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Ride to Montauk rolls across Long Island with fewer bicyclists

Ride to Montauk cyclists climb a hill as

Ride to Montauk cyclists climb a hill as they make their way to the Camp Hero finish line in Montauk Saturday, May 31, 2014. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Bicyclists cruised past jammed traffic in the Hamptons and coasted by cheering crowds at Camp Hero State Park after riding as far as 150 miles from Manhattan to Montauk Saturday.

The 50th Ride to Montauk took place with a reduced number of bicyclists after organizers reached a settlement with East Hampton town and village officials, who had sought in recent days to stop the annual event.

Bicycle Shows U.S., the company that organizes the popular ride across Long Island, was forced to reduce the number of participants to 1,500 from about 2,700 and cancel a 30-mile ride from East Hampton to Montauk and a 70-mile ride that was to start and end in Montauk.

Bicyclists set off from separate starts in Shirley, Babylon and at Penn Station in Manhattan as early as 5 a.m. They braved a windy stretch on Dune Road in Westhampton Beach and a hilly climb to the finish in Montauk.

"When you get to Montauk, it's all uphill," said Tim Feeney, 53, of upstate Niskayuna, who rode 150 miles from Penn Station. "It's not awful, but when you're at 140 miles, it's not fun."

Some had traveled to Montauk before the eastern rides were canceled, so they enjoyed the sunny, breezy day instead.

Dave and Jane Grant of Jersey City drove four hours to Montauk and stayed overnight, then found out their ride had been canceled. They rode the 70 miles anyway. "It's a lovely route, so hell," said Dave Grant, 48.

East Hampton Town notified organizers Tuesday they would not issue an event permit, citing technical problems with the company's application and concerns over crowded roads. East Hampton Village cited similar concerns in denying an application Thursday.

"They should be ashamed of themselves, giving everybody such a hard time," said Maureen Keegan, 57, of upstate Kingston, who completed the 73-mile ride from Shirley. "Once a year, they can't share the beauty of the East End?"

The company reached the settlement with the town and village on Friday.

East Hampton Town Police Sgt. Joe Kearney said no one had reported incidents or complaints related to the ride by 3:30 p.m. Saturday. He said the first riders entered the town about 11:15 a.m.

Glen Goldstein, the owner of Bicycle Shows U.S., who has organized the ride for 17 years, said he would work to accommodate the town and village before next year's event.

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