“Shut Down the Manhattan Bridge!?” A Report on Dominating and Riding Through the Five Boroughs of New York! (Part2)

The largest cycling event in the Northern Hemisphere, the “FIVE BORO BIKE TOUR,” commonly known as Bike New York. Here, we present Part 2.
Part 1 is here.

Riding alongside the cable car on the Queensboro Bridge!

One hour after the start, I refueled at the rest area, munching and drinking. Crossing the 1,135m-long Queensboro Bridge, I am headed for Queens.

There was a gentle incline, and I started to get a bit out of breath. In the midst of this, I glanced to the left and saw a cable car! “A first in my life! Riding alongside a cable car!” It was also my first time crossing a bridge over 1 km long. Cycling through a new city brings new experiences and excitement one after another.

The uphill climb made me feel out of breath, but the excitement of pedaling alongside the cable car kept me smiling despite the effort—a strange mix of exhaustion and exhilaration! I wondered if there were people inside the cable car and if they could see me.
Unfortunately, the overcast weather made it hard to see inside, but the thought of someone possibly watching motivated me to push on.

As soon as I bid farewell to the bridge, I arrived at the second rest area. It was filled with snacks, energy bars, and fruits!

Is cinnamon-flavored candy unusual? These sweet crackers were really delicious! Next year, I will buy these snacks and bring them back to Japan!
The colorful energy bars made me involuntarily go “Wow,” overflowing with happiness (or maybe it was drool…).

I frequently eat energy bars during my usual rides, so I’m curious about the different kinds available… and I want to try them all (though I could only eat one. Energy bars are designed to fill you up with just one!).

The one I ate was a granola bar! It felt like a snack but provided solid energy. It had a great texture, not too hard or too soft, and the flavor was mild and just right, which I liked.

After finishing my meal, I headed to the next rest area. I could not help but think how much of a foodie I am, but “riding a bike means zero calories♪”. I am sure many cyclists think the same way.

As I cheerfully pedaled along with a full stomach, the scenery changed dramatically. Before I knew it, I had entered Brooklyn from Queens. The area with tall buildings gave way to charming houses and low-rise apartments.

The entrance, door, nameplate, windows, terrace… everything was so enchanting in its ideal exterior.

A city that feels like running through a gallery.

As I progressed along the river, I was greeted by colorful containers. The containers that had fulfilled their duties were covered in graffiti art! It is a sight you hardly see in Japan, and even if you do, it does not quite fit the atmosphere… But here in this city, graffiti creates the vibe of the streets and contributes to the unmistakable New York feel that people around the world somehow associate with. (Perhaps that’s the charm of riding abroad, making me think such things!)

I wondered how far the containers stretched. I watched them for quite some time.

And then, I arrived at the next rest area. Here, I replenished with oranges. There were fruits available in every area, but as I entered the latter part of the ride, oranges at this timing, with my stomach fairly full, were very much appreciated!

Casual appeals like this are important to conscious-minded individuals.

Water supply is provided by “NYC Water.” At the rest areas, there are mobile faucets and sinks installed, where you can drink tap water from the New York City water supply. New York City tap water is known to be very delicious and of high quality. Typically, tap water in cities is disinfected and filtered at water treatment plants, but New York’s water is one of the few in which filtration is not necessary. Water quality tests are conducted over 900 times a day and over 300,000 times a year! (Recently, carrying bottled water can sometimes attract subtle stares… They are making progress!)

While events are fun, one thing that always concerns me is the amount of waste generated. As someone who frequently participates in marathons, I’ve always been bothered by the litter at water stations during large-scale events. It is very comforting to see initiatives like this at such large events.
In no time, there’s only about 10 miles left. It’s almost over already? “No way!”

Reluctantly leaving the rest area behind, I head into the streets of Brooklyn. It is around 10:30 in the morning. The city is coming to life, and I can see people having breakfast at cafes. Whenever there is a traffic light, I naturally stop. In that moment, I could not resist taking a selfie.

I am grinning as I take a selfie with the beautiful cityscape. I’m I am probably saying “Yay!”

The scenery from the expressway that you can only experience at FBBT.

Enjoying the streets of Brooklyn, and finally onto the long expressway. Cars are running normally on the opposite lane… and there is quite a bit of traffic. It is probably the Sunday traffic heading to Manhattan, but if it were the opposite lane, cycling would definitely be faster.

