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  1. #1
    HenryL HenryL's Avatar
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    5 Boro Bike Tour Scam

    So my buddy has on his bucket list riding the 5 boro bike tour. Not my favorite cycling event but why not. Well registration was a disaster with double billings or no registration, but eventually it is resolved. Now we get an email saying you can pick up your riding vest the day before at the "free" cycling expo. Free is a relative term. Between tolls, parking, travel time etc, the "free" expo is just another scam to extract money from riders who just want to spend a day riding.
    The response from the organizers, "you should have read the fine print, you can get someone else to pick up the vest, or we can change your registration into a tax write off donation."

    Thanks organizers for completely screwing up the event. Expect the CC dispute process to begin shortly

  2. #2
    "LOGIC!" lopek77's Avatar
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    Fine print victim ;-)
    I always assume that the famous "fine print" is either to save on paper OR to try to scam in some way... I will go with the second option.
    "The clear problem of the outlawing of insult is that too many things can be interpreted as such. Criticism, ridicule, sarcasm, merely stating an alternative point of view to the orthodoxy, can be interpreted as insult." - Rowan Atkinson
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  3. #3
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    I don't understand what the scam is. I thought this is about how the money from registration is used. I'm hoping that the money they raise really go to a good cause.

    Most races require you to pick up your packet, BIB, and swag before the event. And they're all free. Of course you have to drive, take time and energy to go but this is a fact about events in general (running, tris, cycling, etc).

  4. #4
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    They've been mailing the packets out for years. Many years ago they did a packet pickup at a bike expo and it was a disaster, nobody knew what was going on. And the bike expo itself was just a bunch of second rate vendors. I'm expecting the same this year. And if I didn't live in the city I'd just skip the event altogether. I wouldn't want to travel in just to pick up my packet, that's a real inconvenience especially to someone that lives close enough to come from home the day of the ride. Now they have to do the trip twice. That's enough to talk me out of it.

    Is it a scam? Not really, but it is thinly disguised merchandising.

    And I just looked closely at where the packet pick up is, it isn't near ANYTHING. It is downtown Manhattan where no cyclist ever goes, not near a subway. What idiots planned this thing? And I think they are already hearing a lot of negative feedback about this and the fact that it is terribly inconvenient for a lot of people. I at least live in Brooklyn, so it isn't a big deal for me, but even then I have to go out of my way to get it.
    Last edited by zacster; 05-01-13 at 07:06 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by zacster View Post
    They've been mailing the packets out for years. Many years ago they did a packet pickup at a bike expo and it was a disaster, nobody knew what was going on. And the bike expo itself was just a bunch of second rate vendors. I'm expecting the same this year. And if I didn't live in the city I'd just skip the event altogether. I wouldn't want to travel in just to pick up my packet, that's a real inconvenience especially to someone that lives close enough to come from home the day of the ride. Now they have to do the trip twice. That's enough to talk me out of it.

    Is it a scam? Not really, but it is thinly disguised merchandising.

    And I just looked closely at where the packet pick up is, it isn't near ANYTHING. It is downtown Manhattan where no cyclist ever goes, not near a subway. What idiots planned this thing? And I think they are already hearing a lot of negative feedback about this and the fact that it is terribly inconvenient for a lot of people. I at least live in Brooklyn, so it isn't a big deal for me, but even then I have to go out of my way to get it.
    Yeah I hear you when it comes to the location. Never been to a real bike expo but when I used to run marathons and half marathons, I always get excited going to the expo since there's so many vendors and other activities going on.

    I understand that the South Street Seaport is a tricky location. I would have preferred in midtown since I'm coming from Long Island and it will take me forever to get there. As of now, I'm actually trying to figure out the train times and transfers. What I plan to do is to a stay a little longer to make the most of my trip.

    And yes it's all about the business! As I said before, as long as the money really goes to that foundation and to good cause, I'm OK. I started doubting these charity events since there are cases where a measly amount actually goes through the cause. I hope I'm wrong.

