is the 5 bor bike tour any good?

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Anonymous's picture

Is it packed with little kids & people barely able to ride? I'm not looking for a race but it would be nice to at least be able to keep a leisurely 12-15mph pace. Is this possible? The odds of my getting there really early to be close to the front are not great.


Anonymous's picture
JP (not verified)

While the route and ride may sound great, the numbers (30,000+) make it sort of hellish. Lot's of inexperienced riders stopping/turning without warning, going 7-8 mph, bottlenecks, slow starts, wobbling, walking - I'd rather ride my trainer at home (which I dislike). Security checkpoints at bridges make it even worse. The ride will be a success if only 29,999 ride it.

BTW, your name sounds somewhat familiar - ever play at Dan Lynch Blues years ago?


Anonymous's picture
Bill (not verified)
Thanks all for the good suggestion

I think I'll instead ride north and west :-) Or at least do it with low expectations. My girlfriend hates crowds. I don't mind them and could deal with it on my mountain bike I guess.

I did really enjoy the NYCC ride along the NY Marathon route last November. It seems the route's pretty similar minus the astoria dogleg and the verazzano portion.

BTW, are there any charities benefiting from the rather steep $38 fee?

(And no I never played at Dan Lynch's but I did throw up backstage at CBGB's once)

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
Thousands of people love this ride

"I'm not one of them.

I did it 15 years ago and said never again, got talked into it again 3 or 4 years ago and this time I mean it - never again.

Little kids are not a problem, but adolescents (chronlogically or otherwise) who have no idea how to behave in a crowd threaten my wellbeing and ruin it for me. Idiots shouting ""whoop, whoop, whoop"" inside every underpass get tiresome after about 5 minutes. Riding at the front to stay ahead of the worst of the crowd is not entirely possible because of the way the ride is stopped to regroup before closing the roads ahead, giving people who raced ahead and fell back during an earlier segment time to rest so they can race ahead again (cutting everyone off in the process) before tiring and falling back again. And on and on it goes.

Spending an entire ride in a state of tension worrying that someone will wipe me out is not my idea of fun. I'd rather clean the grout in my bathroom tiles (apologies to the guy who coined that remark)."

Anonymous's picture
Jay (not verified)
5 boro

"there are some stretches towards the end where you can do a leisurely ride, but there is much crowding, especially in the beginning, after the lunch stop, at the end and in any bottleneck.
This is somewhat dangerous since many of the riders are inexperienced -- in past years if u didn't make the 1st chartered ferry back to Manh from Staten Isl u had a long wait

The TA Century in Sept--100 mles in every nook & cranny of Bklyn, Bronx & Queens affords more leisurely riding & an apreciation of NYc as a series of diverse ethnic & economic neighbrhoods--In that century the riders are strung out to the degree that one frequently cannot see any other participants, which is impossible on the 5 boro, which is more of a ""happening""

let me know if u have ay more ?'s!


Anonymous's picture
linda (not verified)
any other suggested rides

Do you have any other suggestions besides a century (which is how old I will be by the time I get to the finish line)? A large group ride/tour through NYC at 40 to 50 miles is more manageable for me. 30,000 people on bikes is scary. I've done the NYC marathon which gets a bit too cozy mid-pack and there, at least, you aren't dealing with massive amounts of untutored humanity wielding 20+ lb hunks of rolling metal.

Anonymous's picture
Isaac Brumer (not verified)
Bike NY & Alternatives

"1. I've done BikeNY on and off for 20+ years. There are bottlenecks (e.g. at the bridges) and boneheads, but the ride does fan out after the start. I think the key is to stay closer to, though not at, the front. Also, I usually pay well in advance and slip in at Canal street rather than wait in the starting corral.

2. The $38 fee pays for overhead and support, plus some funding to Childrens' Aid Society and Recycle A Bicycle.

3. A few nice alternatives are:
- NYCC's ""EscapeNY"" - held in the fall (there's a half Century option.)
- TA's NYC Century - also in the fall (has 35, 55 and 75 mile options.) in the fall.
- My favorite little ride is Tour De Bronx, sponsored by TA and the borough of The Bronx. It's 22 or 40 laid-back miles through a great variety of neighborhoods. Good ratio of riders to support. The services & entertainment are great and it's all free. It's in the fall.


Anonymous's picture
Isaac Brumer (not verified)
Oh and BTW

Oh, and by the way, I hate the ferry line. Two approaches I've done are
1. Blow off the ride at Fort Hamilton
2. Go over the Bayonne Br to Jersey City


Anonymous's picture
A.T. (not verified)
"It's not much of a ""bike"" ride, but it's a ""tour"" of the bo

"Well, it's called the 5 boro bike tour for a reason!

It's more of a ""march on bikes"" than a bike ride. Take it with the right attitude, you'll enjoy the festivity. Expect to blast through a traffic free street at 25 mph? You'll be sorely disappointed. The street maybe car free, but the bikes more than make up for the ""traffic"". And the potholes are still there!

