Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

5 boro bike tour...

Old 04-13-05, 08:21 AM
  #1  
kaisersling
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5 boro bike tour...

Anyone doing the NYC 5 boro ride? I havent done it but I am this year. The photos looked like it is jam packed but I would imagine that clears up as the ride goes.
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Old 04-13-05, 10:01 AM
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I have done this tour twice and for me, it's pure misery. It takes forever to get up 6th avenue to the park because they have to stop us to allow cross streets' traffic. Once that goes, it's a nice ride through Central Park but then you hit 125th street and its a similar problem with 6th ave. You make it over to the east side and things flow pretty well from there until you get to the Verazano Br. Then it's a wait. and a wait. and another wait.

You think you're done when you reach Staten Island but it gets worse. Now crowds line up for the ferry and it's not a pretty picture. People start yelling and shouting because some parts of the line move faster than the other.

All told, both years I did it, it took from 8AM to 4PM just to get back to Manhattan. Then for me I have to go over to Jersey.

As a comparison, in 2003 I did the DC leg of the Tour of Hope and it was soooo smooth. I was done in 2.5 hours and was definitely the most scenic 2.5 hours I've ever ridden. I'm looking for a similar tour this year.

I must add that most of my friends really like this tour. They're casual riders who like riding around and seeing different parts of the city, taking pictures etc. They don't mind the slow pace. I would say that I'm glad I've done the tour but I have had my fill of it.
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Old 04-13-05, 10:48 AM
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Montreal has something called the Tour de l'isle (tour of the island). It is a blast. They close off the whole route to traffic (it's about 40 miles give or take) and have 4 or 5 major rest areas with all kinds of stuff going on, but the best part is that there is a competition to see who has decorated their house and streets the best, so locals go all out.

Since all the streets on the route are closed off to traffic and a fair number of them are in residential areas, Montrealers turn the day into a giant block party. Music, booze, costumes, etc. The ride is basically one long party.

Did it once in a thunderstorm which was horrible, but on a nice day (it's usually nice that time of year) it's a great time. And a great way to see one of North America's nicest cities if you don't know it well.
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Old 04-13-05, 11:21 AM
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I agree 100%.

Last year I did the 5 Boro and it sucked.

So slow and crowded. It is really for the casual rider not any remotely serious roadie.

There were many parts I was walking my bike. Many could not get up the ramps to the bridges.

However, I did the 2003 and 2004 Tour of Hope in DC. 2003 was nice and scenic but 2004 was short and too controlled. I cannot do this year's due to other committments.
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Old 04-13-05, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by JungleCat
I have done this tour twice and for me, it's pure misery. It takes forever to get up 6th avenue to the park because they have to stop us to allow cross streets' traffic. Once that goes, it's a nice ride through Central Park but then you hit 125th street and its a similar problem with 6th ave. You make it over to the east side and things flow pretty well from there until you get to the Verazano Br. Then it's a wait. and a wait. and another wait.

You think you're done when you reach Staten Island but it gets worse. Now crowds line up for the ferry and it's not a pretty picture. People start yelling and shouting because some parts of the line move faster than the other.
I've done it about three times, but it's been 15 years now since I last did it. One thing that helped improve things when I did it was to park on Staten Island in the morning and start the tour from there. They'd let us ride over to Battery Park for free in the morning, just like they did with the Tour participants in the afternoon, except there wasn't as big a crowd. I'm surprised that they make the tour stop for cross traffic south of the Park now. They never did that when I rode it. The ride was never much of a challenge physically but it was quite an experience.
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Old 04-13-05, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by lennyparis
I agree 100%.

Last year I did the 5 Boro and it sucked.

So slow and crowded. It is really for the casual rider not any remotely serious roadie.

