With 32,000 riders The Five-Boro Bike Tour is a huge ride. In fact, it is my understanding that this is the first year Bike New York went to a lottery for registrants given that they had capped the numbers of bicyclists who could participate and it had sold out within hours last year. But P and I didn't know any of that, we just said, "Sure!" when our friends asked, and so they went online and filled out our lottery registrations.
Weeks later we received emails confirming that we got the thumbs up and could now register for the actual ride. I was a bit taken back by the cost of our family's total registration fees (pricey!) but I figured that the funds were going to a good cause furthering bike education and advocacy in New York City and this would be a one-of-a-kind family experience. I will add that when I was riding, the enormity of the logistics it took to pull off the Tour struck me, a realization of the amount of people and cost it must take to plan and run the ride. I should note, too, that one can ride for a charity without paying the registration fee (there is a fundraising amount participants must reach) or folks can also volunteer to work the Bike Expo and/or tour and be guaranteed a spot in the following year's Five-Boro.
We began brainstorming ways we were going to get ourselves and our bikes to New York but hadn't settled on anything when just a couple of weeks before the Tour, we heard from the Ts that they had a big conflict and were going to be unable to make the ride. At this point, if P had said, "Sara, let's skip this," I have to admit that I likely would have agreed. When I shared my doubts with him, P reminded me that we had always been up for adventures, we met as Peace Corps volunteers, traveled a lot together, and had always expressed a desire to share unique experiences with our sons.
Another incentive came through the online cargo biking community. We had been following the incredible journey of the Pedal Powered Family and learned on the Facebook page of (R)Evolutions Per Minute that Heidi, Reuben, and their kiddos would be in New York at the time of the Five-Boro and hope to join the ride. Reuben and I ended up emailing and texting about meeting up and riding together. However, up until the Saturday before the Sunday ride, it wasn't clear if they would be able to get numbers to join the ride. Thanks to a serendipitous turn of events when the PPF was at the Bike Expo, Reuben, Heidi, Harper, and Eden ended up with the official green bibs we had picked up the Thursday before.
|Train station in New Haven|
|Getting to the train with our bike helmets|
I got a real rush climbing on the Xtracycle Radish with one of the guys on the back, pedaling down to Lexington Avenue, and riding the six blocks to the subway station. This was a 'coming together' for me of some sort, being so comfortable riding our cargo bikes at home in New Haven but despite multiple years of living in NYC, this was the first time we were riding them in this place.
|The Yuba on the subway platform|
Carrying the longtails up the stairs out of the station took the two of us two separate trips. We were both breathing a bit heavy when reached the top of the stairs the second time but it was fun to see the myriad of other riders emerging from streets around us, making their way to the start of the tour.
|To be continued....|