5 Boro Bike Tour

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Anonymous's picture

Anyone have a registration for the 5 Boro Bike Tour on May 7 that they won't be able to use? I held off on registering (due to an injury) and now am hoping to find someone who has changed their plans so that I can ride with my sister....

Please contact me at the address above (minus the AT).


Anonymous's picture
Etoain Shrdlu (not verified)
If all else fails, piggyback

"Quite a few years ago I had no intention of joining that year's 5-boro ride. But one morning, I went out to do some laps in Central Park and there the ride was. The bulk of the riders were just coming through, so I rode along with them. Then I stayed with them all the way to Staten Island, and took the ferry home with them, too.

No, I didn' have an official orange 5-boro ride vest. I hadn't signed up or paid. I just rode along as if I happened to be taking the same route as the ride that day. (Truth be told, I also used one of their port-a-potties in Queens.)

Now, some would say this is the moral equivalent of piggybacking on a neighbor's wi-fi system. Perhaps so, but how immoral is that? (Don't ask me. Take it to ""The Ethicist"" in the New York Times Sunday magazine.) If you feel overwhelmingly guilty, you can always send the Five Borough Bicycle Club a check afterward.

But if you really, really, really-and-truly feel the insane urge to participate in this event and it's too late to sign up, piggybacking is one possible way to go.

""It wasn't theft of services. I was simply testing the penetrability of the telephone wires.""
--From the Peoples' Courtroom testimony of the late Nicolas Sentovic

Your Pal,
Etoain Shrudlu


Anonymous's picture
bill vojtech (not verified)

"Piggybacking wi-fi is not theft– if someone does not set their security settings to keep you out it's safe to assume they are being gracious hosts. You cost them nothing extra.

The 5BBT is another matter. Participants are expected to pay. Those who don't are stealing.

When I was a front riding marshal in the 5BBT, (years ago), we had instructions to run any ""piggybackers"" who tried to cut in ahead of us into the curb. This was before they became security concious following 9/11. After that, even as a Marshal with a vest I was almost tackled for being where I was not supposed to be.

If you join the ride without paying, expect to get stopped by police/homeland security before you go over the Verrazano bridge."

Anonymous's picture
Dave the H. (not verified)

Ah, the combination of fatherland security and a bike ride. No wonder I prefer not to ride the 5BBT anymore.

(Haven't ridden it in years, actually, ever since it became dangerously too crowded...amateur day with people on bicycles -- not cyclists -- cutting off others without looking.)

Also, since piggypacking wi-fi can potentially slow the connection for the person who pays for it, why is that not theft?

Anonymous's picture
bill vojtech (not verified)

Because all wi-fi routers comes with the ability to keep others out- just set the security settings to do so. Some people choose not to employ this, to graciously allow others to use their connection when they don't need it.

Anonymous's picture
Dave the H. (not verified)
Not Everyone

Not everyone is tech-savvy enough to know how set security settings, even among those using wi-fi routers.

So, stealing is okay from people who are unskilled or uneducated enough?

Sounds like how some would treat undocumented immigrants.

Anonymous's picture
Bill Vojtech (not verified)
Tech savy?

"I laugh at people who marvel at ""tech savy"" people like me. My ""tech savy"" comes from being able to read above a 4th grade level and actually opening the manuals that come with my high-tech toys.

It's no secret that people can get on your wireless network. Not reading the manual and not blocking unwanted access is like leaving you wallet on the sidewalk outside your house and expecting your money to be there tomorrow. A fool and his money...

If you can use a computer, you can set the security settings on a router."

Anonymous's picture
Dave the H. (not verified)
Your Logic Leads...

Going back to the original question of whether or not piggybacking -- whether wi-fi or Bike NY -- is stealing, then your logic says if the network isn't protected, then it isn't stealing.

Okay, let's accept that.

So, if an entrance to a highway that Bike NY goes on isn't protected, then piggybacking on the ride by entering there isn't stealing.

Or if someone joins the ride on a passing street because the street isn't secured against non-registered cyclists, then piggybacking on the ride isn't stealing either.

I like that logic.

Anonymous's picture
disgusted but amused (not verified)
"""logic"" is actually pigheaded thinking"


Original thread was about getting registration for Bike New York. Instead, some discussion mutated into ridiculous loopholes and pound-foolish discourses.

Piggy backing is an inappropriate term. The expedient word is FREELOAD

to impose upon another's generosity or hospitality without sharing in the cost or responsibility involved : SPONGE
- free·load·er noun

Example: unregistered cyclists sneaking in a bike event, using facilities, taking food, drink maybe given swag items, that registered cyclists are entitled to. It has happened on Bike NY, the TA Century and maybe Escape New York.

