By Paula Bielfelt
“Start spreadin’ the news …I want to be a part of it, New York, New York!”
Some 32,000 cyclists, Kim Saporito & myself saw firsthand that cycling car-free through the Big Apple is the best way to see the city. On May 2, with summer-like weather, entertainment along the route, and a mass of friendly people, the 2010 Five Boro Bike Tour was one of the most thrilling events I have ever participated in.
The adventure starts in Lower Manhattan, heads north through the heart of Manhattan to Central Park. It continues to historic Harlem and the Bronx, returning south along the East River on the FDR Drive. From there it crosses into Queens and then Brooklyn, where cyclists take over the highway before making the breathtaking climb up and down the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to Staten Island. The route is 44 miles, mostly flat, except for the bridges.
I liken this ride to being in a NYC taxi during rush hour traffic – it can be both frustrating and exhilarating! Several times we came to a complete standstill with hundreds of cyclists all around jockeying for position. It was certainly a juggernaut to be reckoned with. At other times, the road was relatively open with a mere couple dozen cyclists around with speeds up to an invigorating 20 mph.
Overall, it was awe-inspiring to be a part of such an enormous force of cyclists! Can you imagine 32,000 bikes? I never saw the beginning nor the end of the ride. It was a sea of cyclists as far as the eye could see down the avenues of this massive city. The only thing more awe-inspiring than the mass of people was the kindness and generosity of the people of NYC! They are gracious and hospitable, and I look forward to my next opportunity to take a “bike out of the Big Apple!”
Kim Saporito, in Staten Island