Ready. Set. Bike!
A total of 32,000 bicycle enthusiasts from all over the world participated in the 41st annual TD Five Boro Bike Tour, held on Sunday, May 6, during which attendees rode their bikes across the five boroughs, making for another successful event.
“It went very well,” said Ken Podziba, president and CEO of NYC Bikes. “The one thing that is out of our control went very well and that’s the weather. It’s always the first Sunday in May and it’s a very tricky time because it rains, sometimes it’s too hot, sometimes it’s too cold. This year was just right so we are happy about that.”
The tour itself was also deemed a success.
“People seemed to really have a good time,” he said. “I met a lot of people after the ride and they were very impressed with all of the volunteers. The Police Department was wonderful. There was a certain energy. I think what’s so special about the tour is the diversity.
“There’s nothing like it in the world where you have all walks of life coming together and experiencing something magical like seeing all five boroughs on two wheels, car free,” he went on. “It was an amazing experience. New York City is a microcosm of the world. You have people from all over the world here so it already feels international but I think this goes beyond that. I met so many people from places like Tennessee, Iowa, Louisiana. Everyone was in such a great, wonderful mood and it was one big New York City party so we were very pleased.”
One change this year was moving the expo portion from lower Manhattan to Red Hook, which initially left long-time attendees upset.
“We got beat up on social media about it, but people were so happy when they got there,” Podziba said. “Many came by ferry, others by subway, some rode their bike, but many thought it was cool. Even a lot of New Yorkers have never seen Red Hook before and people had a great time at the expo so what seemed to be a negative at first actually turned out to be a positive. We hope it helped the local businesses because we were encouraging people to go out to the bars and restaurants there as well.”
The expo — which featured 100 exhibitors — was attended by around 60,000 people. Attendees saw the latest bikes, gear and tons of tourism companies with interactive games.
“Taiwan Tourism had a virtual reality ride where you’re riding on a stationary bike and you have a VR headset on so you feel like you’re riding throughout Taiwan and it’s great,” Podziba stated. “CLIF Bar had a ping pong table, there were fashion shows, ethnic food trucks and bike education. It was one big party. There were lots of kid-friendly activities.
“It’s really a badge of honor for New York City,” Podziba concluded. “It’s not only the largest bicycling event in the country, it’s also the most exciting and inclusive bike event in the world. There’s nothing like it. That’s the strength of it and that’s why I love it so much.”