Freeloading cyclists--What a shame.

Anonymous's picture
Glen (not verified)

Hear Hear!

I put on bike events for a living (a VERY meager living) and I'm amazed when someone pulls up on $5K worth of high-tech wheel weaponry and then tries to sneak in without paying. (Oh don't worry -- it happens with people on cheap bikes too!)

Registration for BIKE NEW YORK is about $35. If you hate the event, that's fine -- don't go! But I'm amazed that people who wouldn't dream of shoplifting a $35 item from a store think nothing about stealing a ride. This is how I earn a living; when you don't pay, it just means that *I* have to pay for your ride, and I can't afford it, thanks!

Glen Goldstein/president

Anonymous's picture
Bill Vojtech (not verified)

Great analogy, except...

All intersections along the 5BBT route are closed– that's how they keep the cars out.

If you slip past the marshal at an on-ramp, that's not like entering an unsecured wi-fi network, it's like hacking into a secured network– a crime.

Anonymous's picture
Tony Rentschler (not verified)
Welcome stranger?

If you don't lock the door to your house or apartment, then anyone can come in and watch OLN? If you don't lock your car, can anyone sit in it?

If you don't lock your bike, can anyone ride it?

Of course, here in New York, even if you DO lock your bike, anyone might ride it! And if you don't lock up your network, others might use it. But if it's not public, then it's private.

Anonymous's picture
bill vojtech (not verified)

"Definition of wi-fi hot spot–

Hotspots are locations with public wireless access points where you can connect your mobile computers (such as a laptop or a PDA) to internet, using standard wlan (wi-fi) technology. Most new laptops come with adaptors built in, and on some hotspot locations it is even possible to borrow a PCMCIA adaptor.

Hotspots are often found near restaurants, train stations, airports, cafés, libraries and other public places.

A commercial hotspot may feature:

* A captive portal where users are redirected to for authentication and payment
* A payment option using credit card, Paypal, iPass etc.
* A walled garden feature that allows free access to certain sites

However, many hotspots are open and free for use, either set up by the public or by a commercial enterprise hoping to use it to attract customers.


When your computer detects an open wireless network, how are you to determine if it's open and free to use, or one set up by a careless technophobe who can't read a manual? Most networks, (especially those using factory default settings), have the brand/model of router as the network name. How can someone tell that ""Belkin 88.3"" is private or public? They can't.

Since it's commonly known that free wireless hotspots are set up by some individuals and businesses, it is not unreasonable to assume you are allowed to use them. Especially since every network router I know of comes with some way to block unwanted access.

The analogy of coming home to find people in your apartment watching your TV or sitting in your car or riding your bike because you left them unlocked is bogus– it is not common practice to leave one's home, bike or car open to strangers, while public hotspots are common.

Anyone entering your home uninvited should expect to be arrested, shot or at least asked to leave."

Anonymous's picture
Etoain Shrdlu (not verified)
Did anybody get actually get killed?

">>When I was a front riding marshal in the 5BBT, (years ago),we had instructions to run any ""piggybackers"" who tried to cut in ahead of us into the curb. <<--Bill Vojtec

You mean, commit violence? As a vigilante? (I assume you weren't deputized by the police.) For the ""crime"" of bicycling the same route that the 5-borough was riding?

There are many ways to deal with piggybackers. For example, you can politely ask people who haven't paid to leave the ride, and if they refuse, call a cop. Or you can pull out a pistol and shoot them in the head, thus avoiding the uncertainty of whether you'll actually kill them or not committing a potentially deadly assault by running them into the curb.)

But it's such a great idea! Maybe you should encourage the NYPD to do this at the next Time's Up demonstration. I'm sure the entire cycling community will support your position.

And what of the poor soul who actually is just passing through Central Park or along the street when the hours-and-hours of riders come by? Tough luck, you say? Kill him or her anyway just for being there? And does the 5BBC's insurance company know about its running people into the curb policy? If not, would you like me to forward your post to them?

Bill, Bill, I never knew you were so civilized. Or the 5BBC.

""The destructive urge is a creative urge.""

Your Pal,
Etoain Shrdlu"

Anonymous's picture
bill vojtech (not verified)

"Actually, it was to protect the riders. That's how it was presented to us, any way. And the cops oked it. The motor cycle cops took care of anyone who got past us in a similar fashion.

