With the official arrival of the vernal equinox, it’s time to shake off the Polar Vortex in anticipation of milder weather and the joys of spring bike riding.
If you’re thinking about expanding your horizons or of kicking your cycling up a notch this season, why not sign up now for a group ride or one of the spring cycling events in NYC? These are a great ways to connect with our area’s vibrant cycling culture. What’s more, having a goal in sight and then setting up a plan of action will help keep you energized and motivated. Invite some friends to join in, and you can inspire one another.
No matter what your level — newbie to experienced rider — options abound. Here are some suggestions to help get you started:
NYC Bike Train – Have you resolved to join the growing numbers of New Yorkers who use bicycles for daily transportation? If you’re new to commuting, NYC Bike Train offers group commutes that can help you learn the ropes of the bike lanes and the bridge crossings in the company of fellow transit cyclists.
WE Bike NYC - With its mission to encourage more women to ride bicycles, WE Bike NYC offers monthly social outings, training rides, mechanics workshops and field trips. All levels are welcome.
Tour de Staten Island – Explore the neighborhoods and scenic pleasures of NYC , one unique borough at a time, with the ride series sponsored throughout the cycling season by the advocacy organization Transportation Alternatives. It kicks off with the Tour de Staten Island on Sunday, April 13. Join T.A.’s mailing list to learn more about the rides.
CycloFemme – Show your unity with the women’s cycling community around the world by joining with friends, colleagues and family in CycloFemme on Sunday, May 11, Mother’s Day. Now in its third year, CycloFemme invites women everywhere to create there own rides — from casual brunch outings to extended road cycling adventures — or to join one in their community to honor the past and celebrate the future of women’s cycling. The temporary tattoos are pretty great, too.
New York Cycle Club - Looking to connect with a big community of road cyclists? The New York Cycle Club, the largest all-volunteer recreational cycling club in the Tri-State area, offers a full schedule of weekday and weekend rides, plus special events, for all levels. Aside from its social benefits and the fun of exploring new routes, riding with a group helps hone pace line and road skills.
TD Five Boro Bike Tour - This classic, hosted by Bike New York, draws more 32,000 participants from around the world to ride through all five boroughs and delivers unique experiences like traversing a closed-to-traffic Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Regular entries for the Sunday, May 4 event are sold out, but VIP and charity partner entries are still available. Proceeds help fund Bike New York’s educational programs.
Rapha Women’s 100 Training Ride Series - A women-only road cycling ride departs every Sunday morning (weather permitting) from the new Rapha Cycle Club in Manhattan’s Meatpacking district. With the arrival of spring, the club plans to add more rides for women, including a weekly training series for the Rapha Women’s 100 (km) ride on Sunday, July 20.
National Bike Challenge - The National Bike Challenge, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and Kimberly-Clark, is a fun and motivating way to set a goal and track your progress online. Join an anticipated 50,000 riders in a bid to pedal 30 million miles between May 1 and September 30. The new website lets you track days and miles, earn badges and prizes and share your progress. Registration is free, and you can participate from anywhere.
Century Road Club Association (CRCA) — If bike racing is calling your name, consider membership in CRCA, the largest bicycle racing club in the United States. It hosts races for men, women and juniors on most weekends in Central Park. The club emphasizes development, so members benefit from coaching on racing skills.
Campagnolo Gran Fondo New York - For those seeking a longer-distance challenge, this Italian-style cycling event on Sunday, May 18 draws 6,000 participants, from amateur to elite levels, for a 100-mile ride from the (closed) lower level of the George Washington Bridge to Bear Mountain and back. This year only, there’s a 50-mile route option to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Bear Mountain State Park. Free group training rides are offered to registered participants.
The Ride to Montauk - This scenic ride, through the Hamptons to the Montauk Point Lighthouse at the eastern tip of Long Island on Saturday, May 31 is a perennial favorite. It offers five route options ranging from 30 to 150 miles, with starting points in Manhattan and Babylon, Long Island. Pie is served at rest stops. Need we say more?
As spring gives way to summer, a full schedule of cycling events unrolls in the Tri-State area. An early-season event is an ideal way to build your confidence and momentum.
Photo credits, top bottom: Lauren Matison, velojoy, CycloFemme, Bike League, Ride to Montauk