† Explanation of BAC Ride Fee – This fee is not included in the Estimated Cost and is non-refundable once submitted. The Ride Fee for US and Canada is $50 and $100 for all other countries, both are per participant.
Todays' NYC is alive and well and the greatest large city in the world for cycling. NYC has 1000 miles of bike paths and 16,000 bike share Citibikes. There are new parks, such as the Brooklyn Bridge Park, and a new Ferry system. Expect to ride 200 miles in six days including participating in the world famous Five Boro Bike Tour on Sunday, May 6, 2018. We will have organized, (optional) group rides available but we are building in lots of free time for riders to enjoy Broadway plays, dining out, touring museums or enjoying local coffee houses and open mic culture. This is a fixed base tour and as such is extremely flexible. Leader lives in Brooklyn, is a dedicated cyclist and has a lifetime of knowledge about NYC.
Meet on Wednesday, May 2, 2018 at the Nu Hotel, 85 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 at 5 pm and finish on Monday, May 7, 2018 at 11 o'clock check out. In between, we'll have six days and five nights filled with action packed days of cycling and walking NYC in all its springtime glory. Enjoy the 41st Anniversary Five Boro Bike Tour and follow the Great Saunter around Manhattan, while enjoying great food and benefitting from local insider knowledge, using our feet and our wheels as often as possible.
We'll stay at a very bike-friendly "boutique" hotel (bikes are allowed in the rooms) in Brooklyn, the "hippest, coolest place in the world" according to Lonely Planet. Leader will guide you to the best coffee shops, best bars, best restaurants as well as the best bike paths, parks, bridges and other attractions.
Leader will offer daily bike routes and lead those who want to ride together, but will also provide maps and cue sheets and advice to those who want to explore independently. Leader will communicate via email during the ride, but also have a daily informational meeting at 5 pm (optional for those who have tickets or evening plans that conflict).
This tour is rated 1B. However, you may be riding a rental bike and/or at times riding a Citibike and these are new to you. Often, in the parks or bridges or paths, there can be many walkers and of course on Sunday in the Five Boro Bike Tour, we’ll be riding with 32,000 other riders. So, BAC riders should be comfortable in groups and urban settings. We recommend NOT using SPD pedals and cleats, but suggest basic pedals and “tennis shoes” to maximize safety and walking ability. For those riders who want additional miles, leader will have suggestions for extra explore-on -your -own routes.
May is often a glorious time in NYC and the cherry blossoms should be in full bloom in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. We expect sunny beautiful weather, but it can rain. Plan for the worst and hope for the best and pack some rain clothes.
LODGING & MEALS
Hotels are expensive in NYC in the spring. We have selected a very nice hotel, (the Nu Hotel, 85 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201) with a bar area and with breakfast provided. The hotel is conveniently located. It is bicycle-friendly, close to our designated bike shop for shipping or renting bikes. Each room has a refrigerator and free wifi. There are 5 breakfasts, 2 group dinners with hosted happy hour preceding the dinners included in the cost of the tour.
Fly into JFK airport (airport code JFK). Public transportation is available from the airport (but not recommended if you have large bike case which would be easier by Uber, Lyft or shuttle van). Alternatively, you can fly to LaGuardia (LGA) or Newark (EWR), but transportation time to hotel is longer and not as easy.
You can either bring your own bike or ship your bike to Atlantic Bicycles, 278 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn NY 11201. For a fee, ‘Tony’ (not everyone in Brooklyn is named Tony) will receive, build up, and tune up your bike. Make arrangements with Tony at 718-625-9633. Or contact Bicycle Habitat (www.bicyclehabitat.com) and rent a bike. (Bike rental arrangements must be made directly with the rental agent. Our hotel does provide bikes to guests, BUT these are single speed and NOT RECOMMENDED for our tour.
If you come by car, parking is available at a lot near the NU hotel, GMGC Parking, located at 75 Smith Street. The charge listed on GMGC parking website is $30 per 24 hours for car and $40 per 24 hours for SUV/Minivan with no in/out privileges.
COST & ADMINISTRATION
The cost of the tour is $1350, plus $50 fee to BAC. (The $50 fee and a credit card processing fee is non-refundable unless the tour is cancelled). The cost includes hotel room for 5 nights double occupancy, daily breakfast, hosted Happy Hour and dinner on the first and last evenings, route sheets, organized rides, leadership and expert advice on all elements of immersive bike travel in NYC. Not included are airfare, parking, rental bike fees, Citibike fees, food and drink outside of those mentioned, museum entry fees, and registration fee associated with the TD Five Boro Bike Tour. IMPORTANT; YOU MUST SIGN UP for the Five Boro Tour when registration opens Jan 10, 2018. This event will sell out (yes all 32,000 places) in about 24 HOURS. Do not delay (www.bike.nyc.com). Payment of $750 is due at initial signup and second payment of $600 is due 2/1/2018.
