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Old 05-07-06, 07:45 PM   #1
SMN21601
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New York Five Boro Tour 2006

Hey everyone...weigh in...how do you think this year's tour went? It was my first time and I totally enjoyed myself. There were a few more "stop n go's" than I had expected, but all in all I thought the whole thing was well coordinated and I felt completely comfortable on the course. -Scott
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Old 05-07-06, 09:10 PM   #2
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I have only missed one year in the last 11 of the 5Boro. This was an average year. it went well , the stop and go's were in the usual places so I expected it and just enjoyed the rolling party. Transalt does a great job of putting on this event.
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Old 05-08-06, 04:28 AM   #3
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My first 5-boro ride, and despite what people have said about it, I had a fabulous ride. Isn't it amazing how people don't follow good guidelines? (See page 19 of official program and guide):

* Stay to the right if you are riding slowly; faster cyclists pass on the left
* Use care when changing lanes! Check for overtaking cyclists. Do not cut off others when changing lanes
* Signal with your voice before passing; call out "on your right" or "on your left"

So many maniacs on the ride...
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Old 05-08-06, 07:10 AM   #4
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Seemed like there were ALOT of BAD accidents this year. I really feel for the EMS workers who pedal through the tour w/ that stretcher thing behind them. No sirens or lights,just them yelling "EMS" to try to get through the backup that inevitably happens around a bad crash.

But it was a fun tour. The weather was perfect, which is always nice. And it seemed that they had the ferry thing down to a science this year.

Did anyone else see that VFW bagpipe band in the 50's? Pretty awesome. Seemed like they were winding through the streets to keep everyone cheery in the queue to get into Central Park. Nothing like hearing "When the Caissons go Rolling Along" and the Marine Corps Anthem on bagpipes.
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Old 05-08-06, 08:12 AM   #5
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I saw a few crashes along the route (one just 2 feet in front of me) but these were relatively minor. Being in EMS for 16 years...I have a TON of respect for the Bike-Medics...they have a tough job (that they love! ) and they do a fantastic job...it was great to see them out there with us. I also enjoyed the bagpipes...lots of fun those guys were having!

The one thing that I was thinking about that might help in the future was using those portable electronic road signs indicating hard turns / steep hills / speed-humps in a few of the more accident prone spots, rather than having the marshalls announcing it over bull-horns. I know I had a hard time hearing / understanding some of the instructions over the bull-horns because of other noise and maybe the signs could be a help.

And...I must give a big thanks to NYPD...they were great with keeping things safe and orderly. And besides...my wife talked to 5 different officers on S. I. to get directions to pick me up...every one of them was as cool as could be she said.

I'll definately be back for next year's ride!

-Scott
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Old 05-08-06, 08:46 AM   #6
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I had a great time too, but I also noticed a lot of crashes, some of them sounded worse than others. I only saw a few that weren't bad and I stopped for one guy that looked like he was trying to get on the sidewalk for some reason when he flipped over. I did almost collide w/ one rider who tried to pull over from the left to the right at one accident site and had to yell, "Keep moving" because it was already bottlenecking w/ rubberneckers. As is the usual for this ride, a lot of riders didn't bother to look behind them before moving left or right so you always had to be careful.

[e] Just thought I'd share this funny bit. I saw a guy on a GMC Denali roadbike (available at Walmart) pass by me and a guy on a Litespeed. As the Denali passed the Litespeed guy, I heard him say something like, "Oh, a challenge, huh?" and then he cranked it up to 60 watts. I passed him a second later and after that I kinda lost track of him and the Denali cuz I didn't care either way. I guess he knew enough about bikes to have his ego bruised by a guy on a Denali, but not enough to just appreciate that the rider was in good enough shape to ride past him.
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Old 05-08-06, 09:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wintermute
Did anyone else see that VFW bagpipe band in the 50's? Pretty awesome. Seemed like they were winding through the streets to keep everyone cheery in the queue to get into Central Park. Nothing like hearing "When the Caissons go Rolling Along" and the Marine Corps Anthem on bagpipes.
Yes, those bagpipes were awesome, like many parts of the trip, unexpected. That one really stood out for me.

