NYC Century

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Anonymous's picture

I did not realize that this morning was the NYC Century. While in NYC I encountered a lot of cyclists this morning. I spotted a marshall watching a corner, so I wanted to find out what the event was.

I approached him (I was on my motorcycle) while the cyclists were at a red light and tried to ask him what event was occuring. I was not in the path of the cyclists. I was not yelling. I asked very nicely. He said something I could not understand, so I asked him to repeat it. Then he turned around and told me to go away, and waved me away with his hands.

As a cyclist, I was appauled that he responded in this way. As someone that has stood on a corner as a marshall for similiar events, I did not understand his attitude.

The cyclists were a huge inconvenience this morning. I saw several cars slamming on their brakes as masses of cyclists were streaming through stop lights (that were red) at very busy intersections. I did not understand why they were going through busy intersections (Broadway and 65th street) instead of going around them on 11th Ave.

As a marshall, I was always taught that not only am I there to insure the cyclists safety, (which they should really be doing themselves) I was also there as a public advocate to answer questions.

Maybe if the marshalls at events like this were more curteous to motorists than this guy, cyclists would not be looked at as nuisances throughout the year.

From my experience of this event, it did not help cycling advocacy in NYC.

Anonymous's picture
Derrick (not verified)
NYC Century

Heath, I rode in this yesterday and have to say that I will not be doing it again.

Your point about the quality of marshalling is spot on. I had to hold myself back from screaming at one marshall who was just plain dangerous to himself and to other riders.

Let me give you an example of one of his common mistakes. At a left turn he would literally stop on the left corner of the road he was leaving. Yes that meant he crossed onto the wrong side of the road into traffic that was turning right. Nightmare. What made this worse is that participants followed him...well he was a marshall so that must be OK...then they had nowhere to go but out into the traffic.

Stop-start-stop and red lights. There were so many participants rolling through red lights it was scary, made more ironic by the fact that the ride was organized by Transport Alternatives: I thought they wanted to promote safe and courteous riding. You were not the only one to complain.

In support of the participants on the latter point, if they didnt roll through some red lights, a 7 hour ride (55 miles... yes only 55 miles in that time...I was really hacked off with the red lights by the finish)would have taken 9 to 10 hours. Absolutely ridiculous.

I think the blame lies more with the organizer's choice of route than the participants lack of road etiquette. For mass rides like this one, I will stick to the Five Boro or the MS Ride in future (closed roads).

Anonymous's picture
Peter (not verified)
red lights

I believe that you should approach red lights the same way you would approach them as a pedestrian. If there are no cars coming then you can cross the intersection with caution.

Anonymous's picture
Rob (not verified)

"Sorry, I disagree. That is the concept of the ""Yellow"" light. Slow down to stop or caution ahead.

However, not being the nerdy type. A slow roll through a Red light or Stop sign can make you just as dead when hit by a car.

It is the same as being "" a little pregnant"". Wrong is wrong and Dead is dead. It's only a problem, when you get caught. I saw several cases of people almost hit. I almost creamed a walker who was strolling across Soundview Ave not even looking for cars in the middle of the street.

Some of us complain about police harassment, others about riders who do not wear helmets. Others about other groups and riders.
Personally, I ride defensivly, but I also take chances and do not stop at every Red light etc.
If I was ticketed I would be pissed, but I would pay it just because I did the wrong thing.

However, I never knowingly take a chance with another persons life especially if I am the leader of a ride or just a pack.

I understand your view and this was, Just my two cents.


Anonymous's picture
Josh (not verified)
NY Century Marshalling Duties


I sympathize, but I'd have waved you on as well. My first priority is to get cyclists safely up the street, through the light and turn I was directing as a marshall. A few folks and motorists stopped at my corner to ask questions and I could not talk. They probably thought I was rude too. Unintentionally, you may have been blocking cyclist traffic with your scooter, or impeding the marshall's view.

Anonymous's picture
mike (not verified)
marshal answering questions& no street closures

sounds like the marshal on the corner was busy doing their assigned task and didnt have time for chat that may distract them from the assigned task at hand.
the nyc century is not a street closure ride. i believe it has that info on the sign up. its a ride on urban streets with lots of traffic lights and stop signs,
i had fun, thought it was well run from what i saw of it.
i find it kinda weird that a cyclist involved with cycling clubs in nyc would not know about the NYC century.
if i can visualize correctly the left turn marshal from the oncoming traffic lane, i agree that is totally wrong, and you were correct to be screaming .