There were many parts I was walking my bike. Many could not get up the ramps to the bridges.
Just to give a different viewpoint - I did it last year and really enjoyed it. I think it helped that I picked up the ride on 6th in the 30s and maybe got out ahead of the tremendous crowd. Yes it was slow through the park and Harlem, but after that it was smooth sailing all the way to the first stop in Astoria. It was good to take a break and it started again fairly quickly. Then I don't remember stopping again until Staten Island. To ride throughout the city and see so much and meet so many bikers makes it well worthwhile for me. Can't wait.
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Old 04-13-05, 05:21 PM
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Been there...done that. As others have said, if your looking to ride you'll be aggravated.....if your riding to look (at the city and sights) it's a fun ride.

It's definitely an all day deal and SteveWMN has the right idea - leave a car on Staten Island. Also work your way to the front 1/4 of the ride as well and things won't be as jammed at every bridge and intersection.

If you've never done the ride, do it. I just don't see it as an annual thing.
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Old 04-13-05, 06:53 PM
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did it once, it was packed, take your own water and food, get to the front if you can, otherwise it's mile upon mile of slow steady bikers and it's a long day. I imagine all the smart folks know the route and go well ahead of the official start line and join in when they come past.
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Old 04-13-05, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by lennyparis
I agree 100%.

Last year I did the 5 Boro and it sucked.

So slow and crowded. It is really for the casual rider not any remotely serious roadie.

There were many parts I was walking my bike. Many could not get up the ramps to the bridges.

However, I did the 2003 and 2004 Tour of Hope in DC. 2003 was nice and scenic but 2004 was short and too controlled. I cannot do this year's due to other committments.
Well casual riders are cyclists too. Sometimes I like a fun, casual ride. I may do it this year. Meeting a whole bunch of cyclists can't be all bad. Plus I love NYC and have never seen it like that, even after many trips there.
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Old 04-14-05, 08:10 AM
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MY HS bike club used to marshal the 5BBT. I haven't done it since then (so early 90's). It was loads of fun even though it was slow. One year, I think MS did their own (they do a century around here now), we got to ride through the Battery Tunnel. THAT was a thrill.

Anyhow, my better half now has a bike so we're going to do the 5BBT together this year (I've promised to go slowly and enjoy it ). It will be quite a contrast with the Montauk Century which I will be doing two weeks later (she won't be riding with me on that one); about 100 miles of contrast (~40 vs. ~140 miles).

Well casual riders are cyclists too. SOmetimes I like a fun, casual ride. I may do it this year. Meeting a whole bunch of cyclists can't be all bad. Plus I love NYC and have never seen it like that, even after many trips there.
Well said!
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Old 04-14-05, 02:15 PM
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I am not implying that casual bikers are not bikers also.

But to be a biker you must be riding not stopping every 5 feet and walking your bike.
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Old 04-19-05, 01:40 AM
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i received my vest a few days ago in the mail. nice orange color
anyways, this will be my first time doing this. i dont want to be stuck in the back so what time should be there in order to be near the front or close to it? i live in bensonhurst brooklyn, should i take a train there or ride there? should i also bring a backpack to carry food and water since i heard the food they give out are really bad
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Old 04-19-05, 07:59 AM
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I'll be there this year as usual and I don't find it bad. Leave the road bike home and take out the rusted Schwinn cruiser and have fun. From what I understand, the money is put to good use educating the local community about cycling.

The first time I did it, I tried to do the course in the shortest amount of time. I avoided the food and rest stops and didn't enjoy it all all. Huge mistake. Today, I stop at ALL the rest stops eating everything in sight and getting fatter all day long! ;-)

All those energy drinks, oranges, potato chips for free! What makes it real special are the people you meet along the way. I spoke with a father and his son and this was the first time they actually rode on any trip. I also met up with another folding bike (Brompton) rider who was faster than me on a hybrid! I met a lawyer who purchased a beautiful frame on Ebay and put this road bike together, it was a looker!

