The TD Five Borough Bike Tour is an unforgettable way to experience New York City. I’ve been browsing the Bike New York website and after just a cursory look at the photos full of diverse, smiling faces and pages accented with the motto, “Grab Life by the Handlebars,” I already want to find out more and get myself signed up for the 5 Borough Bike Tour. Read on for all the details so you can too!
What Is It?
The TD Five Borough Bike Tour is a one-day bike ride through New York City put on by the company, Bike New York, with the help of sponsors like TD Bank. This unique bicycle tour involves more than 30,000 participants who, for one whole day, have access to the streets of New York City without cars on the road! Proceeds from the tour go to Bike New York’s free educational programs that teach bike riding to people of all ages; last year that included some 16,000 children and adults! That makes the TD Five Boro Bike Tour the largest charitable bike ride in the United States. And this ride isn’t a hardcore race; it is available to all skill levels and all ages, except for children under the age of three. The 5 Borough Bike Tour provides everything you could think of along the route from toilets to water stations, first-aid, rest areas, support and repair, and more, plus tons of live entertainment!
When Is It?
The TD Five Borough Bike Tour takes place annually on the first Sunday of May. Unless you live locally, plan to arrive at least a day ahead to have time to attend the Bike Expo which precedes the actual bicycle touring event. In addition to the fun atmosphere full of vendors and kindred spirits, this is where you will pick up your packet of essentials provided for the tour.
Where Is It?
New York City is divided into five neighborhoods called boroughs (or boros): Manhattan, Staten Island, Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn. This bike tour covers all of them, in that order, starting in lower Manhattan. That means you will get to experience each part of New York City, taking in the magnificent city, cruising through the heart of central park, crossing breath-taking bridges and finishing in Staten Island – all without the stress of typical New York City traffic.
Sign Me Up!
I know, me too! Registration is required in either December or January of each year. If you are eager to stay informed or worried about missing out, you can head over to the 5 Borough Bike Tour website and sign up to receive newsletters through email that will keep you informed and notify you when registration opens. Registration costs $92 excluding a processing fee. For those looking to turn the tour into a race, there is a VIP option for exactly that, starting at $325. If you are planning to bring along your loved ones (everyone above the age of three is welcomed, including international participants) register as a “team” to ensure that you can start together and stay together.
What to Bring
One of the glorious things about this tour is that very little special equipment is required. That means west-coasters like me can pack lightly and make our way to New York carefree. The first thing to consider is what bike you’ll be using for the tour. If you don’t want to bring your own bike, there is an option to rent one for the day of the tour. You can find more information on the 5 Boro Bike Tour website, just be sure to make the reservation as soon as possible, as there are a limited number of rental bikes available.
Aside from the bike itself, the next thing you’ll want to make sure you have is a helmet, which is required for every single cyclist on the tour. The rest of the packing list is pretty minimal. There are restrictions on the type of bag you can carry along, so keep that in mind. Otherwise, pack weather appropriate clothing and sunscreen and sunglasses (even if a heat wave isn’t in the forecast). You’ll need cash, a valid ID, your fully-charged cell phone, some snacks, two water bottles (that you can refill along the route), an extra bike tube and a patch for flat tires. Remember, there are lots of provisions already provided along the route and plenty of food options will be available for purchase. Everything else that you need will be provided in the tour packet that you can pick up at the Bike Expo a day or two before the race.
The NYC 5 Borough Bike Tour
I can’t believe that is all it takes to enjoy this unique opportunity to explore beautiful NYC in open air, in a safe and fun environment. I can almost feel the wind on my face and hear the live entertainment as I peddle on from borough to borough exploring the city for the first time in a way that even native New Yorkers never have! And what a wonderful event that I can participate in, knowing part of my entry fee will give someone the opportunity to have that wind-in-the-face thrill of riding a bike for the first time!
To learn more about the TD New York 5 Borough Bike Tour, be sure to visit the official website at: www.bike.nyc
Photos provided by: Roberto LoRusso