This is my 7th 5 Boroughs Tour and things have improved dramatically over the years. I skipped a couple of years because of all the bottlenecks and often made my displeasure know to anyone who mentioned that ride. Two years ago they fixed things. Hearing that, three of us gave it another shot last May. They used to start all 32,000 of us at the same time, which did not work at all. My first ride, the cannon boomed to begin at 8AM and I crossed the start line at 9:50AM. Things got progressively worse annually.
Now however there is a staggered start with three manageable groups of 11,000. Keep in mind how big and wide are the streets of New York. With a couple of stops along the route, my group finished the 40 mile ride just before noon. Remember it’s not a race, but a ride, and I have to say it’s a really great way to see New York.
Saturday is check in at Basketball City on pier 36 in Manhattan. What a wild time that offers. It’s a huge bike expo with lots to do and people to meet. Saturday is also a good day to be a tourist in the city. Personally I stay away from Times Square, but if you have never been, it’s got to be on your list. Rockefeller Center is another spot for the first timer. We try to see a different part of the city on subsequent visits. East Village, The Bowery districe, Brooklyn, and so on.
If you ever want a great way to see NYC think or riding your bike with 32,000 like minded people. This is a great weekend and is a wonderful item to add to your bucket list.
The ride is so much fun and so interesting I can’t help singing it’s praises. Crossing the bridges are highlights of the ride. Here is the Wikipedia version.
The tour starts at Battery Park in Lower Manhattan and ends with a festival in Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island, (the car free route continues from Fort Wadsworth to the Staten Island ferry allowing participants to make a complete 42 mile loop back to Manhattan).
The tour runs north up the Avenue of the Americas, past Macy’s, before entering Central Park. After exiting the park the tour heads north through Harlem on Seventh Avenue, crossing into the Bronx for a short 2-mile (3.2 km) section before re-entering Manhattan via FDR Drive. The FDR portion of the tour runs south through Manhattan under Gracie Mansion before crossing the East River via the Queensboro Bridge into Queens. The first major rest area of the tour is at Astoria Park, Queens.
From Astoria Park the tour crosses south through Queens, over the Pulaski Bridge into Brooklyn, where it follows the waterfront, past the Brooklyn Navy Yard. After crossing under the Brooklyn Bridge, the route follows up and onto the elevated Brooklyn Queens Expressway. Before 2012 it dropped onto the Shore Parkway; in that year it continued on the below-grade Gowanus Expressway and climbed over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge into Staten Island.
Once in Staten Island the tour makes a stop at Fort Wadsworth for a festival, before continuing the last three miles (5 km) to St. George where most riders take the Staten Island Ferry back to Battery Park in Manhattan. Some New Jerseyans return home over the Bayonne Bridge instead.
The route covers the boroughs of
Manhattan, Queens, The Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island. It crosses these five bridges.