Deep thoughts on cycling and some advice for 5 Boro Bike Tour riders


My weapon of choice for the 5 Boro Bike Tour. Beware the massive man on the Masi!

Along with 33,000 or so other people, I’m in the final stages of getting ready to ride the 40-mile 5 Boro Bike Tour in New York City this weekend. If you are unfamiliar with this event, check it out:

As I doublechecked my saddle bag in preparation for the ride I’ve waited my whole life to do, I got to thinking about what cycling means to me, and likely, always will:

Cycling is all about the fun.  I’ve been selling, building, maintaining, and marketing the cycling lifestyle now for close to 16 years and I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many times I have uttered that exact line before.  Cycling is all about the fun.  Remember that feeling of freedom, the sense of adventure, and the calling to explore what’s round that next bend you got when you were a kid and finally able to pedal past your current boundaries.  I fully believe that this is why we return to cycling so passionately as adults, and why many of us this time of year get psyched to get out on the two wheels.  Not only are we able to reduce carbon emissions,  lose weight, and shed some of the day-to-day burdens of the 9 to 5 working world; we are able to have fun doing it!

And as far as I’m concerned, nothing is going to be more fun than the 5 Boro Bike Tour. While I’m a first time rider in this epic event, I’m no stranger to long rides so I thought I’d share some of the things I plan to bring with me for other 5 Boro riders who are having last minute jitters. On my bike I always make sure to have two water bottles, not that I always use both bottles, but it’s always good to have too much water than not enough.  Some people also choose to use a hydration pack. Personally, I find hydration packs uncomfortable on longer rides, but that’s just me–big, burly me.  I also bring along a well-stocked saddle bag with a whole bunch of stuff to keep me safe and ensure I can get back home if I have a mechanical issue like a flat tire.

Here’s a photo of everything that’s coming to New York with me:

  1. Identification
  2. Saddle bag
  3. Hand pump
  4. Knog lights
  5. Multi-tools
  6. Spare tube
  7. CO2 pump
  8. Patch kit

If you’re going to bring along all the stuff I’m bringing, it’s important to know how to use it. If you’re not sure, just stop by any of  the 65 Eastern Mountain Sports stores in the northeast, especially those with bike departments which offer clinics on basic bike maintenance and repair.  I hope this little tidbit of information helps you get out there more and enjoy a great season of cycling. Whether you’re heading to the 5 Boro Bike Tour or a 15-minute cruise around your neighborhood, be sure to remember, it’s all about having fun!

Ben Hall

Brewed fresh in the mountains of Vermont, Eastern Mountain Sports Local Marketing Specialist Ben Hall has gone so far as to boldly proclaim the fact that he is rocking in the good times!  The father of two and husband of one finds his inspiration in the form of mountain biking, skiing, and freelance BS'ing.  His favorite food is Ben & Jerry’s and Long Trail floats, and his favorite color is green.  If you see him driving by, wave to MTBBEN, you can’t miss him, he kind of resembles a yeti!


  1. Glenna
    May 6, 2011, 4:00 pm

    Myself and friends from Cornwall Ontario did the 5 boro bike tour last yr. It was a lot of fun but soooo many people. We did a fair bit of walking off and on for the first 5-10 miles because the course was so packed with people. Have did the Tour in Montreal a couple of times and it is more of a party- the neighbourhoods get right into cheering you on and providing music along the way. Lots of music at the start and in the parks/rest stops as well. A lot of fun! This fall we are doing the Hub on Wheels(Boston) – its a fun way to see a new city.

  2. Carol
    April 29, 2011, 8:16 am

    There is a similar ride in Montreal the first Sunday in June. It is lower key and less expensive and there is a night ride the Friday before. I’ve done the New York ride but Montreal is more fun.

  3. Bryant
    April 29, 2011, 6:51 am

    Once a NJ resident (now NH), I did Bike New York 6 times or so. Fantastic event, especially if the weather is good! One piece of advice, either get there very early to get a spot behind the starting line or go later and start a few blocks up from the starting line. It is going to be packed!!! Be prepared to go very slow the first few miles. Have fun and say hi to the Big Apple.

  4. April 27, 2011, 7:57 pm

    Nice post and good like on the 5 Boro Tour! One of my coworkers does it regularly and speaks very highly of it I am new to cycling and could not agree more that it is all about fun!

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