Sunday, October 19, 2003

Tour de Bronx

I spent most of Sunday on the free Tour de Bronx bike ride. I left my apartment at 8:30 AM to meet up with some other cyclists riding from Central Park to the start. When we got there, it was chilly and cloudy but dry. Around 10 a cold rain fell and threatened to call off the ride, or at least started to convince me to go home and get back into bed. But I ate a massive cheeseburger and fries for dinner on Saturday, and I wasn't about to go back without working that off. When the rain eased at 10:30 the organizers started the ride, and a sodden crowd of riders went forth. Except for being wet for about half the ride, I enjoyed myself. It was tougher than the last time I rode it, in 2001. About half the route followed the TA Century route through the Bronx, so I was familiar with the streets. There were more hills on this route than there were the last time, including the Riverdale hills that are a part of the TA Century as well. The annoying aspect of the ride was the constant police presence. I don't mind having the police around; at one point I saw a woman who'd had a nasty fall, and another rider flagged down a passing cop about two minutes later. But the police formed a cordon or "safety cell" around the ride, so there were frequent stops where they held the riders while closing the streets ahead of the group. It was only a 40-mile ride, which I could have covered in about four hours, but with the holdups it took me about 4 1/2 hours instead. Still, the sun came out in the afternoon, and there were some tasty snacks at the rest stops. I didn't mind all the hills, even the long climb to Poe Park at the end, but my legs will be hurting tomorrow.

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