Monday, May 2, 2011

5 Boro Bike Tour...2011 Edition

When my friend Peter asked me to join him and some friends for the 2011  5 Boro Bike Tour, I was unsure if I wanted to do the Tour again. It's a big day with a large crowd of riders and only 42 miles of riding. I decided that I would do the 2011 Tour with 32,000 of my closest friends. I expected delays, lots of walking, and significant comraderie, and that's just what I got. As usual, we travelled to Staten Island and took the ferry to the starting point at Battery Park in Manhattan. Fortunately, the weather cooperated and it was a beautiful day, sunny and temperatures in the mid 60's.
I chose to ride Miss Pinarello in her final iteration with a Carradice Barley saddlebag, a Selle Anatomica seat, and Continental GP 4 Season 700 x 28c tires. There are a lot of fixies and every other type of bike on this ride. It is not technically difficult, and anything can and was ridden. After waiting about 40 minutes at the start and still unable to get going due to immense crowds, we elected to go up the bike path on the West Side, a scenic and smart decision. We rejoined the ride at 56th street, and did a lot of standing/walking from there and continued into Central Park. In fact, this is really a stand-walk-ride event. If you are interested in a steady ride, this is not for you. Saving factors were that the weather cooperated, and the company was just great.
Peter is a professional colleague, and thinks that I know more about bikes than anyone alive. Boy, is he significantly misinformed! Although steady riding was not to happen, we all had lots of cycle-bonding and great views of the various New York skylines.
Due to construction difficulties, the entire 32,000 strong mass of cyclists became deadlocked for about 2 hours on the elevated portion of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. Considering the time delay, the behavior of the crowd was exemplary. I met lots of nice people. In most cases, our only common bond was the fact that we were cyclists and New York City during the Tour. The climbs up to the Queensborough and Verrazzano Bridges were semi-tough, but I never had to stand and dance up those inclines on the fixie.
Our group of five amazingly stayed together during the entire ride. Hats off to Ms. Stelling, who rode her longest ride ever, and never complained about the cycling. We all had a great interpersonal experience that we will carry as a shared memory for the rest of our lives. Will I ride the 5 Boro Bike Tour again? Probably not. What will I say if Peter says " Do you want to do the 2012 Tour with me? " I don't really know.