The two cyclists bracketing the centerline of Flushing Avenue in Brooklyn had little use for their handlebars. “It’s nice to relax,” said Leandro Silva, 26, of Williamsburg. “You don’t have to worry about cars or anything like that.”
Riding hands-free alongside Silva was Mark Wright, 30, of Jersey City. “We’re going the complete 42,” Wright said, referring to the tour’s mileage, even though his “jacked” bike was stuck in one gear for the entirety of yesterday’s TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour.
Never mind bike lanes: The 33rd edition of North America’s largest annual cycling event reserved major bridges, thoroughfares and expressways for bikes.
The sounds of spinning freewheels (it’s a tour, not a race) replaced honking taxis and belching engines. The few cars riders saw were parked, and there was no threat their doors would suddenly swing open. Spills occurred, but they were mostly attributable to other cyclists who were overdosing on the rangy city riding the Five Boro afforded.
On the FDR Drive, with oncoming car traffic safely across the median, cyclists commanded one of the ultimate, exclusive provinces of New York motorists. For one morning, the increasingly bike-friendly city was a cycling utopia. For a day, cyclists rule the city’s roads.