Outside of a few glitches, an incredibly well organized event - especially since it seemed like the majority of folks out there were weekend warriors or less (meaning they don't ride that often). It would have been nice if there could of been signs telling slower folks to stay right - there was too many faster riders dodging in & out.
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Old 05-08-06, 10:14 AM   #8
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WOW! It seems like everyone on the board seen at least one crash! Incredible. I enjoyed myself too and the weather was perfect. It was enjoyable. Here are some of my breath taking moments.

1. Crash --- I saw this older guy cut off a kid and locked up wheels with him. Both went down hard and the bike flipped over the kid about 10 feet from me. The kid wanted to cry but held it in. Both were OK.

2. Guy and water bottle --- A guy about 5 feet from me was trying to extract his waterbottle, when he dropped it! That bottle skid across my front wheel inches from the tire!

3. Atlantis and Rider --- I saw for the first time, a beautiful Atlantis. It's owner unfortunately, was being hauled into an ambulance!

4. Nearly locked handlebars --- A guy was cutting me off on the bridge when I drifted slightly into him and we nearly locked handlebars! I guess you can say it was half our fault but people certainly were taking chances.
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Old 05-08-06, 10:38 AM   #9
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OK, Ill bite. Heres a summary of my experience yesterday on the 5-Boro Bike Tour.

Ive done the ride in the past, but not in a long time (lots of knee surgery over the years, topped off with a recent knee replacement, which cleared up all my knee problems and let me get back on the bike). My plan was to ride with my old friend Miss W. Shes a very fit cyclist, and has ridden any number of centuries and long rides in the past. We agreed to meet at the PATH station at the World Trade Center site. She was coming in from Hoboken, and Im in the Battery Park City area, so that seemed like the best spot. Our rendezvous was scheduled for 6:30. That way, we thought that wed be able to start somewhere near the front of the pack. We were both pre-registered, so we didnt have to line up to pick up our vests and numbers.

For a number of reasons, some of which are still unclear to me, Miss W. did not arrive until 7:30. By that time, Church Street was packed with cyclists, and we ended up somewhere in the last third (I guess) of the pack.

So we took off. There were a number of stops as the police blocked the pack to allow traffic to pass, and there were various bottlenecks along the route (entering and leaving Central Park, in Manhattan, especially).

Somewhere in Central Park, Miss W.s shifters disintegrated. Both of them. I know the odds of this happening are about the same as those of winning the lottery, but it happened. Her Cannondale bike is equipped with Shimano brake lever/shifters (as is my Trek 520). Im guessing her bike is about eight years old, and its always been maintained pretty well at her local shop. Somehow the shifter implosion left her in the big ring in front, and on the largest cog in the back. So not only was she cross-chained, but stuck in a pretty useless gear.

I examined the shifters, but I was unable to come up with a fix. I was able to move the chain to a more suitable cog in the back, but still, Miss W. was riding a single-speed bike from that point on. However, as I said above, shes a pretty fit rider, so she was able to proceed at a reasonable pace for the rest of the ride. Unfortunately, at this point, we were pretty much in the back of the pack.

We continued northward through Central Park. The weather had warmed up a bit from the somewhat chilly early hours, and it was turning into a perfect day for riding. We left the park (having to pass through a bottleneck that forced us to walk the bikes) and continued north through Manhattan and over the Madison Avenue Bridge into the Bronx. The Bronx portion of the ride is more of an afterthought than anything else its just long enough so that the ride can accurately be called the 5-Boro Bike Tour. After returning to Manhattan, we rode down the FDR Drive to the Queensboro Bridge.

At this point, we were so far back in the pack that the marshals diverted us away from the Astoria Park stop and to the Con Edison rest area. I was sorry to miss Astoria Park its a really nice park but we stopped at Con Ed and filled up on bananas and topped off our water bottles.

