolest places in the world! If all else fails, I know a little place in SoHo I can send you that is "home of the perfect Mojito."
Have fun and enjoy the event!
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Old 03-30-12, 07:13 PM   #19
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I will NEVER do that again...!
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Old 04-01-12, 04:42 AM   #20
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I've done this a couple of times. Yes, on occasions there was a lot of waiting/walking. But it's not a training event, more of a cultural one. Spoke to dozens of cyclists, not just from New York and the USA, but from all over the world. I even had a few pleasant conversations with New York's finest ...

Yes, people do stop in the middle of the road to take pictures, block off the whole of the road when walking up hills, etc. However, for many, cycling 40+miles is a lifetime achievement and for the couch potatoes and SUV tank drivers, a reminder of the healthy and sustainable activity of cycling as a pastime and a means of transport around the modern megalopolis.

One of my abiding memories is bowling down the Brooklyn Parkway following a whole family of cyclists, dad pulling an infant trailer and mum shepherding a couple of kiddies on their own little bikes in the midst of thousands of other enthusiastic riders. And they weren't hanging around. Where else can you see that other than in other mass cycling events?
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Old 04-02-12, 05:21 PM   #21
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I have done it 5 times and loved it. You do have to get their early and be in the front and by early I mean 6 am. A sneaky way to get up front is to ride the west-side bike path at about 6-7am. Get off at about 16st and ride to 6th ave. Have breakfast. Be on 6th ave at 8 am. The ride will come up 6 ave at about 8:10. Jump on, relax and enjoy the ride. If you are driving to the city I suggest you go to Staten Island and park your car a few blocks from the ferry. Get on the 5:30 or 6 ferry with your bike. The ride ends in Staten Island and you won't get stuck in the crowd going back to the city.
Have fun it's an awesome experience
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Old 05-07-12, 06:02 PM   #22
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Well, it was fun but should have been called the Five Boro Bike and Hike Tour. This year they broke it into three groups of 10,000 each. Not understanding that we described our "level" as "recreational" since we planned to just cruise along the route for fun. Little did we know that put us in the losers group - average speed described as 6 mph . We didn't follow the tips for bypassing the start because we met some friends who were also in the losers group and wanted to meet at the start. In the event the actual average speed was a little over 10 mph but that included some long stretches on free ways where we able to cruise at about 17 mph. In north Harlem there was a mile long walking bottleneck that I understand resulted from EMT vehicles closing off a bridge after a woman crashed her bike and injured herself. As a consequence the tour organizers routed all of us losers away from a 5 mile loop in Queens to get the Tour back on track. If I had known the city and the route better I could have crossed the tip of Manhattan and skipped the bottle neck entirely.

This is not a tour I would recommend for anyone wanting a real ride but fun and interesting if you understand what you are getting into and don't mind. Disclaimer: we probably won't do it again unless someone else talks us into joining them. Here are phone shots of my wife and our riding companions at the start and a random shot in Brooklyn.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Bike1.jpg (94.1 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg Bike2.jpg (80.3 KB, 9 views)

Last edited by donheff; 05-07-12 at 06:10 PM.
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Old 05-07-12, 07:39 PM   #23
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I was in the front group, and got there before sunrise, so I was at the very front. But...

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This year they broke it into three groups of 10,000 each.
Not quite. Besides our 30,000 blue / silver / red starting groups of 10,000 each, there was an additional group of 2,000 VIPs, corporate sponsors and charity fundraisers who started in front of my group - hence the count of 32,000. So I had to work my way past 2,000 riders before I actually got to the front - which happened right after crossing the East River.

From that point onward I was in the leading group of about 25 riders and half a dozen marshals, right behind the convoy of police cars, and about 8 miles from the end. As far as I could see, there were no other riders behind us for at least hal;f a mile. And 8 miles before the end, I CRASHED at about 22mph, on the BQE (Brooklyn Queens Expressway)!

It was a tight group, and 3 people in front of me came down - I believe because of a wheel touch. I managed to swerve around them, but the guy behind me wasn't able to stop in time and took me down with him - then someone came over me. I think 8 people came down. The paramedics came out for one of the guys, but all of their bikes were okay - except for mine! I had to walk 4 miles back to my hotel, because the SAG wagon was more than an hour away and there are no subway stations in that area. So my knee, elbow, shoulder and both hips are a bit banged up, my back and neck have been hurting all day, and I'm pretty bruised.

Worst - my bike's rear wheel looks like a Pringle - it's buckled out of recognition. I'm supposed to be doing a 300km ride on Saturday, so I've spent half my afternoon at the LBS spending money I don't have...

See my thread about it here:
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...oros-Bike-Tour
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Old 05-07-12, 08:38 PM   #24
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I have been to Manhattan only once. My father and brothers went for a weekend to see the Yankees play in the old stadium before they tore it down. The thing that stands out in my memeory is the sea of humanity walking around. Just crossing the street on foot was an adventure. I can't imagine trying to enjoy a cycling event with that kind of congestion. Finding a good pie shop might make it tolerable however...
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Old 05-07-12, 09:09 PM   #25
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Thanks for the up-date, donheff. I was curious to know what you and your wife thought of it.

Sorry to hear of the crash, DGlenday--sounds awfully painful!
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