This weekend, the same day that someone tried to blow up a car in Times Square, I dragged my bike into Manhattan in order to particulate in the Boro Bike tour, which is a 42 mile bike ride though the five boros of New York City. The ride starts in lower Manhattan, below Wall Street, then goes up 6th Avenue and over the Third Street Bridge into the Bronx. From there, it’s back into Manhattan to race down to the 59th St/Queensboro bridge to hop over into Queens. The tour goes through the incredibly Greek Astoria, then it’s onto the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, a truly terrifying highway, into Brooklyn where the bikes hit the streets until they reach the Belt Parkway, which provides a salty breeze and views of the big cargo ships leaving New York harbor and heading out to sea. Then it’s just a few neighborhood blocks until the riders go up the steep onramp to the Verrazano Bridge, where the tour crosses over into northern Staten Island. After a stop in which the riders are forced though a ridiculous festival clearly designed by marketing staff, the riders are allowed out, where they bike a couple more miles along the coast to the Staten Island ferry, which shuttles ’em back to Manhattan, at nearly the point where they started out.
It was awesome. I wish I hadn’t been too exhausted from actually biking 42 miles to take pictures. Riding through the neighborhoods of New York was like walking through the memories of my six years here. And, being me, I naturally had to careen through the 42 miles at a speed that was far too fast to maintain, so I ran out of steam around mile 30, but forced myself though the last 12 miles anyway. By mile 42, I never wanted to see a bike again and somehow managed to fall asleep on the Staten Island ferry while holding my bike upright. Today I’m looking at joining a cycling club.
Still, my favorite New York moment on the ride came when someone cut me off and clipped my front wheel. I managed not to go head over handlebars, but I did slide off my pedals onto the ground, so I stopped in the middle of a crowd of bikes. Somewhere behind me, someone shouted out, “Hey! You’re supposed to stop on the *side* of the road!”
Boy, do I love this town.