Monday, May 7, 2012

Astoria to Bike Expo New York (May 3rd & 4th - 48 miles)

May is bike month, and New York knows it. Bike Expo New York, and the Five Boro Bike Tour start things off with a bang. I wanted to be fully prepared, and knew it was high time I upgraded my audio, so I purchased a lavalier microphone, and wind screen.

This year the Five Boro Bike Tour made some significant changes across all aspects of the tour. Not the least of which being; a rider number had to be won via lottery, rider packet pick-up took place in a centralized location (Bike Expo New York), and they instituted staggered start times to help keep the traffic flowing more smoothly.

I chose to cover Bike Expo Thursday, and Friday, riding to both; and Saturday, I decided on staying close to home, resting, and preparing for Sunday (the Five Boro Bike Tour). I left my apartment a little later than I had hoped on Thursday, and actually had trouble finding the place. I intentionally passed through Times Square looking for a UFC event I thought was taking place, and did not see one. Rolling up to Times Square the default giant Elmo stands waiting for photo opportunities. A man walks up, and inquires about my camera, referring to it's recording as "scan-o-vision".

After getting turned around in China town a little I finally arrive at the Expo around 3:30. I shot a few pictures, filmed a few booths, and then made my way to the "solutions" desk where i could get the form I needed if I didn't have my confirmation email printed out. No lines to speak of at that time, I waited a few moments to be helped at the solutions desk, and was helped immediately in the section handing out packets for my number range. Considering I live 10 miles from the pick up location, I probably have a much more generally convenient experience than the average.

Riding down Crescent Ave on my way to the 59th Street Bridge.

Climbing the 59th Street Bridge, a Q train passes overhead.

Cresting, and descending the 59th Street Bridge to Manhattan.

43rd Street to Times Square, standing next to Elmo, a man asks about my camera, and uses the term, "Scano-vision" to describe what the camera is doing while recording.

Significant headwinds put my new microphone, and wind screen, to the test.

The Freedom Tower scrapes the clouds as I follow a cyclist with a backpack down the West side bike path.

Canal Street, Chinatown.

Riding along the East River from the Manhattan Bridge, past the Brooklyn Bridge, Pier 17, and Fulton Fish Market.

The sign at the entrance to Bike Expo New York.

A panoramic shot taken just inside the entrance to Bike Expo New York.

Another panoramic shot, this time take from the opposite side, near the stage.

Bella Helmets, Light Motion, Eastern Mountain Sports booths.

Eastern Mountain Sports booth cont.

5 Borough Bike Tour Jerseys and, Nutcase, Stinger, Polar Bottles, Aerotech, and Trail Rail, booths.

Various charities, SRAM rep discuss turning their cassette up to 11, and the King of New York booth.

Picking up my packet for the 5 Borough Bike Tour.

Satisfied with the ease of which I was able to acquire my tour packet, I then set out to cover more of the booths. Many of the companies were repeat vendors from the New Amsterdam Bike Show last week. The main difference that I could see between New Amsterdam Bike Show, and Bike Expo New York, was the vibe. New Amsterdam Bike Show represents more of the small independent bike and gear manufacturers; and Bike Expo New York featured more of the larger corporate brands, and high end health, and tech companies. Both shows were great, and are worth attending; I feel as if going to both really gave me a well rounded view of the state of cycling in New York. I found good information, and friendly reps at many booths, and made my rounds trying to cover a little of everything that was on offer.

When I came to a free beginners course on touring being given by Eastern Mountain Sports, I decided that I should sit for the hour, and try to pick up some pointers for the trip I hope to make in September, to Albany from Astoria, 2 days, 80 miles a day. Below you will find the one hour course broken into five clips. The course was given by two Eastern Mountain Sports employees, Forest, and Dolly. Both seemed to have plenty of fairly advanced touring experience, and packed quite a bit of useful information, into a pretty short format. Questions were taken from the crowd before we all broke off in our own directions. I bought, and consumed a turkey wrap by the stage that I thought was supposed to contain bacon, but did not. An hour after the touring course, the amateur fastest fix-a-flat contest was set to take place. I took a spot at the front of the stage and filmed some of the frantic shenanigans. Now full dark outside, I packed my gear and made my way along the East River to Midtown, and crossed the Queensboro Bridge to head home for the night.

Square Built Bicycles, and a "signed" Zipcar.

Black Bottoms, and Worksman booths.