Crashes were rare when ""running"" errant cyclists to the curb. When faced with the choice between riding into a marshal or the curb, most riders stop, allowing the front riding marshals to overtake them. They were then free to proceed.

The problem was not paying vs. stealing, it was a matter of cyclists getting ahead of the lead cars. If riders get ahead of the lead cars you lose control of the ride and it gets even more dangerous. If someone goes in front of the lead cars and crashes or just stops for a flat the car would have to make a sudden stop– with 10,000 cyclist on its tail.

I have not marshalled the front of the ride, in many years. I don't like the ride because of the way it has to be run– too big."

Anonymous's picture
Natalia Lincoln (not verified)

Hello Bill,

I'm going to be a front line marshal for 5BBT this year. I'd like to ask you some questions about your experience. If you're up for it, please contact me at natalia [at] bway [dot] net. Thanks!


Anonymous's picture
don montalvo (not verified)

our pal etoain wrote:

> Now, some would say this is the moral equivalent
> of piggybacking on a neighbor's wi-fi system

...i always wondered why the patriat-act folks haven't jumped on this one. ;)


Anonymous's picture
Ron Gentile (not verified)

Just a sec...I thought the 5BBT was put on by Bike New York, not the 5BBC.

Anonymous's picture
bill vojtech (not verified)

It used to be put on by the Bicycle Committee of Metro NY AYH. When Metro NY AYH went bankrupt, the 5BBC was formed by the former members of the Bicycle Committee.

I don't know much about Bike NY– they run it now.

Anonymous's picture
Etoain Shrdlu (not verified)
Who's On First?

"I think this needs some clarification. (If I'm wrong, I'm certain I will be corrected con brio before the sun sets.)

•The Five Borough Bike Tour is a creature of the Five Borough Bicycle Club, which in turn is an offshoot of AYH. They meet in AYH headquarters on Amsterdam Avenue. They practice the AYH drop-and-sweep method of riding during their club rides. They stop for every vista, museum, deli, bathroom, supermarket, ice cream parlor and occasional shrine in the Western Hemisphere. This enables them to to turn a 25 mile flat ride into a a nine hour affair.

The sole exception is the day of the 5BBT when, according to Bill (see above) they are permitted to release their inner barbarian and execute maneuvers that might be tantamont to execution.

•The Bike New York Ride (held in the fall, if I'm not mistaken) is an offshoot of Transportation Alternatives, which has or used to have offices in the East Village. The ride is 100 miles long, all of it on city streets and demonstrates to participants that riding around in New York City traffic for 100 miles is very tiresome. (No pun intended.)

•The Escape from New York Ride is an offshoot of the New York Cycle Club, which meets in the cellar of an Irish bar near Grand Central Station. The club consists of three primary membership groups, and I'm not talking A, B, and C. The three groups are Obsessive Gearheads, Very Aggressive Racers, and People Who Joined for Pleasant and Pressure-Free Road Rides. This last group is growing increasingly disaffected. However, most of us, in most of the groups, aren't speaking to one another for one reason or another. (See numerous posts on numerous subjects on this bulletin board.)

•The Time's Up Rides are run by a political organization called Time's Up. As best I can figure it, they meet in paddy wagons.

•The Upper East and Upper West Side Workers and Peasants Ride was killed in the conceptual stages after the organizer, Maurice the Marxist Cyclist, found himself dealing with a mutiny led by a rump coalition of Trotskyites and Fabian Socialists. Hey Maurice, if you're in town give me a shout on my cell. Maybe we can do a private ride up to the Runcible.

•Raisehellfrida the Mud Maiden doesn't do any events. Given the frequency with which she showers, this is probably all for the best. Last time I saw her, she was northbound on 9W, riding tandem with a blind guy. Well, he was probably smelling-impaired, too. The scary part was, he was the stoker. The word around town is, it's a romance.

