I did it. Along with more than 30,000 other bicyclists. The 5 boro bike tour. I can cross it off my bucket list.
I started around 8 am in Manhattan right before Central Park South. (I’d heard the beginning of the tour at Battery Park was a zoo so skipped to the Park.) I finished 45 miles and four hours later in Staten Island.
After a while, all the bridges and boros (boroughs) looked the same. Was I in Brooklyn or Queens? I knew it wasn’t the Bronx because that leg of the tour was brief.
Occasionally a family would be picnicking on their front steps, cheering us on. That felt good. I’d yell to them, “Thanks! We love Brooklyn.” Then I’d wonder, ‘Are we in Brooklyn? Or do I love Queens?’
I usually use my bike just to get someplace. Yesterday, my bike got me to every boro and then at the end, I got to the NYU Hospital. Not for a problem though. It was a celebration for all kids who have had heart problems called the Mend-A-Heart party. My kids love this annual party. And my son is so proud, “Look because of my heart problems, you get to go to this great party!” Yay for broken hearts that are repaired!
Back to the tour — my new bike rocked. It’s a hybrid, not a racing back like most of the bikes on the tour.
I was glad I had a basket to throw my banana peels and health bar wrappers into. Also, I could peel off layers of clothing as the sun and exertion warmed me. Occasionally after hitting a pothole, I had to pat down the contents of my basket while riding so my water bottle wouldn’t go flying.
Of the 5 bridges you cross on the 5 boro bike tour, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at Mile 35 was the deadliest. It just kept climbing for miles and miles and miles. At several points going up, I had a mirage that there — just ahead — it was about to go downhill. But no. It was completely uphill the whole way. Okay, maybe the last two minutes I hit some down hill.
I was thinking that whole way up — what goes up must come down. Then just when I felt like giving up, I was inspired by my friend P’s text, “Stay strong,” she wrote. “Free massages at the end.”
But I didn’t need one of those free massages, I just needed to lay down in the green grass of Staten Island. Really exhausted and really proud.