  6. #6
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    Bike New York is a pretty good charity, in my view -- they do a lot to encourage and support biking in the city, particularly for children. As to the packet pick-up, yeah, it's annoying, particularly since they're holding it in one of those little pockets of the LES that's a pain to get to through mass transit. (And, sadly, I'm not going to have my bike that day, so I've got to subway it.)

    Their explanation is that they've had problems with scammers and scalpers either reselling vests or scamming you with a fake one. To prevent it, they're making everyone show up the day or two before in person to claim their vest. Now, was the scamming and reselling really as big a problem as they're making it out to be? Couldn't tell ya. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. But I don't really think it's a "scam" for them to make that change. It's just their response to a perceived problem.
    The most important thing is simply to ride.

  7. #7
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    I've bought vests in the past on Craigslist without any problem. I make sure I'm buying from a rider that can't make the ride, rather than the "resellers" that are frequently scammers. I bought one a few years ago from someone on the forums that I knew had been posting here for a long time. It is that kind of sale that they are now preventing, and these are totally legitimate.

    So instead of that, this year I bought the day they went on sale, one for me, one for my daughter. Instead of getting 2 consecutive numbers we ended up with different start times, my number is 98xx, hers is 30xxx. How did that happen? This is a better way? Rather than deal with that we are just going to join the ride in progress. Lining up at the start was always the worst part of the ride anyway.

  8. #8
    I'm a newbie? CodeBrown's Avatar
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    The expo is 6 blocks from the 'F' train stop East Broadway. Is this considered far? I just came from there and packet pickup wasn't hard or confusing. Increased security, but otherwise not bad.

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    I was there too, and it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. They kept things moving for the pickup, I checked out the vendors, but I would not have done that if it weren't for the pickup. There wasn't much that I wanted. They switched my daughter's start time so that we both now line up for 7:45 start.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Vonruden's Avatar
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    I cant wait to ride 40 miles for a good cause.
    "My biggest fear is that when I die my wife will sell my bicycles for what I told her they cost."

    Get on your bikes and ride!

  11. #11
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    We did the ride and were home in Brooklyn by 2pm. There weren't the usual backups at Central Park, the 59th St bridge and in the Bronx. The rest areas went quick, although for the price they could've at least had some bagels. I guess it helps that we were in the first batch and could just keep moving. At the festival we couldn't find ice cream, if there was a vendor there they were pretty well hidden.

    The funny thing is I was exhausted by the time I got home. 40 miles and I felt like I did 200. Last weekend I did a 50 mile ride and I just did my normal stuff when I got home without feeling anything. Today I fell asleep for 3 hours. Maybe it's the fact that it was only 40 miles but almost 8 hours on and off the bike that does it.

  12. #12
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    I too had my concerns, and yes it did suck big time and double my cost because I had to make two trips into the city. But, it was a short walk from the subway, not that bad at all. They had "bike Valet" parking, it was filled, lots of people rode bikes to get there. We got there about an hour after it opened on Saturday, there was no line at the packet pickup. I filled out the form to be a group, and we had consecutive numbers. I was expecting to make one lap or less or the expo then get out, we went up and down every isle, I got a jersey for $20.00, my wife a new helmet at about $50. off regular retail. Every vendor was pleasant to talk with(of course they are selling stuff) even just to chat.
    My wife and I finished up there, then spent way too much enjoyable time in the city. I highly recommend Butter Lane for cupcakes.
    The rest stops did have bagels, boxes and boxes of them, as well as bananas and other stuff people here giving away. Some did have long lines for the port-a-potties, some didn't.
    The only time we stopped was at the rest stops, unlike two years ago on the BQE, etc.
    I don't know what you expect, but an event that has thirty thousand plus people, and spans all of NYC is a big event. The extra security measures didn't make a bit of difference before or during the ride. It won't be perfect for everybody, and you may have some personal inconvenience, but Bike New York did a pretty good job of it.
    Try some of their other rides, they are run very well.
    If you don't know the way, you shouldn't be going there.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by CodeBrown View Post
    The expo is 6 blocks from the 'F' train stop East Broadway. Is this considered far? I just came from there and packet pickup wasn't hard or confusing. Increased security, but otherwise not bad.
    It is far if you live on Long Island. I took the LIRR to Atlantic then took the subway. Then subway to Atlantic Terminal then transfer at Jamaica for train to Hicksville. From Hicksville I drove home. Travel time took almost 1.5 hours one way. I spent 23 on LIRR tickets, 5 dollars on subway plus dinner plus gas.

