Bike Month NYC
by Erich Strom, 04/13/2011
- more in nyc sports/
- events in nyc/
Springtime in New York holds many charms—think baseball, cherry blossoms and longer, sunnier days that are perfect for bringing bicycles out of hibernation and back into the City's parks and along its paths and greenways. Every May, the City celebrates their return with Bike Month NYC, encompassing more than 200 rides and events. There are mass rides, sightseeing rides, serious rides and leisurely rides for the whole family; bike repair and safety classes to get you ready to roll; and festivals, parties and cultural events to round things out. Read on for highlights, and check out the official calendar for a complete rundown.
The Main Events
Bike Month shifts straight into high gear on May 1 with the TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour, during which approximately 32,000 cyclists of all ages and abilities take to the streets for a joyful 42-mile jaunt around town. Alas, the tour is so popular (it's the largest bike event in North America) that registration filled up within the first few days. You can still enter, though, by committing to raise money for one of the charity partners. Or mix business with riding pleasure on National Bike to Work Day (May 20). Grab a free iced coffee and a bite to eat at various way stations around the five boroughs, then join other bikers in a group commute led by staffers from the City's Department of Transportation.
Exploring the City
In a city as big as New York, there's no shortage of undiscovered country, as evidenced by Bike to the South Pole, (May 7) a scenic 45-mile ride (with an early-return option after 25 miles) along Staten Island's waterfront and bike paths. The affair starts and ends at Lower Manhattan (with a free ferry ride); along the way, you'll hit the City's southernmost point. Far to the north, the Bronx River Alliance presents Rolling Along the River (May 21). The group will be unveiling its new fleet of loaner bikes and inviting the community to get to know the revitalized river greenway with a full day of events, including a half-mile ride from Concrete Plant Park to Soundview Park and a 2-mile ride along Soundview Park's scenic trails. On the west side of Manhattan, The Big Picture: High Line Bike Tour (May 7)—a 5-mile ride along the elevated railroad's original course led by architectural historian Matt Postal—provides a glimpse into New York's industrial past.
Fun for the Family
Five Boro Bike Fest (April 30), at Brooklyn Bridge Park, kicks the month off in style, with music performances, face painting and a magic show, a slate of mini-classes, and free repairs and safety checks—there's even valet bike parking. That morning, you can bring your bike into good graces at the Blessing of the Bikes at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. After the ceremony, Five Borough Bicycle Club will lead a ride down to the festival in Brooklyn. Fido can get in on the family fun, too, at the Doggie Pedal Parade (May 22) in Washington Square Park, held by environmental organization Time's Up. You can prep your bike beforehand at the Pup Your Ride Workshop (May 19).
Riding a bike is like…riding a bike. Once you've learned how, you'll never forget. Novices can get the knack at Bike New York's free Learn to Ride classes for kids and adults, held throughout the month around the City. Bike New York's full lineup of classes, which includes Bike Commuting 101 and Bike Maintenance 101, provides all the background a beginner needs. Time's Up offers a series of free bike-repair classes as well, at locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. With the basics under your belt, you can use the group's tools and stands at its free Fix Your Bike Workshops.
Once you've got your spokes trued and brakes tightened, the Montauk Century (May 15) lets you rack up the miles until you run out of road. Choose from the 65-mile (metric century), 100-mile or killer 145-mile options; the latter starts at Penn Station and travels the full length of (the aptly named) Long Island. Not killer enough? The New York Cycle Club has scheduled the Liberty Epic, a 150-mile ride down to Philly—on the same day as the Montauk Century—for strong, experienced cyclists who have "been there, done that," as the organizers put it.
Culture on Wheels
Make the City your museum with Art by Bike! (May 22), a 10-mile public-art tour led by folks from the Department of Transportation and the artists themselves. Alternatively, you can show off your own wheels at The City Reliquary's Bicycle Fetish Day (May 28), a bike-themed block party Williamsburg-style, with live bands, vintage and custom bikes, and contests galore (Best Family Bike, Best Mutant Bike, Best in Show). Afterward, the party moves indoors, so you can check out the storefront museum's offbeat collection. Though we don't usually recommend mixing bicycles and beer, we make an exception for Brooklyn Brewery's Bike Night (May 11). The bash is being put on by Braking the Cycle, the annual Boston-to-NYC charity ride to support The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center's HIV/AIDS services. A great ride, a great cause and dollar beer all evening.