So I did the 5 Boro Bike Tour in New York City last weekend and thought I'd give a little report. It's sort of the New York equivalent of our Bridge Pedal, only longer (42 miles) and larger (30,000 people).
Overall it was fun, and pretty spectacular to bike right through New York City. You go right down a closed-down 6th Avenue to start, then through Central Park, a very brief tootle through Queens, down through Brooklyn and along the waterfront with great views of Manhattan, and finally across the Verazano Narrows Bridge into Staten Island, where you take the ferry back to Manhattan.
The riders are a genial sort, with some costumage, but not as much as you'd see in Portland, of course.
Even with 30,000 people, they've done a great job of figuring out restrooms. There are a lot of them, in a lot of places, and never really a line even with that many people.
Now the bad news: You think the Bridge Pedal has bottlenecks, you ain't seen nothing. There's an hour (at least) wait to get into Central Park, and a couple other places with waits of 15-30 minutes, including a crushing line at the end to get onto the ferry after everyone is hot and tired. The full ride took us about seven hours, and counting transit time to and from our apartment we were out for ten and a half hours. It's a full day.
If anyone does it in future years, I highly HIGHLY recommend renting a bike from Bike and Roll in New York. They have really nice bikes and they're totally set up to conveniently pick up your bike at the starting line and drop your bike off at the finish. In fact, as a renter you bypass the huge ferry line, which is worth the price of the rental alone. Can't recommend them highly enough.
So, all in all it was a long day, and if I do it again I'll ratchet my expectations so I know there will be a lot of stops and waits. All that said, the chance to bike through New York in a big event was really fun and despite the forecast of thunderstorms and cold weather it never rained and I got a sunburn.