    As I said I don't mind going to expo and this post is not to vent but to put things to perspective :-) I did enjoy the Five Boro! It was my first time!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjco04 View Post
    It is far if you live on Long Island. I took the LIRR to Atlantic then took the subway. Then subway to Atlantic Terminal then transfer at Jamaica for train to Hicksville. From Hicksville I drove home. Travel time took almost 1.5 hours one way. I spent 23 on LIRR tickets, 5 dollars on subway plus dinner plus gas.

    As I said I don't mind going to expo and this post is not to vent but to put things to perspective :-) I did enjoy the Five Boro! It was my first time!
    Many years ago, before they started mailing the packets, they did a bike expo at a hotel directly across the street from Penn. I purposely rode in to work last week so I could ride to the packet pickup which I thought was further downtown. That area of Manhattan is still pretty much out of the way, and even as a Brooklyn native I'm totally unfamiliar with it. When I passed by Rutgers st on the way to the Manhattan bridge I realized the F train couldn't have been too far as I know the F goes through the Rutgers tunnel, although I never knew exactly where that was.

  15. #15
    Car-Free Flatlander Stacy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zacster View Post

    And I just looked closely at where the packet pick up is, it isn't near ANYTHING. It is downtown Manhattan where no cyclist ever goes, not near a subway. What idiots planned this thing? And I think they are already hearing a lot of negative feedback about this and the fact that it is terribly inconvenient for a lot of people. I at least live in Brooklyn, so it isn't a big deal for me, but even then I have to go out of my way to get it.
    Actually the pick-up was just off the East Side Bikeway. Plenty of cyclists there and valet parking makes it even better. It's a big tourist area, near the South Street Seaport, the ferry to Governor's Island, etc. If you're not familiar with Lower Manhattan maybe you would've enjoyed a ride around the area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacy View Post
    Actually the pick-up was just off the East Side Bikeway. Plenty of cyclists there and valet parking makes it even better. It's a big tourist area, near the South Street Seaport, the ferry to Governor's Island, etc. If you're not familiar with Lower Manhattan maybe you would've enjoyed a ride around the area.
    I did ride there, and as far as I'm concerned, and confirmed by my ride there, the East Side Bikeway is NOT a bikeway, just a jumble of signed broken up sidewalks. There aren't usually more than a handful of cyclists on it. It wasn't near South Street Seaport, nor the ferries either. It was actually well north of the Manhattan Bridge at the bulge in Manhattan, off the beaten track. As I was riding down from my office on 42nd St I was thinking it would be just past the seaport, but there was suddenly a big crowd of people and I knew I was there.

  17. #17
    Senior Member streetstomper's Avatar
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    I wouldn't call it a scam, but I would call it incredibly inconvenient. I moved out of the city years ago and lost touch with the friends who still live there. I'm not going to arrive a day early just for the event and I don't know anybody who can pick up the packet for me. Why couldn't they set up a table near the start line overnight where people who have no other alternative can pick up the packets? All it would take is one or two volunteers. I'm sure most riders wouldn't want to wait until the last minute then wake up that early to pick up their packets, so it wouldn't be a long line.

    The other thing that has dampened my enthusiasm for riding it is the ridiculous, reactionary security theater they and the fearmongering NYPD have instituted. No decent-sized bags, no baskets, no panniers, no hydration packs, etc. Look, if somebody was set on killing a lot of riders, they could do it by ramming a large truck at high speed through the barricades and the people gathered at the start line. They're packed like sardines in there so nobody has room to get out of the way, so they would be sitting ducks. Once they're under way, they're too spread out for any kind of backpack bomb to take out many riders. Why do they always put paranoid idiots in charge of security?

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