Then it was onward through Brooklyn, which was my favorite part of the ride. Through Greenpoint, then Williamsburg. Both the hipster part and the Hasidic part. Quite a contrast. The hipster part seemed to be home to most of the fixie riders, while the Hasidic part was packed with little kids who appeared to be really excited to see all those bikes going by. They were waving and practically jumping up and down. Then we passed the Navy Yard, passing through the edges of downtown Brooklyn, then past Fulton Landing, then onto the BQE for the final stretch to the Verazzano Bridge.

Up over the bridge we went (with poor Miss W. mashing hard in a pretty high gear). Right at the end of the bridge was the park where the ride festivities were held. We decided, because we were running late, to go directly to the Staten Island Ferry, but it took us quite some time to work our way through the crowd before we could get back on the bikes and ride the last couple of miles to the ferry. But we did, and we waited about half an hour for the ferry.

We returned safely to Manhattan. Miss W. and I had planned to go to a pub in lower Manhattan and have a celebratory pint or two, but by this point we were running very late for our (separate) plans for the evening, so we parted company, she to the PATH station at the WTC, and me off to home and a nice cold beer there.

All in all the ride was great. It would have been better if we werent stuck at the back of the pack, but that was a combination of our own fault (Miss W. being very late) and bad luck (the shifters). I really enjoyed seeing the huge variety of people riding a huge variety of bikes from elderly people on ancient British three-speeds to kids in trailers, hipsters on fixies dressed in jeans or cargo shorts and cycling caps, tandems, folding bikes, exotic unobtanium racers, dull but sturdy old touring bikes, the occasional bit of serious bling (Rivendells, Waterfords, etc.), beautiful vintage Campagnolo-equipped Italian racing bikes, recumbents, recumbent tricycles(!) and just about every kind of bike you can imagine.

And I decided that Im replacing the brake/shifter combos on my bike with plain old bar-ends as soon as possible.
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Old 05-08-06, 12:03 PM   #10
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Great times all around. Third year and it went the smoothest by far (VIP pass to the front of the line probably had something to do with it - didn't (and wouldn't) buy the pass, got it for helping with Achilles Track Club). It was really nice blowing by the place where my 3 + hour ferry wait oddessy started last year and rolling right down the ramp and hopping onto the ferry with no wait at all.
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Old 05-08-06, 01:51 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by jyossarian
[e] Just thought I'd share this funny bit. I saw a guy on a GMC Denali roadbike (available at Walmart) pass by me and a guy on a Litespeed. As the Denali passed the Litespeed guy, I heard him say something like, "Oh, a challenge, huh?" and then he cranked it up to 60 watts. I passed him a second later and after that I kinda lost track of him and the Denali cuz I didn't care either way. I guess he knew enough about bikes to have his ego bruised by a guy on a Denali, but not enough to just appreciate that the rider was in good enough shape to ride past him.
Saw that GMC Denali road bike at the festival too. It was black though, not blue. My brother was thinking of doing this ride with me, but he didn't have a bike and renting was like $70 a day. Should've have brought him to Wally World now that I can confidently say that it'll last at least 40 miles
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Old 05-08-06, 03:06 PM   #12
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Saw that GMC Denali road bike at the festival too. It was black though, not blue. My brother was thinking of doing this ride with me, but he didn't have a bike and renting was like $70 a day. Should've have brought him to Wally World now that I can confidently say that it'll last at least 40 miles
Heck, there's plenty of little kids that do it on WalMart BMX bikes. Just keep 'em on a steady stream of sugar and hotdogs and they could pedal those things across the country.
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Old 05-08-06, 03:20 PM   #13
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Heck, there's plenty of little kids that do it on WalMart BMX bikes. Just keep 'em on a steady stream of sugar and hotdogs and they could pedal those things across the country.
I'm a slow rider and the only folks I was able to pass were those riding MTB's and beach cruisers.

