I rode in the Five Boro Bike Tour for the second (and last) time today. The 5BBT is the bicycling equivalent of St. Patrick’s Day, but it does have one unique feature: you can ride over the Verrazano Bridge. The bridge and I are roughly the same age, and I think it’s the second-most-beautiful bridge in the city (the Brooklyn Bridge of course being first).
Several years ago, I rode in the tour on a miserably rainy day, starting properly at 7am in a mob of bicyclists so thick it took 15 minutes before I could actually ride rather than walking. The crowds were awful, we ran into frequent traffic jams, and when the mob stopped entirely on the Gowanus Expressway, in the chilly rain, I bailed out, got off at the Second Ave exit, and rode home.
I did not make that mistake this year. I ignored my 7:45 start time, instead leaving the house at 9:30 and heading down to Dumbo, joining the tour 3/4 of the way through, just before getting onto the BQE. It was a beautiful day, the ride down the BQE and Gowanus was great (and also faster and less stressful than driving), and I did get to ride over the bridge, even stopping (illegally) to take some photos.