Monday, May 05, 2008

5 Boro Bike Tour

When searching for good trails to ride bikes on I came across something similar to a bike Marathon for NYC. Riding bikes for 40 miles through the five boroughs of NYC. Somehow I convinced L. and my friend D. to do it with me. I didn't think it was that big of a deal but after it sold out I started seeing posters and ads for it everywhere. Turns out it is 30,000 people. Both D. and I had made the deadline. We had finished our bikes. Taken them for test rides and tuned them up again so they would run good for this.
We didn't want to deal with all the roads closed so we decided to take the train into NYC. It was 5:30 in the morning and all the train cars were full of people with their bikes. It made for a weird site. We met D. at city hall and rode south to the starting line but saw people already lining up so we got in where we could. It kept repeating it was not a race in all the information but then why wait for an official starting time? Especially starting late. While waiting we looked around at everyone else's bikes and what they had done to them. The starting line was a barrage from the speakers of how thankful they were to all the sponsors. They released us in groups, I realize for safety, but it seemed like so everyone would hear the spiel about each sponsor.
When we rode it was great. My bike was running great and it felt amazing like I was connected to the road. The sound of thousands of bikes around us shifting gears on hills or breaking around corners was one of those magical zen things. The problem was that there were many delays. There was enough traffic that a lot of the time we had to stop for no reason. The worst stop and reason why I do not want to do it again is when we were on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and they had to funnel us down to one exit lane. We ended up walking our bikes for an hours until we got past that traffic jam.
I was also surprised how many wrecks there were. I can see why helmets are required. I would say in the 40 miles we saw 10-15 wrecks where the people were laying on the ground with paramedics standing over them. I am guessing just to be safe since almost every fall also involves the head hitting the ground. Fortunately we all made it though without incident. The ending line was across the Verrazano Bridge at the fort. When I ran the marathon I saw it and had wanted to go there. The finish line party seemed like more advertising so D. and I were more interested in seeing the fort.
On the ferry ride home we all talked about what our goal was for doing the ride. I was surprised and happy that I finished with a fixed gear. I also thought it was really cool that I had just rode the whole way on something that I had built and nothing broke. L. had not really done any training and was just happy to have finished. D. was interested in his time taken to finish. He now knew with how he felt that it would be possible to do about 50 miles a day for a longer bike ride.I really enjoyed this ride and will start looking for me to do.

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