Empire State of Mind for 5 Boro Bike Ride

I started organizing some files on my computer today and found pictures from my recent girls weekend to NYC for the Five Boro Bike Tour. It’s a 42 mile ride that starts in Manhattan, winds through The Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn before finishing in Staten Island.  Don’t let the 42 miles scare you.  This ride is much more about sightseeing than fitness. 

It’s hard to believe it was about this time last year I received the text message from my girlfriend about an amazing airfare deal.  Round Trip tickets from MSP to Newark– 100 dollars.  $121 with tax.  Such a great deal, I rushed to my computer and booked it.  Good thing!! Just hours later the cheapest airfares for the same dates were closer to 300 bucks.  So if you are thinking about this trip for 2011, I would start checking  airfares now. 

The last time I had been to New York was the summer of 2001.  A lot changed since then.  Ground Zero is quite close to the start of the bike tour, so you couldn’t help but reflect on the events of 9/11.  But that would not be the focus of this trip.  

Our New York experience started with a Limo Driver who was over the top inappropriate.  Maybe my girfriends will want to share his exact comments but I believe he made a reference to the size of something private.   This was just the start of our adventure.  Have you partied in the meat-packing district recently? Oh boy.  I can’t even tell you the names of the places we went.  All I remember is the bouncer saying he rarely, if ever, lets in women who are over 25 years old.   Am I supposed to feel good about that? Anyhow,  our middle aged posse made it ’til bar time.  Yep, we closed the place at 4am.   And that was just the first night.   The second night, we befriended a gal who was paranoid about getting her picture taken.  She told us, she may run for president one day and any pictures or video of her could be incriminating.  It turns out her voice could be heard in one of the video clips and she grabbed my camera and wouldn’t give it back.   Then there was the third night at the trendy cafe in the village,  seconds before our food was served, a gentleman at the next table barfed into a wine glass.   Can you say appetite suppressant?

Finally,  it was the morning of the bike tour.  And I am telling you, after what we had seen and experienced the last couple days, I didn’t know what to expect.   The forecast called for sunny skies and mid 80’s.  It’s the kind of weather you dream about when you sign up.  The previous year it was freezing and rainy for the event.   The seemingly ideal conditions did have setbacks.   The turnout was tremendous.   The crowds meant bottlenecks and at least one water stop with no water left when we got there.  No complaints from me. I was in no hurry and didn’t care that the ride that should have been done in 3 hours, took 6 hours instead.  However,  the extra time on the roads,  meant I would be coming home with an unexpected souvenir:  a tan line from my bike shorts that I couldn’t seem to erase all summer long.  So besides packing sun screen, here are a few other key tips if you are thinking about trying this bike tour.

5 Tips for the 5 Boro Bike Tour.

  1. Check the website to see when sign up opens.  It fills up fast.
  2. Rent a bike. There is a link right on the Registration site.   The hybrids worked great for us.  This is definitely not a race. It was so crowded we had to walk in some areas.
  3. Stay in a hotel close to the starting line and pick up your bike the night before. (we loved the Embassy Suites.  Buffet breakfast was included along with unlimited happy hour cocktails)
  4. Decorate your helmets with fun frilly things that stick out on top.  It makes it a million times easier to find your friends.  Countless people told us they wish they had done the same.
  5. There’s a little bar with dollar beers, just a mile or two before you get on the ferry!  I highly recommend it!

Who is in for 2011?  And if you know of any other bike tours like this in other parts of the country or world, let me know.

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