Yesterday, my son and I again rode in the NYC Five Boro Bike Tour. This father-son family tradition began in 2009 when Eli was just 9 years old. That year, we braved Biblical rains as we passed countless middle-aged riders pushing bikes up hills and taking advantage of the bail-out option at mile 25. "No stopping," he said at the time. Now that he's 12, a few things have changed. For one, he's using an actual geared bike (with 3 chain rings!) - we look for creature comforts as we age, don't we?
Eli, or "Squeaky Magee" as he came to call himself, was riding his mother's Trek mountain bike which could have done with a little additional lube. We saw lots of commuter bikes, many with rusty chains and some with odd modifications, like the rear rack-mounted handlebar bag that I could not quite figure out or the full suspension mountain bike with the high rise handlebars. I also saw a few old Detours bags here and there, but never when I seemed to have ready access to my camera, so I have no pictures to share. None of these bags was as cool as the two I was sporting that day anyway. My Sodo handlebar bag has really grown on me as a place to store food, gear and gadgets all within easy reach.
The final 3-mile stretch from the festival to the Staten Island ferry was predictably relaxing up until the final 1/4 mile when the two of us became separated as riders started funneling into the ferry staging area. Images of 19th century steerage popped into my mind and I may have been humming the theme to Titanic as I weaved through the crowds looking for my son. As luck would have it, we found each other before too long, but he is now using this as leverage to get a cell phone. Can't really argue with him there.
Here'a time-elapsed video of the entire tour in under two minutes.