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Bike New York - 5 May 2002

Story and photos by Scott Schaffrick

 


(Click on thumbnails for larger images)

 

Although the goal of the Daily Peloton is to provide our readers with the most current and up to date information on the European and American racing scenes, this year's Bike New York, a five-boro tour, was a cycling event that we felt we needed to participate in.

 

Bike New York is the world’s largest cycling tour with participation this year exceeding 30,000 cyclists. Whether you are a fan of the sport of cycling or just merely a spectator caught up in the events of the day, the sight of a 30,000-member peloton creating a rolling sea of colors as they head down the Avenue of the Americas is a sight to behold. As a tour, participants come in all sizes and shapes, and almost every age group is represented. For one day, they all come together to enjoy the sport of cycling.

 

 

The goal is to complete a 42-mile journey through the streets of New York and for one-day, the streets are completely theirs. The City of New York has allowed the cyclist to reign supreme, freeing us from the daily adventures of combating vehicular traffic and pedestrians walking out in front of us as we roll along. They have blocked off all traffic routes and provided a full police escort on this grand parade, making sure nothing comes between the rider and the destination. 

 

 

 

Some have been attending this event every year and make a family outing of the tour. Others are new and worried as to what lies ahead of them; did they have enough to finish the ride? There are road bikes that look as though they have just been unloaded from the team vehicles, mountain bikes, tandems, recumbent, children’s bikes and trailers too. Almost every major bicycle manufacturer and apparel company is represented in the masses. There are riders with state of the art equipment and clothing, others with a borrowed bike and a pair of gym shorts.

For each rider, the tour represents something different and you can see it in their faces as they depart from the start line. For some, it is the opportunity to ride shoulder-to-shoulder with members of the Saturn pro squad, as Andy Lee has brought Rhasaan Bahati and Kimberly Davidge to town. It allows the opportunity for the everyday rider to feel as though they leading the break or watching an attack from within the group. For others it is the opportunity to get out and enjoy a beautiful day with friends and family. This is evident by the various attachments and addition made to the helmets to show they have come as a group. With plastic beer bottles, wind fans and fly swatters added to the helmets it resembles something of a college frat party gone awry.

 

Pamela Tice, the Executive Director of Bike New York summed it up best when she said that "New York needed to have this event and this event needs to be in New York." This is true for several reasons; this is the first big cycling event to occur since the tragedies and merely holding it shows a sign of normalancy in our routines. Also, what better way to show unity then bringing 30,000 cyclists together with hundreds of volunteers and support staff, and then setting them free on the streets with 10,000,000 people cheering them on. You want to talk about a sign of unity? There is no better way - united they rode.

 

 

 

As if the event itself and everything it represented this year were not enough, this also marked the 25th anniversary of the tour. Since it’s inception in 1977, Bike New York has grown in size from a mere 250 participants with the NYPD leap-frogging to intersection in attempts to stop traffic to well over 30,000 cyclist shutting down the roadways. If you think this is something that you would like to do in the future, please contact the staff of Bike New York and join the thousands who traveled from all over the world just to participate. Swell with pride as the announcer calls out the name of your hometown as you pass under the starting banner and you head out.

 

 This year’s event paid respects to all who were involved in the events of September 11, 2002. Not just those who paid the ultimate price, but those who heeded the call for help and responded anyway they could. At the start of the day’s festivities a moment of silence, reflection and prayer was held for the victims who perished only blocks from where we all came together. A special thanks was handed down to the members of the NYPD who were on hand in full force for our safety. They were on foot, in every intersection, in cars, on motorcycles, and on bicycles with us as we rode as one through the streets of New York.

 

 

 
Fuji's Kevin Moran with New York's finest

 

 

The day’s festivities conclude as the tour crosses over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, after having commandeered the whole lower level.Then they roll into Fort Wadsworth for a six-hour festival, complete with massages for the riders, live music and a host of vendors giving away sample after sample to the weary riders. Today has been a great day and one I will come back to enjoy next year.

 

A special thank you to Sergeant Simmons, who coordinated my day's events and Officer Secreto, who assisted me all day in addition to his regular duties with the tour. Also, to the members of the 5th Precinct who shared their offices and coffee so early in the morning: Thanks, guys.

We leave you with photos of Saturn Team members Rahsaan Bahati, Kimberly Davidge and Andy Lee, and the great Lady.

 

 

Officer Jim Secreto with Saturn's Kim Davidge

 

 

 


Rahsaan Bahaati

 


Kimberly Davidge

 


Andy Lee 
(Director of Operations, Saturn Cycling)

 

 

 

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