Tour de Brooklyn 2009
Words & Photo by Alfredo Garcia
Kudos to Transportation Alternatives, the City of New York and the Tour de Brooklyn marshals, including Josh Gosiak.
The Coney Island start was great, although it took a bit to get used to (yeah, I live in Manhattan and had to take the subway).
Among the things I saw at the Brooklyn Cyclones parking area was the statue of fabled Brooklyn Dodger greats Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese; Keyspan stadium; the cycling marshals, who were clad in orange safety vests; and remnants of the Parachute Jump ride seen on the Riegelmann Boardwalk.
It was a warm day, so the Atlantic Ocean breezes coming from Coney Island were refreshing.
Lots of people were there, probably more than the expected 1,500 riders. Public announcements and speeches made by TA officials like Noah Budnick, who spoke from microphones powered by people riding stationary bikes that doubled as generators! The start line of cyclists snaked from the entrance of the stadium to across the parking lot.
The NYPD was there—besides the patrol cars and bike cops, and mounted motor scooters. The same cop corps that probably ravished cyclists on Critical Mass rides.
The route was nice, especially the roads lined with trees and brownstones and old homes that shaded us from the sun.
I didn’t care much for the Prospect Park stop. Had a hidden anxiety of encountering Poison Ivy. I saw a bike with a damaged and detached Honjo fender.
Suggestion for next year: go all the way to the East River, and use Brooklyn Bridge Park for water and rest stops.
The ride continued. It was great going through Borough Park. Lots of residents were standing in front of their homes, fire escapes and stoops, smiling and applauding. More than several were families with young children.
However, there were a few Borough Park residents who were angry and riled up, especially those driving cars. One driver nearly hit a friend of mine. A few cool heads of the marshals and NYPD motorized patrol settled matters.
The finish was as great as the start—back to Coney Island. The parking lot was just right to accommodate us, unlike previous Prospect Park finishes. There were cheering young women welcoming us. There were T-shirts, but I got there too late to get one.
For once, after the Five Boro Bike Tour and the Montauk Century, it didn’t RAIN. It was sunny throughout.
Lots of us had lunch at where else—Nathan’s. My group munched on their renowned hot dogs and fries at Coney Island beach. Oh, to be young again!
Thanks again, TA. For next year’s edition, I would suggest: start again from Coney Island, get a rest stop and halfway point at Brooklyn Bridge Park, get the NYC DOT and NYPD to close the BQE and the Bay Shore Parkway so we can ride closer to the waterfront and end it again at Coney Island.
We should do outreach with Borough Park residents, perhaps let them know in advance about the bike event and maybe get them on bikes instead of going for a drive.
For my part, I’ll ride faster so I can buy that $10 Tour de Brooklyn t-shirt, which quickly sold out.