For those who consider biking the streets of New York City an extreme sport, this event offers the chance to ride on streets ... More
Bike New York-Five Boro Bike Tour
For those who consider biking the streets of New York City an extreme sport, this event offers the chance to ride on streets free of automobiles. The trek goes from Brooklyn to Staten Island across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which normally does not allow bicyclists. The race culminates with a party at the finish line across the bridge. A free ferry carries tired riders back from Staten Island to Battery Park .
The NYC 5 Boro Bike Tour was possibly the worst organized train wreck of an event I have ever been to. In a manner of irony, thousands of us bikers were clogged on the BQ&E for almost three hours for no apparent reason. The sad twist was that at that point we would have given up and taken our chances riding off the course on our own accord but to do that would have required plummeting off a 10 yard drop from the elevated road. The sun was unrelenting on the overpass as well. I am writing this a year after this horrid event and I am still sun tanned from the experience! STILL! If that weren't the worst part, ending the event on Staten Island and forcing everyone to wait in more lines for more hours on end just to get back to Manhattan on the ferry resulted in many more hours wasted. As an avid biker enthusiast I never thought I would say this but it would have been easier to drive in Manhattan than to ride! Ha! The only good thing about that day was Osama's death!
Due to no fault of our own other than extreme bottlenecks and poor planning by the tour organizers, we found ourselves arriving at every rest stop as they were closing and we were told that we could not stop and to keep going on to the next. By the time we reached the 2 hour bike jam on the BQE (supposedly there was construction, I never saw it), there were no options left. Marshals assisted cyclists as they "relieved" themselves along the side of the BQE over drain pipes and huddling behind cones and parked vehicles. After arriving at the tour start line at 7:30 a.m., we FINALLY arrived at the festival after 5:30 p.m. exhausted, sun burnt, humiliated, and starving only to be told to keep moving because it was closing. I have participated in the tour in the past and this year was by far the worst experience of my life. Skip this over priced gimmick and take a risk biking NYC on your own. If you choose to join the tour in the future, professional bikers beware, don't go clipless, wear comfortable sneakers, you're guaranteed to walk more than you bike.
This was a nice event and my hats off to the organizers for getting 30K riders through New York City. Future participants should be aware that there is lots of backups along the ride. My GPS unit showed about 3 hours of riding and 3 hours of standing/shuffling along at about 4 different spots along the ride.
The different Borrows and crossing the bridges was really fun! As for the cons, The Bike tour this year, 2005, started off a bit slow, we had to stand around and wait on the streets of the Financial district for about 1 hour during the beginning of the race. But by far the worst part was after 42 miles of biking, we (10,000 people) had to stand by the peer and wait for the Staten Island- Manhatten ferry for 3 hours. All the restaurants around the peer ran out of food. The organizers really have to be more considerate to get everyone from Staten Island to NYC. It took WAY too long.
I did this for the first time with two friends last year. We had a terrific time! Even though we got caught up in a little rain it was nothing but fun. Don't hurry though, just bring your old bike, relax, and enjoy the scenery. Well done by the organization. Meet LOTS of fellow bikers and see parts of New York you wouldn't by car or foot. The 5 is a must.