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A lot of people from DC stay at a hotel on Staten Island and take an early ferry to Manhattan then leave from the finish in Staten Island. Of course, this involves a car but sounds like it would avoid some of the logistical hassles. Too bad it wasn't a more positive experience. It actually sounded a bit like the post-9/11 Bike DC.

Yes, the ride is too crowded to be pleasant anymore, and there are now plenty of protected bike lanes and greenways so that you can explore the city and follow many of the same routes without the claustrophobia that comes with the Five Borough Bike Tour.

One suggestion, should you or any of your readers want to try this next year (or come to NYC to ride for some other reason). As you found out, Amtrak won't let you bring a bike on board (or not without hassle), and renting can be a crapshoot. A better idea: bring your bike on the Bolt Bus. No extra charge, and I had any trouble doing this. The bikes just go in the luggage hold, so I wouldn't put at $6,000 carbon fiber bike down there, but this is not a problem I have to worry about.

Amtrak has one train per day on the North-East route with a baggage car in which you can stow your bike in a box. The box and storage are $20. Unfortunately, this train is in the middle of the night.

The bus is really the way to go for bringing a bike with no added cost or hassle. I typically take Vamoose Bus to New York, and I've stowed my bike in the luggage section with no problem.

good tip on the bus! i'm going up to NYC for the tour de brooklyn in a couple weeks and i was planning on renting, i hadn't ever thought of the bus before. did you have to unassemble any part of your bike to put it in luggage storage?

yeah, the 5 borough tour seems to get more crowded every year. they need to spread the start out more, or just limit the number of people participating.

while the ride sucked, that was some great pizza and beer after the ride on the Island. Missed you for that!

To good idea!:

No need to disassemble anything. Just slide it in on its side.

I did the ride this year and had a better experience than what you described. I drove to and stayed in Staten Island. The hotel allowed bikes in the rooms at now additional charge. Now I did get up early to catch the 5am ferry. But I ended up near the front of the non-VIP section at the start. I had a few bottle necks at the beginning and at Central Park. There was another getting over the Queen Boro bridge. Two years ago I did the ride and was further back and there were more times I had to walk. Now that I have done it twice I have learned what rest stops to target and not get so bogged down by crowds.

I did the tour also, but didn't find it as onerous...probably because we took kids and needed to stop periodically. I do think they need to stagger it better. I live in NYC and thought it was great getting to ride up 6th Ave with no traffic. I also didn't have to deal with a bike rental or hotel or bike parking though, so I guess that could have changed my perception.

I went two years ago and had a very similar experience. We got there early, but didn't get to start riding for over an hour. The most frustrating part was being stopped and walking on the highways. However, as you said, it was great to ride through parts of the city that I've never ridden through before, and had lots of fun talking with other cyclists (including the families with 3, 4, 5, and 6(!) members all connected). It would be a much more enjoyable experience if the organizers could figure out a way to stagger the riders throughout (or break up the groups into different heats when starting) so that you actually get to RIDE the 5 boros ride.

Yeah the ride was crowded, but still great to see so much of NYC. Next time folks should look at taking the Bolt Bus. They allow you to bring your bike with no extra charge or hassle. A great option especially if you buy your tickets early.

Whenever someone spells it "boro" I say "ugh", which makes it "borough". NYC calls them boroughs but for some reason the ride does not.

I do the Bike New York almost every year. The trick is to wait 20 blocks uptown from the start; let the first 200 or so speed-racers pass; and then join the group.

Riding over the Verazano is what makes it all worth it. Flying down the bridge at 30mph with bikes passing me on either side, so much wind in my eyes I can't see a thing. Great experience.

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