I shared this adventure with my friends Kathy, Mary, and Eddie. We met in the lobby of the Marriott Downtown a little before 6 AM. The Marriott was close to the start/finish line, and they could accommodate our bikes. We walked across the street to the garage, picked up our bikes and rode to the starting point at 6th Avenue and lower Manhattan.
We arrived at our starting point around 6:30 AM. The hard core riders started lining up by 5 AM to be at the front of the pack. We were about 3 blocks from the official start line. The people around us were all friendly and all with a story to tell. So the time went quickly. A couple of people we met were father and daughter from Raleigh, NC on a bicycle built for two, celebrating her 9th birthday. Also, a newlywed couple on their honeymoon holding hands and kissing, as they waited for the tour to begin.
The tour officially started at 8 AM. They let the riders start half block groups. As each group took off from the start line, a large flame shot off into the sky on either side of the street. We made our way forward, and officially started at 8:15 AM.
It was pretty slow from downtown until Central Park. We would ride a few blocks, and then stop for cross traffic or pedestrians pass. As the ride progressed, there were fewer stops and/or slow downs. The bridges provided a few hills on the ride, and the pace would slow and/or occasionally stop as some of the riders struggled with the incline or stopped to take photos.
I have to say the ride was a thrill. I loved riding down the FDR at 16 MPH while the cars on the other side of the highway were barely moving. The views of the city and rivers were spectacular. My favorite views were from the bridges. Near the end we made the wide gradual mile climb up the Verranzano Narrows Bridge. The reward was spectacular view of New York Harbor as we crested, then a long decent (I think I broke 29 MPH) and festival as we arrived in Staten Island.
|Kathy, Mary and Eddie relaxing at the Festival|
We finished the last 3 miles of the Tour riding to the Staten Island Ferry that took us back to Manhattan. It was great way to end the tour. We just had to sit back enjoy the view, friends and cold beer.
|View from the Staten Island Ferry|