“Shut Down the Manhattan Bridge!?”
A Report on Dominating and Riding Through the Five Boroughs of New York! (part 1)
FIVE BORO BIKE TOUR 2024 🇺🇸

An Extraordinary Experience: Racing Through Manhattan

The “FIVE BORO BIKE TOUR,” commonly known as Bike New York, is held every May in New York City. It’s the largest event of its kind in the Northern Hemisphere, drawing cycling enthusiasts from around the world. About 30,000 people gathered with smiles on their faces, and of course, I was one of them.

I wondered what kinds of bicycles everyone would be riding and what sights I would see as the morning of the event arrived.

Around 5:30 a.m., in the dim light, I first rented a bicycle. They helped me choose a bike that fit my size and even adjusted the saddle, giving me a sense of security right from the start. It’s amazing that you can participate in the event with a rental bike even if you didn’t bring your own!

Now, to the starting point in downtown Manhattan, Battery Park. I checked the weather forecast at a traffic light. Last night, the forecast predicted rain all day, but it looked like it would hold off in the morning. Yay! But it was really cold today…
However, once the starting ceremony began, the cold was completely forgotten. The streets of the big city were closed off, and around 30,000 people—that is, 30,000 bicycles—were set to ride.
To put it bluntly, “This is unbelievable!” For me, it was extraordinary. And this is New York, a place I thought existed only in dreams or movies. This city is real, and here I am, riding a bike! And not just me, but with 30,000 other people (Is this really a dream?).
That’s how much of an extraordinary experience it was for me. (I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.)

Before the start, I chose a Specialized hybrid bike.
Along with the thoughts of Osamu Suzuki, who was supposed to ride with me.
With colorful clothing and a variety of bicycles, I couldn’t help but look around.

The crowded streets from last night have turned into dedicated bike lanes!

At 7:30, just before the start, the opening ceremony begins. Along with the excitement of the participants’ voices, the sound of bells ringing adds even more excitement. Is this what overseas! What New York! Bike events are like? I felt even more exhilarated!

After 7:30, it’s time to start! I couldn’t stop grinning anymore.

The street in front of “RADIO CITY,” which was jam-packed when I traveled by car the day before. The honking never stopped, and I even thought, “Hmm, maybe it’s faster to walk than drive?” That’s how crowded New York is, with lots of people and lots of cars. It’s bustling with energy from people gathering from all over the world. So much so that it’s congested with traffic.

Me (seen from behind), overwhelmed by the buildings and crowds in Times Square.

However, on the day of the event, it changed so much that I couldn’t help but think, “Was it really like that?” As soon as the roads became entirely dedicated to bicycles, they felt so wide, the air was clean, and the visibility was excellent! It was as if the scenes from yesterday were completely false. Is this city really just an illusion? Beyond grinning, I rode through the bustling morning city and headed to the famous Central Park. As soon as I entered, what caught my eye was a recumbent bike.

Next, running while playing music was a dad dressed in a costume of Mr. Incredible from “The Incredibles”!? Perhaps his child was behind him? It was all just too much, but somehow it put my mind at ease.

By the way, at that moment, “Let It Go” from “Frozen” started playing, and everyone around, including myself, couldn’t help but energetically raise a hand and join in with “Woo-hoo!”

With the roads dedicated to bikes and the flat terrain, we passed through Manhattan and into the Bronx in no time, reaching the first rest area. There, repair booths, food and drink stations, and DJ booths were all set up, creating a festive atmosphere.

When participating in an event for the first time, it’s reassuring to have plenty of safety measures in place.
Everyone welcoming with smiles.
My first encounter with pickle juice. Some around me were like, “Hmm…”! Perhaps it’s the first time trying a USDA-certified drink at an event like this? By the way, as for the taste… “Seems good for the body!”
The New York State Police NYPD, who are providing security for the event (this is also the one often heard in movies!). They were even blocking the roads with patrol cars on the highway.

The first rest area, approximately one hour after the start. Even if you didn’t have time for breakfast, no worries!

Now, back on my trusty Specialized hybrid bike, the next destination is Queens. We’ll cross the approximately 1000-meter-long Queensboro Bridge. What kind of scenery awaits beyond?



<To be continued in Part 2.>

Text_Karen Maruyama

Profile

Karen Maruyama
From Osaka Prefecture
In 2013, she moved to Tokyo when she entered university. In 2016, she began her career in the entertainment industry after becoming the runner-up in the Miss Toyo University contest. She transitioned to freelance work after various activities, including variety shows, radio assistant roles, DJing, and performing with a taiko drum unit. Currently, she works as an assistant on “Shibuya no Radio’s ‘Shibuya Bicycle Club'” and supports runners as a trainer on the runner-focused app “LiveRun.” She personally achieved a sub-4-hour finish in the 2023 Tokyo Marathon. She also engages in road biking, hiking, and triathlons. Additionally, she appears on YouTube channels such as “Runtrip” and “FRAME Channel.” She believes that regular exercise is essential for a healthy life and aims to convey the importance of physical activity to everyone.
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/karen_maruyama/
X : https://twitter.com/karen_maruyama_

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#New York #BNY
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#Photo Album
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