SINGLES & SOLOS POLICY
This is a great tour for singles who are very welcome to join. It is recommended that singles who want a roommate try to find their own, but we’ll also pass along information about singles who have signed up and are seeking a roommate. After receipt of the initial deposit, a single without a roommate will be placed on the ride and given until March 1, 2018 to find a roommate. If they are unable, they will have the option to receive a refund (minus the BAC fee and credit card processing fee) or pay the $800 solo supplement and stay on the ride. They may continue to seek a roommate, but must plan to participate without a roommate if needed. Solos (those who do not want a roommate) are welcome and pay the solo supplement of $800.00. The solo supplement is paid directly to the leader by check.
The $50 BAC fee and the credit card processing fees are non-refundable unless the tour is cancelled.Refunds of tour payments will depend on whether a replacement rider signs up and on costs that can be recouped. The amount refunded will be based on the principle that the tour’s remaining participants will not incur any additional cost as a result of cancellations. If the canceling participant is replaced, a refund will be made at that time. If the canceling participant can’t be replaced, any refund will be determined after the ride and final expense report are completed. If a single participant cancels and another roommate cannot be found, in addition to other costs that cannot be recouped the cancelling roommate may also be liable for the solo supplement fee of the roommate remaining on the tour. BAC encourages members to purchase trip cancellation insurance.
Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018 Day 1 -- Arrive in NY and make your way to the host hotel, check in and prepare the bike, or wait until the following morning. We will meet the group at 5 PM in the lobby and conduct a walking tour of beautiful Brooklyn Heights, America's first suburb, where Wall Street merchants built their homes on the high cliffs to avoid the 'miasma' of developing NY. Today, there are still over 500 pre-Civil War buildings and we will see one where the baseball curveball was first invented (based on deception, it was considered immoral to throw it!) and learn a bit about the history of the Underground Railroad and many other sights. After a bit of a walk, we will search out a local watering hole, perhaps Le Boudoir, which is only accessible by a hidden door and then perhaps a quick and easy dinner at one of the Middle Eastern restaurants along Atlantic Avenue, which is adjacent to the Heights (Google Charles Sahadi's or the Yemen Cafe'). We will then walk the group back to the hotel arriving around 9 PM. An afternoon ride is possible for those most keen using our route sheets.
Thursday, May 3rd, 2018, Day 2 -- After breakfast we will help folks build-up, pick-up, and obtain rental bikes and around 10 AM, we will start cycling to Prospect Park. The Park was designed by Frederick law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux AFTER their completion of Manhattan's Central Park and it's considered their greatest work. The car-free interior loop has 'heartbreak hill' and a fast lakeside descend and we will do as many laps as the group wants. It's common to see serious young NY racers lapping the park in their training. After the park we will break away to see the Cherry Blossoms in bloom in the adjacent Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. Folks can then continue to tour Brooklyn (I'm hoping that renown BAC leader Rick Gallo is in town -- he lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn -- and can join us), otherwise we will lead the group back to Brooklyn Heights for a ride into the gleaming new Brooklyn Bridge Waterfront Park, the largest new park in NY since Central Park and Prospect Park were created in the 19th Century. Our lunch stop might be Shelsky's of Brooklyn, home of the hippest Jewish Deli this side of Russ & Daughters, which we might also visit for lunch on the Lower East Side (LES) when we cycle to the Five Boro Bike Tour Expo on Friday. As to who creates the finest smoked salmon and lox on a bagel? Well, you can decide -- they're both off the charts good! Then it will be back to the hotel via the Manhattan Bridge to rest up before heading out for drinks and dinner at 5 PM. Depending on the group size, we may try and get into Lucali, Mark Lacono's Carroll Gardens' pizzeria, consistently ranked among the world's best, and this being Brooklyn, it has a complex past and no liquor license, therefore it's BYOB!
Friday, May 4th, 2018, Day 3 -- After Breakfast, we will meet and cycle over the Brooklyn Bridge on our own bikes to the TD Five Boro Bike Tour Expo, located on the LES. They provide secured bike parking. We will pick up our Rider packets and spend around two hours visiting the 100-plus exhibitors, showcasing everything from big brands (REI is a major sponsor) to local innovators plus travel companies, clubs, tours, governments (Taiwan always comes with lots of free stuff) and depending on your interests and shopping habits, we expect most members to spend around two-plus hours at the expo. Last year, over 60,000 people visited the Bike Expo. After our visit, we will meet up and cycle more of the LES cycle path and stop at Russ&Daughters to continue our food research and then return to the hotel for some rest. Tonight might be a good night to visit Chinatown for drinks and dinner and we know a great place below ground that feels very much like being in China. Again we will get folks back to the hotel by 9 PM.