""There's a pot for every lid.""
--Hovanec the drug dealer

Your Pal,
Etoain Shrdlu


Anonymous's picture
Rich (not verified)
5BBT, 5BBC, AYH, TA, NY Century, and other matters

"1. The Five Boro Bicycle Tour is run by an organization called Bike New York, not the 5 Boro Bicycle Club. They are 2 separate organizations, but both have their roots in the AYH bike committee, which used to do bicycle touring, and started an event called ""Bike New York"" 29 years ago.
2. The 5 Boro Bicycle Club (5BBC) does not run the 5BBT, although many of its members volunteer as marshals, captains, advisory committee, etc. for the 5 Boro Bicycle Tour. 5BBC runs the Montauk Century.
3. The 5 Boro Bicycle Tour is the first Sunday in May. The autumn event is The New York Century, run by Transportation Alternatives. The NY Century does not close the route to auto traffic the way the 5 Boro Bicycle Tour does.
4. If you decide to ""jump"" on the 5 Boro Bicycle Tour (that is, ride without paying), violence will not be committed against you. Following 9/11, and after increasing NYPD concerns about the large number of jumpers, the 5 Boro Bicycle Tour created a few checkpoints in riders not wearing the tour vest are stopped and asked to register and pay on the spot. If they decide to keep riding, and get through the checkpoints, no one is going to forcibly stop them."

Anonymous's picture
tim (not verified)

"""This enables them to to turn a 25 mile flat ride into a a nine hour affair""...... Cycle clubs in glass houses should not throw stones"

Anonymous's picture
Jim Zisfein (not verified)
5BBC: we're faster than you think (provided you think slow)

"Etoain Shrdlu wrote: ""Five Borough Bicycle Club ... They stop for every vista, museum, deli, bathroom, supermarket, ice cream parlor and occasional shrine in the Western Hemisphere. This enables them to to turn a 25 mile flat ride into a a nine hour affair.""

Scurrilous and untrue. I led a 5BBC ride yesterday (Sunday) to State Line Lookout. 25 miles, started at 9, finished by 5. That's **8 hours**, not 9. And we did **not** stop at a supermarket, although we did take a walk in the woods.

-Jim Zisfein, Ride Leader, 5BBC"

Anonymous's picture
liz shura - liz.shura (at) gmail.com (not verified)


It's *Freewheels* that meets in paddy wagons. Come on, learn you your bicycle-related revolutionary groups.

Anonymous's picture
Todd (not verified)

Are these not Public roads for all to enjoy???

Anonymous's picture
Bill Vojtech (not verified)

Many are limited access highways that Bike NY pays to have closed.

Try riding your bike down 5th ave during one of the many ethnic parades we have in NY, or along the Marathon route.

Anonymous's picture
diane goodwin (not verified)
bike new york ride

"Yes, the Bike New York organization runs the annual 30,000+ participant ride each year the first Sunday in May. Before 911 riders could just jump in and ride. It was easier to ride to the festival and jump on the ferry back to lower Manhattan.

Now, since 9/11, there has been restrictions to the organizing group. The names of all participants and volunteers are suppose to be in the hands of designated security. Checkpoints were placed at strategic points - one is just before climbing Verrazano Bridge. If you have no vest and are spotted, they WILL pull you from the ride and you'll have no chance to get over the Verrazano Bridge.

The best way to enjoy the tour is to volunteer - you get to ride for free - if you sign up in time and get a riding position. Next year, sign up for Masi (front line) if you can ride the pace and have the ""skills."" You might try to phone the office 212-932-2300 (ext 130) and ask for the marshal assigner. It's too late to get a Masi position ... but you might be able to be assigned in Manhattan early a.m. and ride the route when your assignment is finished.

diane goodwin
Masi volunteer"

Anonymous's picture
Fixer (not verified)

You mean that the terrorists that figured out how to fly jetliners into buildings would not be able to master the BNY registration process?

Anonymous's picture
Bill Vojtech (not verified)

"No backpacks, no panniers allowed. I guess they might check suspicious bulges in your lycra:

""Is that a stick of TNT inyour shorts, or are you just glad to see me?""

Anonymous's picture
Jamie (not verified)

Another cool way to get to do the ride free and contribute to cycling is to contact Achilles, There is a bunch of us riding tandems this year with blind and sight impaired people in the stoker seat ...doing the real work :-) look out for us on the day, we'll be the ones doing 25 on the flat with a whole bunch of 1 person bikes in tow :-)

Anonymous's picture
Christy Guzzetta (not verified)

That is cool, Jamie . . . really cool!
What an absolutely great way to enjoy the 5 boro bike tour. What a great way to create enjoyment for people who would not otherwise have the opportunity to experience it.
You're a hero, my compliments.

Anonymous's picture
Jamie (not verified)
Achilles; tandems for riders who can't ride themselves 5BBT

Thanks Christy

ha ha so go easy on me Saturday :-)

anyone who would like to ride with us let me know there will be plenty of other rides throughout the year. I will cheekily take the oportunity for a quick plug, there is also a web page where you can donate money to help defray the cost of the purchase of the bikes, ( Fuji supplied them at below cost)




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