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NYC Century

SUNDAY, SEPT. 7, 2014

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This will be my second NYC Century Tour. After 15 years, I rediscovered bicycling at the age 39. I work as a Federal law enforcement officer. Given our line of work, we're always looking for exercise that relieves our stress. We also want something that is fun and enjoyable. We've found that with bicycling and we now ride as much as possible. My co-workers and I started bicycling throughout Brooklyn and then decided to explore Manhattan by bike. We've ridden in the Tour de Brooklyn, the Tour de Queens, the Tour de Bronx and last year rode the 55-mile route in the NYC Century. This year we rode the 5 Boro Bike Tour and plan to ride the other tours. We've ridden in every borough and I love exploring the different neighborhoods, meeting the people who call this city home and taking in the amazing landscapes. Rides like the NYC Century Tour are great because I get to meet other bicyclists who are part of the great bicycling community in New York City.



The NYC Century Bike Tour has given me the opportunity to challenge myself.

My first time riding in the NYC Century Bike Tour was 2009. I was a relatively new cyclist and choose the 55 mile route, which was ambitious since I had never rode that many miles in one day. It turned out I had no problem completing it and it was a beautiful ride.

In 2010, I challenged myself further by registering for the 75 mile route. Again it would be my longest distance in one day. The last 20 or so miles, the weather was chilly and rainy and I rode alone. But again, I met the challenge and finished the tour despite those obstacles.

Of course, those first two NYC Century Bike Tours were leading up to the ultimate challenge - the full NYC Century Bike Tour! And by 2011, I was ready! Once again, it would be my longest ride to date. But I had no doubt I could do it because previous tours helped me prove to myself that I'm strong and determined.

Not only did I complete it, but I rode 120 miles that day and saw more parts of the city than I've ever seen before. It was a great day for a bike tour and an amazing triumph for me!

This September, I'm doing it again - the full NYC Century Bike Tour. One hundred plus miles on my trusty old one speed beach cruiser. The same bike I've used for every bike tour. She and I are ready for the fun and adventure, and I'm thankful to the NYC Century Bike Tour which gave me the opportunity to challenge myself and accomplish things I would have imagined possible just a few years ago.



These long tours, at least for me, are really about enjoying all the incredible sights waiting to be discovered in New York—the ones you can't see from behind the windows of cars, trains or buses. Believe me, there is more to this place than skyscrapers and museums and it's all out there waiting for you.

So, sure, it's cool to walk limp around bragging that I biked more than 100 miles in a single day and lived to tell the tale. But the real payoff goes so much deeper than that. It's cruising across the Brooklyn Bridge and watching the sun rise golden and warm and shimmering over the East River for the first time.

It's cracking up as you struggle against heavy headwinds in the Far Rockaways, listening to the roar of the Atlantic crashing onto the beach just meters away.

It's facing bridges so steep you doubt you'll ever make it across until suddenly you're at the top, rendered breathless by the Manhattan skyline rearing up to greet you in the distance.

It's about discovering paths less traveled, disappearing into forests and parks that, like tree-lined force fields, manage to muffle out all sounds of city life until you're convinced you've left the state for sure.

It's checking out a West Indian cricket match (really) on a stretch of green in Queens you'd never have noticed before and treating yourself to a corn dog at a still-sleepy Coney Island because you just biked 20 miles to get there and, well, you earned it dammit.



Today at work, one of my colleagues stopped to ask about the ride.

"When did you become this biker girl?" she asked.

I had to stop for minute to really think about that. I never have considered myself an athlete or a hardcore cyclist by any means. But something has happened to me in the past year; there's no doubt about that. I've become something more than just a girl who bought a bike to get around a new city.

I've grown to truly care about the cycling community in New York and I take pride in knowing that I'm part of it. The Century Tour was an athletic challenge, sure, but beyond that it was the opportunity to celebrate a mutual love for something that is more than just a sport. It's a way of life.



"As invigorating as the riding was, the event highlighted something else: The sheer panorama of the spectacle of the city, unfolding at a scale that is beyond the limits of pedestrianism, but more closely-observed than the car. Here, in no certain order, is a sample of the things we saw: Morning tai-chi in Sunset Park; Chinese fisherman in Sheepshead Bay; an apartment building on fire; an aerial view of soccer games, looking like Playstation, from the towering bike path of the Tri-Boro Bridge; the huge bustle of sound, dancing, marching and speechifying that is African Day; the similarly boisterous San Gennaro Festival in Lower Manhattan (whose streets were so traffic-clogged suddenly it was Canal Street that seemed the least chaotic option); white-suited West Indian cricket in Queens; striped-shirted women’s rugby in the Bronx; Evangelical storefront churches booming with praise; the emerald constellation of city parks from Marine to Forest to Van Cortlandt; the Cyclone of Coney Island quiet but proud in the early morning light;… …The city felt at once vast and intimate."