Zen Bicycles booth.

Montecci folding bikes, Owl 360, and Cleverhood.

Beacon, and Shimano booths.

Bandbox Helmets, and Dance 4 Life, booths.

Globe booth, and Dance 4 Life rep displays features for a customer.

Bobbin rep mentions the infamous South American downhill youtube video.

FRS rep speaks it's praises. Discussing a recipe, "The Wheel" with a parmigiana regiano rep.

Timbuk 2 has a funky display, Kent booth, and the friendly Thule rep discusses the 5 Borough Bike Tour.

Eastern Mountain Sports Bicycle Touring Class Part 1.

Eastern Mountain Sports Bicycle Touring Class Part 2.

Eastern Mountain Sports Bicycle Touring Class Part 3.

Eastern Mountain Sports Bicycle Touring Class Part 4.

Eastern Mountain Sports Bicycle Touring Class Part 5.

A contestant in the Amateur Fix-a-Flat contest does a flip to take the stage.

Heat 1 of the Amateur Fix-a-Flat contest.

Heat 4 of the Amateur Fix-a-Flat contest.

The final round of the Amateur Fix-a-Flat contest.

Riding the East River Esplanade uptown during Sundown.

Descending the 59th Street Bridge towards Queens, mist fills the air.

Friday I return to Bike Expo New York with a new friend of mine, a long time rider of the Five Boro Bike Tour who I had been chatting about the tour with on facebook. We met in midtown, and took a scenic route down to pier 36. Most of what I found at the Expo was the same as the day before, except today when I approached the Eastern Mountain Sports booth, they were busy setting up a custom fitting demonstration. I felt this was a perfect opportunity to ask some questions regarding fitting in general, and Brian of Eastern Mountain Sports gave a great run down of the different types of fitting and who he has typically seen paying for this service. Later on I found myself at the Zen Bicycles booth again, talking with the owner of the shop, John about flat tires, and the benefits of keeping tire pressure high for every ride you take.

There was one thing going on Friday that was not featured Thursday, which I was interested in seeing. King of New York BMX was holding a BMX Freestyle Street Exhibition at different times out in the lot outside of the Expo. I kept checking to see when I could possibly watch the riders pull off some tricks, and finally walked up to find the Pro's who ride for King of New York BMX showing off some of their moves. Bikes, flipped, turned, twisted, glided, hopped, grinded, whipped, and wheelied, under riders such as, Roy DeGuzman, "Black Rob" Deveaux, Danny DeJesus, and Ivan Avilez. An impressive display of talent, for a small Friday afternoon crowd, was not completely unappreciated. Having enjoyed quite a bit of two days at Bike Expo New York, I decided to point myself towards midtown along the East River Esplanade, and over the Queensboro Bridge back to Queens, and home. *Five Boro Bike Tour coverage, coming soon!

Descending the 59th Street Bridge to Manhattan.

A rep from Eastern Mountain Sports is being set-up for an advanced bicycle fitting. Brian, explains the different types of fitting generally available.

Brian, from Eastern Mountain Sports, goes more in depth about bicycle fitting, and the kinds of people he has seen that have come to him about needing a better fit on their bikes.

John, the owner of Zen Bicycles talks about the benefits of tire pressure, in regards to avoiding flat tires.

Roy DeGuzman of King of New York BMX.

Danny DeJesus King of New York BMX, pulls off a 360, and a manual.

Ivan Avilez of King of New York BMX, does some Cherry Picking.

“Black Rob” Deveaux of King of New York BMX, pulls a 360, a 180 feeble, and a rail ride.

Danny DeJesus of King of New York BMX, pulls off a back flip.

Danny DeJesus of King of New York BMX pulls off a jumping Turn Down.

"Black Rob" Deveaux pulls off a 360, and a Tailwhip.

Roy DeGuzman pulls off the Hang Nuthin.

"Black Rob" Deveaux of King of New York BMX, pulls off a 180 feeble, 180, and jumps the manual pad. Ivan Avilez rides the frame, and handle bars.

Ivan Avilez of King of New York BMX, shows off his superior balance.

King of New York BMX riders; Danny DeJesus pulls a suicide air, and Roy DeGuzman has skills on pegs.

Ivan Avilez of King of New York BMX, shows incredible balance Surfing around standing on his seat, and handlebars.

Riding the East River Esplanade uptown during Sundown.

Descending the 59th Street Bridge back to Queens.


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