May 14th, 2022 @ 6:14 pm
i forgot to post about the five boro bike tour i did two weeks ago!
i probably would never never done this tour had my friend george not asked me to join his team. i was being such a big baby about even getting into manhattan with my bike alone and riding downtown. i felt like such a nerd. it was cake getting down to the financial district from penn, though. i don’t know wtf i was so worried about. i guess the unknown just always scares me.
anyways, so the five boro tour starts in FiDi and ends up bringing riders through all 5 boroughs (while you’re only in the bronx for like FIVE seconds) and leaves you in staten island. yeah, 40 miles with 32k other cyclists… it was quite the experience.
i don’t want this to be one of those “what you should expect”/what to do or tips posts, this was just my experience (in case you find this post via google).
i have some thoughts…
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…so how did my day of go?
well, i woke up at the buttcrack of dawn (5:30 AM-ish), tried to eat some overnight oats, but i was extremely nauseous as i am every damn morning… i could only get through half of the bowl and i ate a banana. i didn’t have any coffee because i didn’t want to have to poop, lol. i ended up having a headache from the lack of caffeine (morning AND afternoon). i took the LIRR in from bayside, and there were a few fellow riders with me. i wasn’t sure where there were elevators in penn, so i was panicking, bc i’m a virgo and we like to plan ahead… but we all ended up just taking our bikes up the escalators.
i called george in a personal panic to see if i could meet up with his group in midtown (they were riding in from astoria, going over the 59th st bridge and coming down), but he was just pretty much like “it’s fine, you can make it there”, and so i did. i was trying to follow people downtown at first, but then i just became comfortable and branched off. i don’t know why i was being so fuckin weird about it. i think it’s just like when you go up to speak in front of a crowd and you forget your name. i know where i was, but i felt like i’d get lost and forget the streets? maybe it’s a nervous adrenaline thing? either way, i made it there just fine and found george a little while later.
the number of people at the starting area(s) is crazy. it’s kind of annoying when you’re starting, because everyone is being herded through so slowly and it bottle necks at the start line. you have to kind of drift/scoot your bike if you’re not walking it and it’s super annoying because of how close everyone is to each other. once you pass by the td person with the megaphone, you’re good to go (kinda).
i found myself behind slow ass people all day, and i have no idea how or why, bc i think our group was in the second wave? it was kind of annoying bc it fucks up your momentum while riding. for instance, going up the 59th st. bridge… i walked my bike bc there were so many slowpokes that didn’t know how to ride up properly, made no space or were just walking their bikes up.
once we were going, it was great. the ride was beautiful, especially on the FDR drive. honestly, what a way to see NYC! i’m glad i got to experience it. if it wasn’t for the BQE being so fucking windy, i would have loved that more. the entire ride was doable for most – some hills, but mostly flat. on 478, there is one wretched hill i had to get off and walk a bit. i can’t believe there were people on hand bikes and disabled people doing the tour. PROPS to those folks, because i could barely get through it without getting off my bike and walking it. there was also two dudes (that i saw) on modern penny farthings – i have no idea how they got through the tour on those things. notably, i also saw a guy with no shoes on (WTF?!) and a guy wearing a bikini bottom while riding (ouch!).
i am an idiot and i didn’t pad myself for this ride (my poor vagina, lol). my saddle is hard/leather but it honestly never bothers me, even on 20+mile rides, but 40+ miles, nah. i really love how sleek my bike looks with the saddle, so i’m not going to swap it out for a cushy one – it’s got the sexy brass rivets… i just can’t. instead, i bought me some padded cyclist panties (i hate how the shorts look with the padding). we’ll see how it goes.
physically, i felt okay through the entire ride. i didn’t have caffeine, which i definitely felt (headache), i probably didn’t drink enough water (i’m not a huge water drinker while i’m riding) and i didn’t eat much – i really don’t love eating while riding. the halfway point is astoria park, and we stopped to have bananas/pretzels and cookies, otherwise i didn’t eat until we got back to queens. once i got there, i was FREEZING for some reason. i usually run hot, so that was weird. maybe it was bc i hadn’t eaten or drank TOO much water. slight dehydration maybe? it took me an hour to recover out of that feeling. i don’t really know what i could do about it, as i really hate forcing myself to eat or drink stuff.
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i’m glad i did it, glad i can say that i did it, but it’s A LOT, even for someone who rides on a regular basis (i pretty much do). i think this tour is something i would do once every few years. maybe it’s the time of year that they have it, too. it’s been so rainy and windy lately that i didn’t train hard or as often enough as i should have. i don’t mind riding in the cold, but riding around in the wind makes me feel like i’m riding in place, and i hate that shit. i definitely could have used a month or so of riding before the date. if they did this in sept or oct i would be way more into it.
another thing that was rough about the entire ride is that my bike is a single speed. maybe if i had a road bike with gears for hills, it’d be different. i have to talk to leo about stealing the fuji he offered me. the hills are fine, but the bridges were BRUTAL. once you’re on the verrazano, it just feels like you’re never going to get to the top. i did half of it and gave up and walked. it was brutal as it is, but the slower riders clogging everything up didn’t help. maybe if there was a smaller number of people riding around it’d be nicer.
my last complaint here is the route itself. once we were finished with the tour and ended up in staten island, it was a bitch to get back home. first off, all of the same people bottle necking at the start were all packed into this dumb little area in SI. the line to get on the ferry to get back to manhattan was insane… we stayed around the area for a bit, grabbed ice cream and beers and hung out, but by the time you’re done with the race, you just want to get home. i feel like it’s a sort of poorly planned event in that regard.
we rode from downtown up to 34th st to get on queens/NYC ferries back to astoria and the boats were only taking 5 bikes at a time, so we kept getting denied permission to board the damn things. we waited through a couple of boats and then ended up getting on a LIC ferry vs. an astoria ferry and just riding back to my friend’s house. it was a massive, tiring pain in the ass to end a long ride.
but hey, i ended up with a medal 🙂
i did watch this video before the tour and it helped, if you’re looking for tips. the only tip that i’ll throw into the mix: bring a portable phone charger with you.