I started this month with my trip to New York City for the Five Boro Bike Tour. I posted the pictures that I took here:
Took my Mom’s car for the trip because it could carry four bikes on the rack, after I got a hitch installed on it. The rack (a Thule Apex 4 9025) performed flawlessly. It took a little messing around, but once I got all four bikes on, there were no problems. The rack and hitches are one of the best purchases I’ve made of late. I’ve already gotten a lot of use from them this summer.
I drove out with my cousin Mary, while the other two members of our team flew out. We didn’t feel the need to do a marathon drive all the way to New York, so we stopped in Pittsburgh for the first night. We got there somewhat early, so we went out for a bike ride in Pittsburgh, along the river. The weather was great and the ride was fun. I’m looking forward to going back to Pittsburgh this summer for a game and another ride.
The drive to New York was amazing. As in, we couldn’t believe how easy it was for us to drive into Manhattan. We didn’t hit any traffic until we got to the Hudson Tunnel. And then, our hotel was about two miles from there. I’m still amazed at how easy it was. Part of me is tempted to try to drive into Manhattan again on a Friday afternoon (around 4) and see if it’s always that easy to get in.
After we checked into the hotel and quickly unloaded the bikes to get them in, we headed up toward Times Square. Mary and I figured that we’d see a show. Then my sister Julie’s flight landed right on time and said that she should be able to join us. We bought tickets for Matilda, which turned out to be a great show.
Saturday was spent in going to the Bike NY Expo to pick up our packets for the ride. We biked over and had a pretty good time. Afterwards, Shadla and I headed back to the hotel to get lunch, while Julie and Mary did a little riding around the area. After lunch, we head up to see the Highline Park, which was pretty cool. Then we head back to the hotel to hang out and watch the Kentucky Derby. Lots of relaxing since we were saving up our energy for the big ride.
Sunday morning brought some nice weather for the ride. We head out around 8am and were in a swarm of people with a 9:15am start time. The start was way more chaotic than last year and we didn’t get to the start until around 9:45am. By that time, we had split into our two teams, Juile and Mary were team A and Shadla and I were team B. Team A jumped right in the swarm and took off. Team B waited a bit for a slightly less busy time to jump in.
The ride up Sixth Avenue was pretty nice and Central Park was great. We then head into the Bronx which was great as well. Coming back into Manhattan we found the first bit of some heavy traffic, which happened a lot more this year than last year. We also came across a pretty bad accident, but we were still going strong. There was a big backup in the area right before the Queensboro Bridge. I remembered that this was the same place where there was a backup last year. We walked quite a bit and then had to start pedaling again on the entrance to the bridge. We were going ok, though working hard, until about the last bit of incline up the bridge. At that point, we got off the bikes and walked the rest of the way to the top. At the top, we could get back on our bikes and keep moving on. The ride over and down the bridge was great, until the very bottom. At that point, my team B partner got clipped by an idiot and almost (but didn’t!) go down. Once we regrouped at the bottom and took a rest at the rest stop, we got ready to head toward Brooklyn. Unfortunately, there was a huge delay as soon as we got out of the rest area. So we decided to end our tour there, right around 20 miles. We head over to the subway and took our bikes back to Manhattan and the hotel. Team A had a much longer day, since they finished the ride and had to wait for the ferry to bring them back to Manhattan. All in all, everyone was tired and pretty happy with their rides.
The rest of Sunday was pretty low-key as everyone was tired. Mary caught a second wind, so we went to Chinatown so she could do a little shopping. She was happy as she scored some good deals.
Monday was departure day. We loaded up the bikes and head back to the Pittsburgh area, leaving around 11am. Once again, we were astonished at how easy it was for us to get out of Manhattan this time. The weather was beautiful and the drive to a suburb of Pittsburgh was lovely. As we were still a bit tired from the ride on the previous day, our goal was to eat dinner and then chill at the hotel, which we achieved. We left early the next morning and had a nice drive back to Illinois.
It was a lot of driving, but I think I enjoyed it far more than the train ride that I took last year. The ride was definitely more fun this year, as I didn’t do it by myself. Not sure if any of us will do it again next year, but I’d definitely consider it. I’d also be happy to take trips to other rides, as it’s definitely a lot of fun.