After over two years of thinking about it, attempting to plan it, falling short, and wishing I did it, the Five Boro Bike Tour finally came to pass.
Attending the Bike Expo on Saturday (for the primary purpose of hoarding free samples and free food) my friend Nick and I made a few friends and learned about some excellent cycling opportunities. Being from Vermont, Nick immediately bonded with the Cabot cheese representatives. On top of giving away free cheese samples, Cabot also gave away cups of delicious strawberry banana smoothie blended up in an enormous vat to break the Guinness Book of World Records for largest smoothie. They did it! and all proceeds went to charity.
We walked away with racing gear and our bags full of free goodies and coupons.
Sunday, bright and early, I met up with my racing buddy Jeff, for a breakfast of bagels as we prepared ourselves for the 40 mile trek through Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.
Beginning in Battery Park we worked our way towards the Bronx cutting through Central Park and dodging pedestrians attempting to cross the street or jog along the paths. All of whom were in their own ipod induced worlds completely oblivious to 32,000 bikers flying by them. There were a few narrowly avoided close calls.
The bridges were the most grueling (mainly the Verrazano and the climb leading up to it). Long, steady inclines surrounded by masses of people crawling along, some walking their bikes. This left little room for maneuvering and no room for kicking it up a notch to end the pain sooner.
Excluding those two tough inclines, the 40 miles flew by! Between spectacular scenery at all of the five bridges, random bits of entertainment along the way from local establishments and New Yorkers, as well and good company, a great crowd, and free bananas, the tour was spectacular It ended with a festival in Staten Island with live music, food trucks galore, and plenty of sunny spots to catch some sun.