I intend to meet more of these folks at the rest stops and that's what this tour is all about.
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Old 04-19-05, 09:53 AM
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I plan on leaving my truck in Staten Island and stop there. I hear the ferry ride back to Manhattan is a biznatch.
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Old 04-19-05, 11:23 AM
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I'd rather have a crowded ferry ride than drive way out to SI, and on event day go home, then on event day, drive home and find a parking spot. <shudder>

Edit: Got our vests yesterday. Registered maybe a week ago?
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Old 04-19-05, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by kaisersling
I plan on leaving my truck in Staten Island and stop there. I hear the ferry ride back to Manhattan is a biznatch.
I don't bother with the ferry anymore. I ride to the Bayonne Bridge and I'm home.
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Old 04-19-05, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by PriO
i received my vest a few days ago in the mail. nice orange color
anyways, this will be my first time doing this. i dont want to be stuck in the back so what time should be there in order to be near the front or close to it? i live in bensonhurst brooklyn, should i take a train there or ride there? should i also bring a backpack to carry food and water since i heard the food they give out are really bad
Hi Prio. I live in Bay Ridge and plan on doing the 5B as well. Only difference, is that I'll be veering off before the Verrazano to head home. I mean I like Staten Island, but not that much.

kaisersling, if you plan on doing it as well, lets all try to meet up.
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Old 04-19-05, 11:55 AM
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I will be there this year, for my 5th time. As others have said, it is a tour not a race so take your time, enjoy the sights and you will have a good time. I have taken others who never thought they could go 40 miles and at the end they say "Wow, I just pedaled 40 miles!" This year I am bringing my wife for her first tour.
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Old 04-19-05, 01:35 PM
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Did the ride for several years. 1 Park in Staten Island, there are some muncipal lots with porta johns, near the ferry. 2 Once you are in the city work your way to the westside highway for the first mile or two than jump onto 6th Ave. You will way ahead of the pack. 3 Enjoy the day it's not a race. 4 Once you finish, have a picinic lunch on Staten Island with friends and family discussing the best part of the ride. 5 Bring a camera, I got a photo of ten of my coworkers Someone took of us in Brooklyn with the WTC in the background, I had it blown up and framed and gave one to each of them for the holidays. you never know
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Old 04-19-05, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by BigBrooklynLou
Hi Prio. I live in Bay Ridge and plan on doing the 5B as well. Only difference, is that I'll be veering off before the Verrazano to head home. I mean I like Staten Island, but not that much.

kaisersling, if you plan on doing it as well, lets all try to meet up.

sounds good. I will contact you when my plans get clearer
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Old 04-19-05, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by BigBrooklynLou
Hi Prio. I live in Bay Ridge and plan on doing the 5B as well. Only difference, is that I'll be veering off before the Verrazano to head home. I mean I like Staten Island, but not that much.

kaisersling, if you plan on doing it as well, lets all try to meet up.
Im not even sure how it goes. Do we get the ride across the Verranzano Bridge or do we need to take a ferry to SI?
I might do the same as well.
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Old 04-19-05, 05:34 PM
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Race starts in lower Manhattan. I'm planning to take the R train to City Hall, do the loop and get off at the second to last rest stop (Cannonball Park .. way off on the map. Should be at the bend before the Verrazano) which is near where I live anyway.

If I go to Staten Island, I'll have to take the ferry back into Manhattan in order to go South back into Brooklyn. Waste of nearly an hour and a half for no reason (other than seeing the lovely and odiferous Staten Island).
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Old 04-19-05, 07:01 PM
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Ah, the official name of this is "Bike New York".

We call it "Walk New York" -- it comes to an absolute dead stop multiple times along the way. You need great, great patience. It is really fun to bike on the freeways -- the BQE and the FDR -- but, really, it's amateur hour, lots of minor accidents involving people who haven't ridden in years, that sort of thing.
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Old 04-19-05, 07:33 PM
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I'm heading out from sunset park that morning with my gf, we should meet up.
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Old 04-19-05, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by dandeluca
Ah, the official name of this is "Bike New York".

We call it "Walk New York" -- it comes to an absolute dead stop multiple times along the way. You need great, great patience. It is really fun to bike on the freeways -- the BQE and the FDR -- but, really, it's amateur hour, lots of minor accidents involving people who haven't ridden in years, that sort of thing.
Yeah. I guess it will be a walk and ride type of deal, but for the last 5 years I've had business trips come up at the same time that the tour was and I'm jonesing to join the parade over the BQE.
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