I would like to point out before getting into this post that I am not an avid cyclist and I had not been on a bike in almost 2 years. I would also like to point out…this doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter when you stopped doing something, I honestly cannot even remember the day I stopped biking but I will certainly remember the day I started again; Sunday May 6, 2018. This is the day I volunteered as a course marshal for the TD sponsored Five Borough Bike Race in New York City. A 40 mile tour through…you guessed it…the five boroughs of New York City. Starting in Lower Manhattan, we took off through Central Park, continuing on to Harlem, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and finally finishing off on Staten Island.
I have been to NYC before but not since the December of 2001. However, when my Uncle suggested that I volunteer with him for this event and we could tour through the city, visit with family and pretty much have a mini vacation… I was all in. My partner and I headed down to NYC on Friday afternoon and reached the city just before 1 am that night. We woke bright and early the next day to get the most out of our long weekend. We spent Saturday eating dim-sum, strolling through Central Park and finishing off with a Cinco de Mayo inspired dinner! Fueling up before the big day.
Was I nervous? Oh my god. For weeks leading up to this event I was researching ‘Common Issues on Bike Tours’, ‘How to Change a Bike Tire’ as well as attempting to memorize the New York City subway map…all of which I can respectfully say…I still know very little about! I exercised pretty regularly; ensuring I worked in cardio and strength based training on an almost daily basis. I will admit that I was very lax about my exercise regime and it turned out to be perfectly fine. If you are planning to do a bike tour for the first time, it is always a good idea to do adequate research, eat clean and exercise regularly. If you are like me and are not interested in coming in first but are looking forward to a great day with some awesome scenery… don’t overstress yourself because more than likely you are going to be fine! I would recommend working in some yoga, considering the last stretch of the course is mostly uphill and yoga really helps with controlled breathing as well as conserving energy.
This was an awesome way to see the City; especially considering we were only there for a long weekend and NYC is HUGE! I feel like I could spend months exploring NYC and really never know the City inside and out.
If my Uncle didn’t suggest this event I would have probably not made my way back to NYC since it is very expensive. However, if you volunteer for the bike tour you get to ride the course for free, taking in sights, help others and best of all…getting on the Staten Island Ferry before everyone else! Major score.
Although, my partner would probably argue that the free volunteer meal at the end of the 40 miles was the best part…different strokes. It also helps that my Uncle, Aunt and Cousins all lived in NYC and provided us with a place to stay as well as a very informative tour of the city that included the best baked goods I have ever had at Cannelle Patisserie! Make that a must see on your next trip into the Big Apple…who doesn’t want to gain 10 pounds of decadence?!
Needless to say, this was a great weekend and I had an amazing time with my family. My partner and I were blown away by how much we enjoyed the bike tour and will be doing more biking now that the weather has warmed up. If you are a biking enthusiast of any skill level, I would love to know where your favourite place to bike is! So far, Central Park is the place to beat!