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The Five Boro Bike Tour is the largest recreational cycling event in the United States. It is produced by Bike New York. Every year on the first Sunday of May, over 30,000 riders participate in the 42-mile (68 km) ride around New York City. The route, closed to automobile traffic, takes riders through all five boroughs of New York City, across five major bridges, and finally across New York Harbor on the Staten Island Ferry.

Route

Riders at the starting point at at Franklin Street and Church Street near the World Trade Center Site

The tour starts and ends at Battery Park in Lower Manhattan. Participants line up behind the start line at Franklin Street and Church Street creating a queue which extends well south of the World Trade Center site.

The tour runs north up the Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue), past Macy's, before entering Central Park. After exiting the park the tour heads north through Harlem on Seventh Avenue, crossing into the Bronx for a short 2-mile (3.2 km) section before re-entering Manhattan via FDR Drive. The FDR portion of the tour runs south through Manhattan under Gracie Mansion before crossing the East River via the Queensboro Bridge into Queens. The first major rest area of the tour is at Astoria Park, Queens.

From Astoria Park the tour crosses south through Queens, over the Pulaski Bridge into Brooklyn, where it follows the waterfront, past the Brooklyn Navy Yard. After crossing under the Brooklyn Bridge, the route follows up and onto the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, continuing on the elevated BQE before dropping onto the Shore Parkway and over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge into Staten Island.

Once in Staten Island the tour makes a stop at Fort Wadsworth for a festival, before continuing the last three miles (5 km) to the Staten Island Ferry where riders can take the ferry back to Battery Park in Manhattan. Some New Jerseyans return home over the Bayonne Bridge instead.

History

The event began on June 10, 1977 as the Five Boro Challenge with about 250 participants. The original tour was 50 miles (80 km) long and started and ended in Queens.

What started as a one-time event became a tradition the next year when the New York City Mayor Ed Koch embraced the idea of a city-wide bike tour. The distance was shortened and the word "challenge" was changed to "tour" to make the event more appealing to the general public. That year, the number of participants increased tenfold to around 3000.

The success of the 5 boro tour has inspired other major city tours, such as Bike Philly in Philadelphia, and Bike DC in Washington DC.

External links

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