five boro bike ride
March 18, 2005 1:18 PM   Subscribe

Thinking about doing the five-boro bike ride in NYC this year. I'd like to hear experiences, opinions & advice from anybody who's done it. Is it too crowded to be fun? What kind of shape do I need to be in? What should I bring? How long will it take to finish?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total)
which one? there are ones put out by various organizations...
posted by yonation at 1:31 PM on March 18, 2005

You're probably talking about Bike NY. I did it last year and I didn't really enjoy it. I think that if you're doing it for the hanging out aspect it's fun. If you're expecting a good ride, you won't enjoy it. There were parts where I could get some riding in, but there was also a LOT of walking. Also, the rest areas were mobbed making it hard to get water/food/restrooms. Of course YMMV. But you knew that.

For what it's worth, I've done other organized rides. Bike New York is a good idea, but I just don't like biking with 50,000 (i don't know the real number) people.
posted by bDiddy at 1:45 PM on March 18, 2005

There is only one that matters. You should be in good enough shape to walk for about fifteen minutes. Then you'll need your low speed bike handling skills to be really sharp for a half hour or so. It is kind of fun, once, if you like crowds. Any reasonably fit person can do it. Think city-to-shore American Cancer Society Ride or city-to-shore MS150 ride start and multiply that by about eight. I think they get like 40K people.

My club does a one-way New Hope to New York ride every September. You ought to check that out, we charter busses to bring us back. Quite a ride, through the cargo terminal near Newark airport, catch the ferry, over the Brooklyn Bridge.
posted by fixedgear at 1:47 PM on March 18, 2005

I've done BikeNY three times, but it's been several years since I last did it. One option is to join late (Central Park is when things cleared up) to avoid feeling like cattle for the first half an hour.

But after we got some clear space around us, we always had a fantastic time. The views of NYC from across the East River were beautiful.

But that was several years ago and it may have gotten obscenely crowded. It was starting to get unbearable the last time I did it. Maybe that's why I stopped... I don't remember.
posted by papercake at 2:07 PM on March 18, 2005

You'll end up walking a long time before the mass of bikes thins out enough to ride.

When I did it, I was in okay shape, but had never ridden anything close to 42 miles. Thanks to the wonders of being young, I didn't suffer for it. I doubt I'd have the same results for a 42-mile bike ride today.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 4:04 PM on March 18, 2005

I've done it a few times fairly recently. Do NOT start where they say "start" (was battery park). I come from Long Island, so I take the LIRR so I get in around the start of the ride, or just before. The I get onto Seventh Avenue (or whichever on it is), and join the ride from there. I miss out on the hour or so of walking the bike early on. I would also suggest skipping the first rest stop - it's usually way too crowded.

And one important thing - be prepared. There will be 30,000 people riding. 29,385 of them don't know how to handle a bike. I've seen a couple accidents, and my friend's son broke his arm two years ago. So be careful.

If you've never done it before, I say go for it. It is definitely a worthwhile experience. Especially riding over the Verazzano Narrows bridge. Enjoy!
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 8:50 PM on March 18, 2005

The trick with Bike NY is to not start at Battery Park with the pack. If you join up with the front of the pack in Central Park or above, you can avoid some traffic.

Biking around the city on closed highways and bridges is fun and it's nice to ride with 40,000 other people, so long as you don't get stuck in the traffic behind a few thousand people who have ridden a bike in a few years...
posted by andrewraff at 7:49 AM on March 19, 2005

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