I was so excited that my friend Tracy and I snagged a spot in the 5 Boro Bike Tour this year because the spots sell out so fast! This bike ride’s route takes you all through NYC and weaves it’s way 40 miles through Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island where you then take the ferry back to Manhattan. Over 30,000 join this ride making it one of the largest cycling events in the USA.
As the day for the ride got closer, the weather forecast was not looking good. Rain, rain and more rain, because if you have been reading my blog for awhile you know that a LOT of the things I plan get rained out. It is extremely frustrating that I have this horrible luck. Since everything was already paid for we decided to still go. My worry was lugging our bikes up there and having to try to stuff them on the subway if it was raining a lot and we couldn’t ride. As the day of the tour got closer, it looked like we were going to luck out and the rain was going to hold off! This lifted my spirits and we headed to the bus station with our bikes excited to cycle around New York!
I had never taken the bus to NYC, but when I found out we could take our bikes on the bus for $5, we decided that was the way to go. I didn’t know what to expect – I knew that we would have to store the bikes under the bus in the storage area, but for some reason I thought they would be in a large bin to help protect them (there wasn’t). The instructions online stated we needed to take the front wheels off the bike, which we did. The bus driver hopped off the bus, opened the back storage compartment, told us we could put our bikes in there, and headed to the front of the bus to collect tickets from the other passengers. I don’t know why I assumed the bus driver would have to load the bikes, but we quickly realized it was our responsibility – and we had no idea how to shove our bikes in that little space. Luckily Tracy is tiny and was able to fit inside the compartment to arrange our bikes – and of course I had to snap a picture because it was hysterical.
After the bikes were in we asked the driver why we needed to take the front wheel off. He replied he didn’t really know, but thought it was because it made the bikes lighter. We cracked up about that and decided that on the way home we would just put our bikes in with the wheel on. We took our seats and were on our way to NYC!
When we arrived, Tracy had to go back IN the compartment to get our bikes out. I had a hard time putting my front wheel on because I have disc brakes and the lever got depressed. This causes the break pads to close and not reopen since the front wheel was removed. We had to search for something that was small enough to fit in and open the brakes back up so I could put my wheel back on. Luckily it wasn’t that hard to fix and Jeff reminded us that it could happen before we left so we knew right away why the wheel wasn’t going on (THANKS JEFF!)
From the Port Authority Bus Terminal we hopped on the Hudson River Greenway – which is an amazing bike route that spans the west side of Manhattan. It was so lovely – the sun was shining and there were tulips blooming everywhere!
There were so many people out enjoying the day! We made our way to our hotel, checked in and then mapped out the best route to cycle to Red Hook to pick up our packets for the ride. We made our way to the Manhattan Bridge and then to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Greenway and various connecting bike lanes all the way to Pier 11.
Packet pick up was a breeze – it was very well organized and they kept the lines moving. We then made our way into the expo – which was very crowded. After wandering around for a bit we headed outside to check out the food trucks. We enjoyed a bite to eat while getting a pretty cool view of the Statue of Liberty!
The wait time for the ferry was insane so we cycled back to our hotel the way we came, except we took the Brooklyn Bridge. Cycling over the Brooklyn Bridge was terrifying – there were WAY too many people. Most of those people were looking around, in awe of the views and not paying attention to where they were walking – some walking backwards INTO the bike lane. We spent the entire time yelling at people, warning them they were standing in the bike lane, and trying to make room for cyclists coming the opposite direction. I can say I am glad I cycled across it, but I never want to do it again – I’ll go back to the Manhattan Bridge.
We spent the night worrying if the weather would hold out and in the morning the forecast wasn’t looking good. We figured we could probably finish the ride, but it looked like by the estimated time we would be getting on the ferry it would be raining. Then we would have to cycle back to the hotel, grab our stuff, and cycle back to the bus in pouring rain – neither of us wanted to do this. Also it would mean that we would have to sit on the bus for 4 hrs home soaking wet. After debating and checking the weather multiple times, we decided to just cycle around NYC on our own and NOT do the whole 5 Boro – which is when we started joking that we did the 2 Boro Bike Tour the day before when we picked up our packets.
We spent the morning back on the Hudson River Greenway, heading south to Battery Park where we got another great view of Lady Liberty. The spring flowers were everywhere. We saw so many cyclists heading out to begin the 5 Boro bike tour. I was bummed we didn’t go, but I was happy we were able to cycle around and still enjoy New York City.
After grabbing a bite to eat, we cycled back up to Port Authority to catch an early bus back home.
PS – I don’t think it ever actually rained in NYC the day of the ride – but we tried to not look at the forecast as we left because there was nothing we could do – the decision was made – and we had a blast on our own anyway!