Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Reflections on the NYC 5 Boro Bike Tour 2010

I survived the bike tour. I actually did better than I expected. I finished the entire 42 mile distance and I wasn't sore the next day, which is today. It was a blast! My favorite parts were riding on my bike on the car-free highways. My first rush was riding on the FDR Drive, then the BQE, and finally the Belt Pkwy and across the Verazzano Bridge to Staten Island. This, of course, is because I am used to driving through the traffic on these roadways. The BQE can get pretty snarled and the Belt is worse. The FDR, well, you never know. Yesterday though, it was smooth riding everywhere.

My only complaints were crowding and out of towners. These two complaints are double edged. I don't know much about the history of the event, but turnout was great! From the Verazzano I could see so many cyclists that they looked like ants all the way down the Belt Pkwy., stretching back as far as the eye could see. It was an impressive sight. At that point I was no longer in the vanguard, so it was even more significant. The crowding at eye level, however, made a pleasant, relaxing tour difficult and while I was able to hustle up to a more lightly populated part of the tour around mile 20 I began to lose some steam. Around mile 28 or so I stabilized and finished it out. Water on the head was the key. The other challenge is that the prolonged ride is a little hard on the derriere.

At first, I felt a little lonely with so many out of state, or out of the city folks, and wondered why we native New Yorkers were so poorly represented. After riding the tour, I can see why that might be. First, they live here and easily take the city for granted. The tour didn't take me anywhere I hadn't been. As a cyclist, I bike in many of these places anyway--cars or no cars. As previously stated, my favorite parts were the highways, which for me were quite the novelty. It is probably best shared with active family from out of town because it is a cool thing to do. It does also border on being a rather touristy thing to do. As far as that goes, it is one of the better, smarter things tourists do. The trouble with tourism though, among other things, is the often accompanying sterility and lack of realism. Here tourists get to come to the city en masse and ride not only without cars but even without New Yorkers who got yelled at for walking their streets! Quite disturbing.

I would do it again and bring more company. I did meet a co-worker along the route, but next year more folks for sure.


At June 20, 2010 at 3:38 AM , Blogger alejandro said...

Maybe I'll join ya next year. Glad you had a nice trip none the less. I'm quite interested in doing one of these tours one day. Ever been to the midnight tours for central park or prospect park?


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