This year was my sixth time riding in Bike New York/The Five Boro Bike Tour, and I think this year's ride may have been my favorite. I hope my several readers will forgive me for bragging a little in this post. I've been riding as an adult for about eight years now, and while I've had my ups and downs physically over that time, so far in 2006 I feel like I'm riding better than ever.
I left my apartment and got warmed up by flying down Second and Fifth Avenues to my usual starting place in Greenwich Village, near my old apartment. (I'm one of those bad people who doesn't start the ride at Battery Park -- I prefer to jump in a few blocks north.) The ride followed the same route as in previous years: Sixth Avenue to Central Park, then north out of the park to the Madison Avenue Bridge to the Bronx. Coming out of the Bronx, the course takes the FDR Drive to the Queensboro Bridge, through Astoria, then south to Brooklyn, along the waterfront to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, then the Shore Parkway, and finally the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to Staten Island. My favorite parts of the ride are the FDR and the BQE, as they are only open to bikes for this ride, once a year. So when I got onto those highways, I put my bike into high gear and took off. I rode safely but swiftly, passing rider after rider, my legs burning but the rest of me feeling fantastic. I was in the left lane on the BQE for most of the time. Riders in front of me either heard me coming or just sensed me behind them, because they kept moving to the right just as I was getting ready to pass them, leaving me plenty of room to blow by. At one point on the BQE, my bike computer said I was going 28 MPH, which might be a personal record. Including rest stops, I covered the entire 42-mile route in about four hours. At the end of the ride I felt like I could have gone another twenty miles. I actually had about eight miles left, which is the distance between the Staten Island ferry terminal and my apartment on the Upper East Side. So I ended up with 50 miles for the day, and 100 miles total so far in 2006. I'm a tenth of the way to my 1000-mile goal. I can tell that my legs are going to be aching tomorrow from all that hard work on the BQE, but the pain will be worth the effort. And the endorphins feel fantastic.