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NYC Five Boro Bike Tour

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by Joann Jovinelly (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer/photographer living in the East Village neighborhood of New York City.
May is bike month in New York City and the 31-day celebration kicks off with the 2011 TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour, now in its 34th year. More than 30,000 cyclists participate in the event, which takes place over 42 miles of car-free streets. You can ride, volunteer, cheer on fellow cyclists, or even drop by the post-ride festival that's being held at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island, a part of the Gateway National Recreation Area operated by the National Park Service. Expect lots of free food and samples from tour sponsors, including biking organizations, sports beverage and nutrition companies, and athletic leagues.

The tour covers each of New York's five boros and enables riders to see a variety of iconic sightseeing spots as well as its five major bridges. Riders can take in the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, and parts of historic Harlem as well as experience the city from a completely independent vantage point on two wheels. Check out specific details about the 2011 route by accessing this interactive map, or viewing video of the 2010 tour. There's even an annual photo contest.

After the bike tour is over, hundreds of other biking events and activities are scheduled to take place around the city, including moonlight rides in Central Park, free safety classes for bikers, biking parades (including the pet parade in Tompkin's Square Park), bike repair workshops, sponsored giveaways (city agencies often offer free helmets during bike month), and more. Visit the following websites for more up-to-the-minute information, including Transportation Alternatives, Critical Mass, Time's Up, and

Photo credits: asterix611/FlickrCC; Shira Golding/FlickrCC
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Why? To enjoy NYC's more than 200-miles of bike lanes.
When: May 1-31, 2011
Where: All five boros (5-Boro Tour begins in Battery Park)
Cost: Varies
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