Perhaps the morning ride is designed to go outbound in the morning to avoid traffic congestion heading into the city.

Light rain was falling and visibility was getting worse and worse.
I had pushed too hard in the first half, and my legs were gradually getting tired, causing my speed to slow down.

Amidst this, cyclists riding at the same pace would cheer each other on with high spirits, saying, “Hey! Let’s keep going strong!” We supported each other, even if one of us tried to push ahead, we would soon catch up, and it would repeat. Then we would make eye contact and smile.

Even if we couldn’t communicate verbally, riding bikes allowed us to understand each other. Ah, cycling is truly wonderful.

I could see the gate and hear live music… Finally, the finish line!

For the first time in a cycling event, I received a medal! And it is not just any medal; it has a cool design with a black base, not just gold-plated or anything! Since I often accumulate medals like Goshuin (shrine stamps) for marathons and triathlons, I usually do not display them, but I might be able to admire this medal for a lifetime! Design matters!

At the finish area, there’s a stage and food, bustling with activity. If it is sunny, it is definitely heaven
The medal designed with a black base. It has a wonderful sense of collectibility that makes you want to collect it every year.

The ferry ride after the finish is a reward.

The finish line is in Staten Island, so we travel by boat to Manhattan. On a sunny day, you can see the Statue of Liberty along the course, but unfortunately, we could not see it on this day. However, the experience of returning home swaying on the ferry alongside everyone, content with their bikes by their side, must be a tradition of the FIVE BORO BIKE TOUR.

By the way, we are supposed to return the rental bikes before boarding the boat, but I accidentally brought my bike onto the boat. So, after disembarking, I had to spend another 30 minutes cooling down in Manhattan on my bike (because I had to return it to the bike shop). It was an unexpected bonus ride! (Please remember to return your bikes in front of the boat when you participate!)

Fellow shipmates who journeyed around New York together?!

While on my way to return the bike, I passed by the starting point. It was a complete contrast to the festive atmosphere of the morning, now just an everyday scene. I could not help but marvel at the efficiency of it all, so typical of New York.

My first time in New York, my first time cycling in New York, and my first FIVE BORO BIKE TOUR.

Cycling enthusiasts from across America and around the world gather, most without worrying about their time, simply enjoying the bustling metropolis of New York City. If I saw someone riding a cool bike, I would strike up a conversation. I would even snap a few photos. The sounds of pedals turning, the rhythmic whir of the chain, the labored yet enjoyable breaths, and sometimes the playful music—it all created such a peaceful and special moment.

As I write this manuscript back in Japan, I am still in a dreamy state, wondering, “Did I really participate in this event?” Yet, thanks to the perfect balance of not being a race but rather a leisurely ride, I find myself immersed in memories as I browse through the numerous photos I took.
And above all, there is the medal in my hand. It seems to encapsulate not only the ride but also the memories and emotions of my first time in New York, making it even more poignant. Perhaps medals feel heavy not just because of their physical weight but also because of the memories they carry.

The FIVE BORO BIKE TOUR evokes such thoughts. I definitely want to participate again in 2025!

Text_Karen Maruyama


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_

30,000 riders power through the city that never sleeps.
Bike New York course highlights

Bike New York, to be held on Sunday, May 3, 2020, is a ride event that will take cyclists around the five boroughs(boro) of New York State: Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. This is why it is called the “Five Boro Bike Tour” in the U.S. mainland. Although little known to the Japanese, the event is of a very large scale with more than 30,000 participants from all over the world. The course is 40 miles (about 64 km). The course is closed to traffic, allowing visitors to drive at a leisurely pace. This article introduces the highlights of the course, which is full of attractions that New York City has to offer.

NewYork 🇺🇸
Port Douglas 🇦🇺
Honolulu 🇺🇸

Reflecting on 2023, as the year draws to a close, how has it been for all of you? It’s likely that riders from around the world have cycled through various locations this year. To wrap up the year, the Global Ride editorial team is bringing you a photo album from three international events: ‘BIKE NEW YORK (FIVE BORO BIKE TOUR)’ in New York City, ‘PORT DOUGLAS GRAN FOND FESTIVAL’ in Port Douglas, and ‘HONOLULU CENTURY RIDE’ in Honolulu. Enjoy the exclusive shots captured by our editorial team, different from the official photos!

#Photo Album