Feed on

I have a habit—good or bad, I’m not sure which—of signing up for physical challenges and then ruing the moment I did. I worry about the event. My neurosis surfaces from deep in my genes and whispers annoyingly, “Why did I say I’d do this? I could stay in bed and read a good book.” Then I get started, and remember why: I like to try new things. There was trapeze school on the Santa Monica pier with the kids in 2011. The bike trip through Vietnam later that same year. And now the 5-Borough Bike Ride, with Bob, friends from Florida, and 35,000 others on May 4, 2014.

There were times when I found the 40 mile ride exhilarating, just seeing the number of riders at the start. The sea of helmets in the photo below is only about 15% of the 32,000, because we were half-way down the pack and there were three different start times.

sea of faces

At times the ride reminded me of the Running of the Bulls–exciting, fast, crowded, and a little bit dangerous.

fast and a little dangers

At the end:  That great feeling of accomplishment and fun you get when doing something new with friends and a 50-something body.

four of us with bikes

(That’s me in the “please-don’t-hit-me” orange jacket)

Here are five things I learned in the 5 Borough Bike Ride:

1 .  The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is 4 miles long, which means 2 miles up and 2 miles down.

The V-N was the last of five bridges on the ride. It has a very gentle but long uphill (which stopped some folks).   Then we coasted (“Woo! Hoo!”) two miles down to the end.


 2.  There is more than one kind of Kind bar.

Kind bars sponsored the ride and gave them out at rest stops like it was Halloween and everyone was wearing a cyclist costume. Kind bars look to me like nuts glued together with some sort of goop. Healthy goop, of course. But the Kind Bars folks also gave out a grain-only bar at the first rest stop. That’s the kind of bar I liked much more.

3.  Defensive biking skills are helpful and rare.

I’m a little nutsy about following safe biking rules.  They may be the only rules I love. I wear a mirror on my helmet, and look at it every 2 seconds. When I’m passing, I say, “passing on your left,” or “coming up on your right.” When I slowed down I said I was “slowing” (there’s no brake lights!) To people who gave me the same helpful signals, I always said “thank you” to the back of their head as they whizzed by.

4.  New Yorkers can be very cool about being crowded and waiting.

There were long lines for the bathrooms, the ferry, and food, as well as subways crowded with bikers, but I didn’t hear one grumpy or offensive person.  Yay NYC! bikes on subway

5.  Uncle Junior from the Sopranos (aka Dominic Chianese) has a great voice. He sang the Star-Spangled Banner at the starting point.

Who knew?

Thank you to our friends who invited us, our cousins who fed and housed us, and to Bob, who loves these adventures too, but skips the neurotic worrying before.

Read more about the ride here.

Also, if you see an ad below,  I don’t receive anything from it.  They just stick it on the end of my blog. “That’s how they getcha.”

2 Responses to “Five Things I Learned From the NYC Five-Borough Bike Ride”

  1. Nan Gill says:

    Sounds like you had a great experience. Sorry you weren’t with us cycling in Andalucia, but it sounds like you had your own special adventure!

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