If you’re in New York on Sunday, August 22, don’t be surprised. Yes, thousands of cyclists pedal in the five arrondissements.
It happens once a year, something like the appearance of cicadas.
But this time it’s going to be very special because the TD Five Boro Bike Tour skipped a year. We all know why. Now you’re going to have “only” 20,000 motorcyclists instead of 32,000, rolling down Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, rushing around Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, Rider Avenue in the Bronx, Queens Plaza, and Hylan Boulevard in Staten. Island.
The race has been held in May since it started in 1977, but for many reasons related to Covid and a shortened ferry schedule to Staten Island, it is now running, with slightly fewer cyclists. And there is still time to be part of it: registrations close on August 13. bicycle.nyc.
Ken Podziba, the fervent boss of Bike New York, is radiant. Because the resumption of the great event means education by bicycle, her baby, continues.
“It’s the biggest cycling event in the United States,” he explains. “We use the proceeds for cycling education, free for the mostly underserved New Yorkers. “
His organization has centers in city parks, teaching adults on weekends and younger ones after school and in the summer. They learn balance and the rules of the road. Bike New York also has a program for ex-convicts, teaching them bike mechanic skills.
The city’s 40 miles of streets, roads and bridges that bikers span is a remarkable endeavor. And there are special rewards this year: snow cones at the five rest areas and the arrival site on Staten Island.
This massive cycling event – only one in South Africa and the largest in the world – crosses five bridges and begins at 7:30 a.m. If you want to choose a place to watch or participate, go to the bike.nyc website.
This mobile party bears little relation to its beginnings, when a grand total of 250 bikers showed up and were escorted through the city streets by police cars in front and behind.
At the time, the city was not very bicycle friendly. But under the reign of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, dedicated cycle lanes were installed, with the idea of reducing car traffic and also giving cyclists some freedom.
There are now more than 500 miles of protected lanes among 1,300 miles of cycle paths in the five boroughs. This is one of the main reasons why there are more than half a million bike trips per day in the five districts of the Big Apple.
The Five Boro ride is also quite inclusive – it absorbs people of all demographics and ethnicities. Diversity is one of its rewards as well as standards. As you cycle through, say, a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood, you’ll hear popular music in 12 different locations. Ditto in other neighborhoods where you might hear rap or jazz.
A distinctly different thing about this year’s hike is wearing the mask – not during a hike, of course, but for those initially massaging in Tribeca, or spending time together at a rest area, or when the adventure is over near the new Empire Outlets on Staten Island.
“If I had one word to describe it,” says Ken, “it’s ‘fun’. And he adds,
“The beauty is it’s not a race, it’s a ride. “