I could not believe the heavy bikes people were doing that tour on. Seriously. These were single speed, chrome fender, beach cruisers that looked like they weighed 40 pounds or more! There were kids doing the tour on BMX bikes and some had training wheels. Incredible.
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Old 05-08-06, 03:46 PM   #14
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Wish i had gone, but i had big exams friday and saturday which left me with no energy.
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Old 05-08-06, 04:36 PM   #15
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Let me chime in,

First of all, it's not a tour!!! It is a 40-mile (give or take a few) ride. I do that almost every day commuting. Secondly, I didn't do it this year. In fact, I only did it once before, in 2003. It was OK, kind of a 'stop & go' ride with too many people without common sense of how to ride a bike in groups. I feel no need to do it again, unless someone gives me a VIP pass so I can start at the front

Actually, I prefer longer rides with less people. The NYC Century in September is my favorite.

I don't want to sound too negative about the 5-Borough Ride. I mean it is a great promotion and awareness campaing for cycling in general, and folks organizing it always do an excellent job. It just seems less enjoyable with sooo many people riding less than predictably.

Just my 2 pennies
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Old 05-08-06, 04:55 PM   #16
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where are the pics!
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Old 05-08-06, 05:51 PM   #17
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I only took a few pics. Here are mine.
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Old 05-08-06, 07:19 PM   #18
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5 Boro bike tour

This was my first time doing the tour ride and i enjoyed myself too, i hope that those who were hurt would be ok and not seriously hurt, but i did see alot of careless and rude riders who would cut you off and not even signal to you, the rest areas were well organized with snacks, water, potties, EMS and bike repair, but overall the tour was alot of fun.
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Old 05-08-06, 09:33 PM   #19
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Thought this year's tour was great. Sure, there were a few people that clearly hadn't ridden since last year's tour, but all-in-all it was tons of fun.

Here is a google map of the 5 Boro Bike Tour route:
http://www.nycbikemaps.com/5_Boro_Bike_Tour_2006.html

From: http://www.nycbikemaps.com
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Old 05-09-06, 07:45 AM   #20
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sure, it's not a "tour" tour, but it is a very long ride for 90% of the bike riders out there. i don't plan to ever do a "tour" tour, I max out a centuries and hope to do some short brevets.

But how cool is it that 30,000+ people get together to celebrate all things bicycle? And most of those people are trying their darndest to make it the whole 42 miles. Plus, I don't care who you are, the BQE and the Verazano are pretty tough. And how cool is it that the busiest city in the world pretty much shuts down for those 30,000+ people? And most of those people would never get to see many of the awesome, non-touristy sites any other way.

It's not a tour, it's an event. I spend most of my time during the tour just checking out what bikes people are riding: 16 pound road bikes, downhill monstrosities, bargain bin junkers, old univegas converted to sweet fixies, old touring bikes, Rivendells, recumbents (there were alot of those this year), human-powered cars, those high two bikes welded together things, heck, I even saw a penny farthing 2 years ago.
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Old 05-09-06, 11:52 AM   #21
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My third BNY. Great ride.
Weather was great. First time I could ride into Queens on a BNY without getting soaked.

Started fairly close to the front, about 4 blocks from the start line, at Thomas Street. Sixth Ave moved better than previous years. Just the usual bottleneck before entering Central Park. Everything moved smoothly until Astoria Park rest area. The tour wasn't allowed to leave the Park until 10:05, and I got caught in the wait and the bottleneck that followed.

Queens wasn't good to me. My spare water bottle fell off my pack and smashed the cap. Lost my right glove at Astoria Park (it was an old pair anyway). The pedal reflector that held my right toe clip in place fell off and I had to take off the toe clip and stow it in the pack. Felt odd riding with one clip, but I worked out OK.

They re-paved Franklin Street. No more cobbles.

I didn't see any accidents or crashes this year. Previous years (with the rain) there were many. Didn't even see much activity in the First Aid tents. The accidents must have happened later.
Seemed to be the usual breakdown and flats.

Got to Fort Wadsworth at noon, had a quick lunch and was on my way to the Ferry by 12:25. Got to the Ferry slip in time to go straight onto the one loading. No waiting this year. And the boat was clean and well lit for a change (no smell). Not crowded in like cattle. Back in Manhattan a little after 1:00.