The 'Plan B' option for Friday afternoon/evening is renting Citibikes ($12.00 per day or $24.00 for a three day pass) and cycling into the City over the Brooklyn Bridge to visit free museums. Friday's line up includes MOMA (4:30-8:15), the Asia Society (6-9), ICP (now on the LES, 5-9) and of course the MET (until 9), which is built on City land (Central Park) and therefore always free in theory. Locals becomes members but you don't have to pay the 'requested $25.00 entrance fee because they know it's not required, it's only 'suggested'. Note that while NY law does not require bike helmets for adults, this is a BAC tour and helmets are required while cycling. In truth many locals now carry bike helmets and use them while cycling on Citibikes.
Saturday, May 5th, 2018, Day 4 -- Today at 7 AM, around 1,400 very local New Yorkers will gather at Fraunces' Tavern, on 54 Pearl Street, in lower Manhattan, where George Washington said farewell to his troops, and those 1,400 people will start WALKING around Manhattan in a very low key, very relaxed, very NY event, called the Great Saunter. This event costs around $20.00 and is the very antithesis of all these BIG NYC events like the NY Marathon and the TD Five Boro Bike Tour. But it's also 32 miles and quite hard to finish. The last time Cynthia and I finished the Great Saunter, it took us 12 hours and we did NOT feel like having a beer after. Most locals bail out along the way and you should too unless you're a very strong hiker. You could also just get up early and ride your bike the whole way around but it is 32 miles plus getting there and getting back so figure around a 40-mile ride. Having said this, it is a very nice and beautiful walk or ride completely around Manhattan and a very local and cool event. Plan 'B' might be a ride out to Coney island to visit Nathan's Hot Dogs and the Cyclone and then taking one of NYC's new ferries back to the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Again, depending on folk's interests and energy, we will pick an area, maybe Smith Street, home to many good restaurants, and meet up for drinks and dinner and get everyone back to the hotel by 9 PM.
Sunday, May 6th, 2018, Day 5 -- Today is the TD Five Boro Bike Tour and in the words of the orgainizers, "40 Miles, 5 Boros, 1 Day, 0 Cars"! The website has more details on this wonderful ride but let me say there is a 'local' approach worth considering; First, many local New Yorkers don't like standing around or in lines, so they start riding up the west side bike path around 7 AM and avoid the start. Remember, it's a tour, not a timed bike race, so on one cares that you're not at the start. They then merge into the ride in Central Park and remain in the tour until Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where they escape to some hip 'BillyBurg' coffee joint like Blue Bottle, but there are many others, and they all have great drinks and nice restrooms and it's good to take a break from the mass of the tour. They then jump back in (BTW, I'm not saying don't sign up -- you must have a number on your tour bib -- as Homeland Security police this event) and arrive in Brooklyn Heights in time to decide; Should you keep going? You could head to Montague Street to a sidewalk cafe' for lunch and a drink (or the original Juniors for cheesecake)? If you keep going, there's no easy way out until you're over the Verranzano Bridge and into Staten Island which is the finish line, the big party and the cycle path connection to the SI Ferry (free) which is how you're getting back to lower Manhattan. From there you will cycle over the Brooklyn Bridge back to the hotel. Either way is good but the whole tour is a full day. We will then meet the group at 6 PM for some celebratory drinks and one last dinner together, perhaps in Fort Greene. Again, we will walk the group back to the hotel by 9 or 10 PM.
Monday, May 7th, 2018, Day 6 -- We will meet the group at the hotel and help folks get their bikes apart and packed or returned to Tony (for shipping) or Bicycle Habitat and then folks can check out and head back to JFK around 11 A.M. An early ride is again possible.
RIDE PARTICIPANT REPSONSIBILITY
Please remember that BAC Ride Leaders are volunteers, and that successful tours depend on participants providing much of their own support. Participants are expected to come to the ride well trained, in good health and ready to accomplish the required daily riding using well-maintained bicycles. All participants should accept responsibility for a safe and enjoyable tour. We encourage you to read the ride description carefully and respond to requests from Ride Leader. While on the ride, support your Ride Leader with offers to help with various tasks such as happy hour preparation and clean-up. Please do not interfere with the ride by inviting non-participants onto any portion of the ride or tour. Please keep the Ride Leader informed of any special request you may have and respect the Ride Leader’s decisions.
To submit a request to join this ride, use the “links” displayed above the Ride Description. When you are accepted, the Ride Leader will move you from the Waitlist to the Pending List. You will receive an email notice to login to BAC website, sign the Release of Liability, pay the non-refundable BAC fee online by credit card and pay the deposit on-line by credit card. Once these steps have been completed, you’ll be moved to the participant list.
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