Anonymous's picture
Rob (not verified)
I ride, I saw, I learnt

I knew this would be an all day deal. If I wanted a quick 100 I would have gone upstate.
One of the first things I learnt with NYCC is how to ride in a group. Calling holes, danger spots, slowing and NEVER shouting CLEAR at an intersection. It is each cyclists decision or responsiblity to go through an intersection illegally.
Rolling Reds are illegal for both cars and cyclists in every state.
YESSS, my group leader ran each and every and strectched us out way before 23rd street in Manhattan where we caught up with another group.

That said, lets just review some better points for MEEE.
a) I saw areas of the city I never have been to either by bike or car.
b) The staggered start was a great effort.
c) Rest stops were working and stocked with enough goodies to make you happy. Hey they never promissed anything more than they delivered. I do know that they suggested later in the day that people skip the 100 version and just complete the 75 as the rest area at Van Courtland was closing at 6pm.
d) Met a Lot of great people. Hey I schmooze a lot, its a long day.
e)I saw many Marshalls helping people with flats.
f) Mechanics at every rest stop, tried their best.

a) More Marshalls at danger spots. Sorry, Guys there was none that I saw at a few points.
b) Perhaps better signage or people to warn of stairs on bridges. I know coming off Randalls Island, someone almost went down ALL them.
c) Green is nice, however a brighter color will show up against the black, especially if you have shades on.
d) Markings were good, But some were in crosswalks, Overall, a good job. I don't think if I did this alone I would have made it without making some wrong turns. Yes, I had the cue encyclopedia ( hey this is not 9W).
e)Why were all the club tables such as NYCC, 5BBC, NJRADONEURS buried at the very end of the finish area around the corner. Poor politics as far as I am concern. I am sure almost all the people never saw them.
f) Perhaps instructing the marshalls not to run red lights.
g) Regarding Cue sheets. An option of cue sheets distributed at each rest. THese would get you to the next stop and then to the finish line.

Well in anycase, I did enjoy and appreciate the efforts that went into this job by TA.

Well, that said

Anonymous's picture
Diane Goodwin (not verified)
Non Profit Tables

Hi Rob,

You are right about the postioning of the tables. Riders seemed to congregate near the center and ride past us. NJ Randonneurs cannot complain though - we were invited. There were 6000 participants which is great exposure.

The century riders were our main target, so when we broke down the table there were plenty of riders standing around happy to accept the flyer I handed them.

It appeared as if the NYC Century was more effective for us than the Bike New York festival which attracts 30,000 participants.

I mentioned the positioning of the tables ... but it was noticed too late - TA had much more important issues and I didn't want to sound like I was complaining. We tried to get the t-shirt people to remind riders we were at the other end. Maybe you should send a note to TA, it's always helpful for the next year.

This event was HUGE ... to offer such a ride in the City is tough.

Hope to see you on a brevet!

Anonymous's picture
Rob (not verified)

I actually saw the friendly faces at your table as I was one of the Century people.

40 Hours pedalling......hmmmm

Even if Pam Anderson was leading the pack I would not be able to do that.

I will send a note off in a few days.

Anonymous's picture
Neile (not verified)
TA Century B16/100 ride wrapup

Started off with a group of five -- three of which planned to turn back at Floyd Bennett Field (50 miles.) Kept to a steady B-16 pace through that section.

After the halfway mark at Alley Pond Park, I and another (Joe Aguiar) upped the pace, and were on track for an overall B-17 run for the 100 miles as we entered the Bronx, when we came across a trio who drove up from Virginia.

With night falling, I knew there was no chance they'd make it through unfamiliar terrain without getting hopelessly lost so I offered to guide them through. The three were tired, so we slowed to a C-12 pace. Picked up four more stragglers en route to CPW. So the ride which started with five, finished with nine.


* Converted a previous years cue sheet to text and reformatted it to fit a handlebar map case. I also scouted the Bronx/Queens sections two weeks prior. This came in VERY handy on half a dozen occasions -- particularly after dark when road markings ceased to be legible.

* The decision to start at 9:30AM at Brooklyn Bridge also proved fortuitous as we largely avoided the crowds that others complained about. That, and a familiarity with the route allowed the group to maintain a pretty consistent pace once past the first rest stop.

* Front lights were of course helpful reading road markings after dark and made a HUGE difference on otherwise unlit sections of the Harlem River Greenway.

* My one big complaint is the lack of a marshall -- or a police barricade with a warning sign -- at the Bronx side of the Tri-Borough before the two sets of steps.

Overall: Good time, fabulous weather and a great cause. Since I love cycling in the city, I always look forward to this one. Much thanks to the volunteers!

Anonymous's picture
Rob (not verified)


I knew I should have slept late and gone ith you.

Anonymous's picture
Neile (not verified)

Same time, next year.

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