Bike Month, group rides, bike tours and a naked roll---spring is full of events for cyclists.
Tue Feb 22 2011
Blessing of the Bicycles
You don't need to be tight with God to attend this annual benediction for cyclists; hell, you don't even need to ride a bike. The service welcomes those with nonmotorized scooters and roller skates as well. The ceremony includes a moment of silence for bikers lost in the last year, a sprinkling of holy water and a celebratory ringing of the bells. The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Ave at 112th St (theblessingofthebikes.com). Apr 30 at 9:30am; free.
The New Amsterdam Bicycle Show
To herald Bike Month NYC, which begins May 1 (see below), the cycling advocates at Transportation Alternatives will team up with the New York Press to put on a large-scale bike exhibition. You'll get the red-carpet treatment, as Transportation Alternatives staffers valet park your wheels while you peruse the 33,000-square-feet of unique rides and gear, including helmets from Nutcase and custom rides from Folk Engineered. Center 548, 548 W 22nd St at Eleventh Ave (212-284-9737, newambikeshow.com). Apr 30 10am--7pm; $20, advance $15.
Bike Month NYC
What began in 1990 as a one-day event has grown to a monthlong celebration of all things two-wheeled. A couple of the largest happenings include the Five Boro Bike Tour (May 1), during which 30,000 cyclists will ride a total of 42 miles through all five boroughs, and National Bike to Work Day (May 20). "It's a call to reluctant commuters throughout the city," says Ben McRoberts, events manager at Transportation Alternatives. "There's safety in numbers, so we're hoping that having more people out on one day will help [bikers] feel better." Extra support services on Bike to Work Day include eight pit stops throughout the city providing iced coffee, snacks, cycling handbooks and maps of NYC bike lanes. Location, time and price varies; visit bikemonthnyc.org for details.
Brooklyn Bike Jumble
Vintage-clothing fetishists have the Brooklyn Flea; furniture geeks can scour the Antiques Garage. For cyclists, there's this flea market, the only rummage sale devoted solely to velocipedes in the city. Expect to find rides for adults and kids ranging from $50 to $200, gear for the fixie-obsessed and cycling-friendly clothing. Pros from local shops will also be on hand to help you pick out the bike that's right for you. The Old Stone House, J.J. Byrne Park, 336 Third St between Fourth and Fifth Aves, Park Slope, Brooklyn (nybikejumble.com). May 14 10am--4pm; free.
Tour de Brooklyn
Cyclists will explore far-flung corners of Kings County on this noncompetitive journey, which typically boasts around 2,000 participants. You'll pedal a 20-mile loop through the borough; bikers are encouraged to go at their own pace, and NYPD escorts ensure that you won't accidentally get T-boned. Location TBA; visit tourdebrooklyn.org for details. Registration opens in May. Jun 5 at 9am; $10, Transportation Alternatives members $5.
Bike and Roll
"I don't have a bike" is not an acceptable excuse for taking taxis everywhere. Thanks to this seven-year-old company, you can rent a set of wheels for under $20 at eight locations citywide, including two in Central Park and two on Governors Island, with more to come. The Columbus Circle, Battery Park and Pier 84 locations open on March 12, while others begin operation as the weather warms up. Lease a bike by the hour, day or week to explore on your own. If you don't know where to go, take advantage of Bike and Roll's wide range of guided and independent tours ($25--$50), which zip through such locales as Central Park and Downtown Brooklyn. Location, time and price vary; see bikeandroll.com/newyork for details.
Find a bike to fit your style at this Park Slope shop, which specializes in building custom rides (including road bikes and vintage-inspired fixed-gear models). The store also hosts free classes for novices: During each eight-week semester, you'll learn to identify and maintain various parts of your bike. 718 Cyclery, Inc.; 461 Seventh Ave between Windsor Pl and 16th St, Park Slope, Brooklyn (347-457-5760, 718c.com). Sat noon; free.
Time's Up! Rides
This volunteer-run environmental group puts on regular events throughout the boroughs on a near-weekly basis: Start with Critical Mass, a loosely organized monthly get-together (one each in Manhattan and Brooklyn) that attracts hundreds of cyclists, skaters and runners to reclaim car-filled streets. For a more leisurely experience, try a Moonlight Ride in Central Park or Prospect Park; the jaunt begins at dusk, and the lack of sunlight means that the group rolls more slowly. Location and schedule vary; visit times-up.org for details. Free.