Between the pre-tour warm up ride and the post-tour ride, finished the day with 72 miles.

Good - Great weather, better organization, good police control of the intersections, well run rest stops, good ferry service.
Bad - Slow riders staying left, novice riders who can't keep their line straight, riders going too fast for the crowd, pedestrians trying to cross the road mid-tour, the awful breakfast bars they had as snacks, the guy ahead of me riding no-hands and lighting up a cigarette.

Noticed something interesting about the different boroughs. People on Manhattan seemed a little annoyed at the tour, we weren't in the Bronx long enough to see many people there, in Queens they seemed like they didn't care, but in Brooklyn and Staten Island there were cheering sections by the road side.
Did anyone else see the little old lady in the wheelchair on the front porch in Greenpoint waving like mad?

Did they come out with an official attendance count? I know the news was saying 30,000, but I saw rider numbers up to 66,000's.

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Old 05-09-06, 01:48 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by wintermute
It's not a tour, it's an event. I spend most of my time during the tour just checking out what bikes people are riding: 16 pound road bikes, downhill monstrosities, bargain bin junkers, old univegas converted to sweet fixies, old touring bikes, Rivendells, recumbents (there were alot of those this year), human-powered cars, those high two bikes welded together things, heck, I even saw a penny farthing 2 years ago.
This is exactly why I went. There are some of the most expensive bikes in production in that ride. You see so many bikes I think people take out of their basement in 30 years! The guy that rides the Penny farthing was there and I rode next to him!
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Old 05-10-06, 06:54 PM   #23
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I am a little ashamed to say that my brother did the bike tour on a GMC Denali. He has almost 200 miles on it and it is still running well. Of course it isn't as smooth as my Specialized Transition Multi-Sport. The shifting and brakes are rough on the Walmart bike, and of course it's quite heavy. I also did see a black GMC Denali on the ferry and I was surprised that some one else had a Walmart Bike.
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Old 05-10-06, 08:48 PM   #24
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Had a blast on the ride. A buddy of mine (who rides a Specialized Rockhopper) & I marshaled the ride. We were at the tail end of the ride (got to SI at 2pm).

We took it real easy. I personally saw 2 accidents as they occured.

- First was a kid in CP. He was hugging the curb and brushed it and fell over on the dirt. I assisted. A little tear and it was all good.

- 2nd accident happened 10 ft in front of us. One guy (on a road bike) in passed an older gentleman (who was riding a LeMond Carbon/Steal) too close. The older gentleman got startled and swerved and they collided. The older gentleman hit and I saw his head hit the floor.

Both guys down. We rushed over, but they were able to sit up. The older guy's helmet was scratched up. No scratches or bruises. I made an accident report just in case (just wrote down vest #).

I assisted the EMS twice when they had to bring the stretcher out. I was the one riding backwards on the FDR screaming "move to your left, stretcher coming through".

The bagpipes by the FDR was cool!

It was such a nice ride. I only averaged 9MPH. My assignment was to assist the SAG team. But I moved up just a bit and rode the tail end of the ride instead.

I witness MANY MANY MANY 0MPH falls! Lots of people forgot they were clipped in. It was funny. They laughed at themselves.

All in all, it was a great ride! I had a much better time this year than I did last year because I was going slow and really enjoying it. Last year, I was trying to gain speed and was annoyed at the slow moving cyclists.

But I did manage to average 16MPH the last 10 miles of the ride! From DUMBO to SI, I avg 16MPH. It was awesome to have steam left and really crank it up the VZ bridge and pass everyone when everone's dead tired.

Good times.....good times. Maybe next year, we can get a BF.net marshal team together!
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Old 05-11-06, 09:58 AM   #25
wintermute
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Originally Posted by Cadd
Good times.....good times. Maybe next year, we can get a BF.net marshal team together!

Hey Cadd, I always wondered if you Marshals have a fun time during the ride. I always thought that too much time would be herding and shouting on bullhorns to enjoy the ride. What's your experience w/ it?
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