Ride your beater, and expect to bump shoulders or rub wheels with someone at least once along the way."

Anonymous's picture
Matt Larson (not verified)

This is the right attitude. You do not blast through the streets, and there is much waiting. But there is something inspiring about seeing 30,000 other cyclists riding down roads normally reserved for cars, like the FDR and the BQE. I am taking some cycling newbie friends along...I plan to enjoy this view of the city and hopefully make cycling converts of my friends. You will see $7000 road bikes and converted choppers, single speeds, fixies, banana-seat Schwinns, tandems for 5 or 6--there's an amazing panolpy of bikes! For many serious road cyclists, the waiting and inexperienced cyclists make this ride less than enjoyable, and if that's you you won't like it. But for me the sheer joy of thousands of other people enjoying their bikes is worth the ride's annoyances.

Anonymous's picture
Lynn (not verified)
5 boro was great for a newbie

Yes, it was crowded, yes it was slow.
But it was grand.
I got my sign-up in advance and joined the crowds in Central Park, one way to beat the crowds downtown.
I went slowly, 'cause it was all I could do.
At that speed, the crowds did not matter.
The bridges were fantastic, the stops were great- even at a snail's pace I had a blast.
If you don't expect to go fast and accept and watch out for inexperienced riders, it's a lot of fun!

Anonymous's picture
Alfredo (not verified)
reason to believe


It's mighty interesting most people in this thread (except for several) regard Bike NY as something beneath their breath.

Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf (the real one, not Peter or whatever)--where are you when we need you?

But really, as cyclists, we should strive to explore and embrace other bike cultures, instead of expressing insularity.

People from Europe, Asia and Canada come here to ride BNY year after year. Not to mention people beyond the Tri-State (NY-NJ-CT) area.

It's not often that we see those young-at-heart Latino cyclists who ride old Schwinn bikes with chrome assessories on any bike event. Also numbers of recumbents and other human powered vehicles.

3X Tour de France winner Greg LeMond once rode Bike NY. He liked it so much he gave his bike (a LeMond Zurich road cycle, of course) to a Bike NY official.

What happens if Lance rides BNY? WHY?

I've done BNY as a riding marshall since 1994. I'll be there 4 May 2003. Yeah, most of the 30,000 look like newcomers, but the fact they're riding is a plus. I don't like riding in crowds, but that doesn't scare me. I just ride and be helpful. Haven't been injured--yet. Granted, some stretches are bottle-necked and cramped, and Central Park & the Verrazano is tight, but that's the City's (DOT) fault--they won't get us slack. I wait patiently and just ride.

And wouldn't worry about protesting factions on BNY. Let them be...

And you know, the NYCC (from what I read on the website) will have a table at the BNY finish. Amongst the ""slow,"" ""dumb"" or even ""insipid"" might ""GET SMART"" and join the Cycle Club. And that's not a bad thing.

Yeah, I done the TA Century, Bike Virginia, Montauk, Oahu Perimeter, ENY, a 200k brevet, double centuries, B-SIG, Tour de Bronx, Critical Mass, lead rides, but that's another story. Bike NY is close to my heart, because it's New York City.

This ain't the last word--just my 2 cents.

Recommended reading: David B. Perry's Bike Cult.



Anonymous's picture
Isaac Brumer (not verified)

Do not believe what the infidel says about the Bike NY. Bike NY is an A21 triple paceline. There are no infidels(tm) on Bike NY. We have slaughtered them and drunk their blood.

Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf


Anonymous's picture
Alfredo (not verified)
Your Excellency...


Here's the Iraqi cycling scene, courtesy of a previous Lebanese newspaper article...

“People are rushing to buy bicycles and train on them because they fear that if war erupts, they won’t be able to drive their cars”, said cycle shop owner Sabah Ahmad.
During the 1991 Gulf War and subsequent US-led attacks, bombing disrupted transport and led to severe power and fuel cuts.

“Baghdadis aren’t used to seeing people riding bikes, as in Beijing or other cities, but I suppose they’ll have to get used to it”, Sabah Ahmad observed, adding, “What’s good is that Baghdad is flat, which makes it easier to get around on bikes. The disadvantage is that it’s also a very large city”.

But seriously, Your Excellency, why not come and do Bike NY? We'll get an escort. Get me a flak jacket and gas mask. Interview you for NYCC Bulletin...


Anonymous's picture
Chris (not verified)
Bike Fair after the Ride

"One item not mentioned by anybody is that after the conclusion of the ride there is ""fair"" with some vendors, bike enthusiasts from certain organizations, food. It can be a nice place to mingle. I did buy a pair of bike shorts and gloves from the BNY booth back in 2001.

While I can echo many of the minuses pointed out by many, it is probably ideal for out-of-towners who would never DREAM of riding the city streets any other day of their life. If you have guests in town, grab your beater bike and just cruise with your friends. Otherwise, I probably would not do it"

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