New York 5 Borough Bicycle ride 2005
After a number of years contemplating riding my bicycle in the New York 5 Borough Bicycle Ride - 30,000 cyclists riding through New York City- a moment of insanity struck and I decided to "just do it".
Thanks to Len Adamusko for filling me in on the logistical nightmare of a ride, which has scared me away until now and can only be, best described as controlled chaos.
I woke at 3 am to a steady rain but was relieved when I saw the forecast calling for partly sunny skies later. I picked up George and Dale Hollerbach at 4am, stopped at 7-11 for a coffee and headed north up the turnpike to Staten Island to catch the ferry to Manhattan where the ride begins. Steady rain all the way up- I thought it was supposed to stop!
The Staten Island Ferry was a mob scene: thousands of cyclists were in line. I was thinking they should have put extra ferries in service for this event, this is gonna take forever to get to Manhattan. Wrong! We not only fit, but there was extra space to spread out. The ferry is huge, 3 floors, wow! Half-hour later we were in Battery Park- where the ride begins- with 45 minutes to spare.
As we were waiting for the ride to begin the rain came down even harder- I thought it was supposed to stop! (I said that already) At 8 am we popped out of our sheltered area onto to the street where the ride begins into a mass of cyclists in front of us and behind. I used my binoculars to see if I could see the start but all I saw was a colorful human mass stretching for blocks ahead of us.
8:15- still no movement, still standing in a steady rain. 8:30- still waiting but wait! - some noise, cheering and movement. We're on our way! We move about 20 feet and stop- man, this stinks! Finally at about 8:40 we began to move ever so slowly but finally we were on our way!
We sadly passed the World Trade center site, those innocent people...
We passed by the Empire State building, moving about 9-10 mph for a while till the mass of people stopped cold. Evidently, everyone is funneling into Central Park, Im thinking this is going to take forever. So we made a decision to go the around the block to the park, so at least we're moving and not standing in the rain. Yeah, great decision! We then moved to the park entrance and funneled right into the park. Now were moving over 10 mph. We eventually were able to move at a steady clip, around 10-15 mph. The rain gradually subsided but it was still cool, damp and dreary for most of the ride.
Riding through the city was uneventful, nothing standing out other than the endless amount of buildings and bridges that go every which way. Maybe if the weather weren’t so dull and dreary the city would have been shown in a better light. The ride over the Verazano Bridge was cool. George took off up the steady incline with me a little behind. We passed hundreds, maybe thousands on this stretch. 1st time my heart rate increased on the ride. At the top we stopped for the awesome view of the skyline. The sun started peeking out and but we were essentially done the ride.
At the bottom of the bridge was a festival with thousands enjoying themselves in the sun, but we’d had enough of the mass of people and took a 5-mile ride through a residential and seedy industrial area to the car.
All in all it was an interesting experience and was glad I did it just to see what all the hype was about. The saying "one time is enough" holds true in this case.
Give me my Bucks County roads anytime.