Riders cycle through rain during 42nd annual Five Boro Bike Tour

Riding in the rain!

Despite rough weather throughout the day, thousands of cyclists rode on during the annual TD Five Boro Bike Tour.

The 42nd annual event, held this year on May 5, once again offered riders 40 miles of car-free New York City streets across the five boroughs.

Ken Podziba, president and CEO of Bike New York, discussed the bad weather and how attendees rallied to have a good time.

“It rained the entire time,” Podziba said. “It’s really unfortunate, but the riders who rode all seemed to have a great experience and a really good time. I was cheering people on and they seemed to be happy and feeling like they earned their medal at the end of the ride.”

The race started at Church and Franklin Streets in Lower Manhattan. The route traveled north through Midtown and Central Park, part of the South Bronx, and skirted the East River on the FDR Drive. After crossing the Queensboro Bridge, the tour looped through Astoria, entered Brooklyn on the Pulaski Bridge and continued south. Near Downtown Brooklyn, riders entered the Gowanus Expressway, which led to the Verrazzano Bridge and a festival at the finish line in Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island, after which cyclists rode to the Staten Island Ferry.

Although some of the 32,000 registered riders didn’t show up, Podziba said, volunteers stepped up to make the event as seamless as possible.

“The good news is our volunteers showed up,” he said. “These are people not getting paid. It says a lot about who they are as people. So many of them love this annual event and they feel it’s a part of them. When I think of this event and the ownership, I think it’s owned by the community of New York City. But these volunteers have a stake in it also. They are married to it. That’s why so many of them came out and worked all day long in the rain.”

The tour is the largest in the United States and second largest in the world.

“We had one third [of registered] riders not show up,” Podziba said. “That was disappointing, but you can also look at it as two thirds did show up.”

The ride also serves as a charity, which only adds to the success of each year’s event.

“We are a nonprofit and we provide free bike education,” Podziba explained. “All of the proceeds go back to the community. Last year we provided bike education to 29,000 New Yorkers. Almost every single person who rode in the tour was contributing to one of our students.”

Podziba finds that the Five Boro Bike Tour’s diversity is what makes it special.

“What I like most about our ride is, I believe it’s the most inclusive ride in the world,” he said. “Most rides have just middle-aged men. This one has a lot of women, children, elderly, people with disabilities, people from 27 countries throughout the world. Itreally feels like a microcosm of the world and that’s what it should be in New York City.”

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