It's the end of January and I am starting to get ride brochures in the mail and online. Decisions, decisions. How do I want to spend my precious time off for event cycling. One easy decision I always make is the NY 5 Boro or BikeNewYork. It is the 1st Sunday in May. It is only 42 miles, but comprises more than 30,000 riders. It is unbelievably well organized and fun. A must if you are near NYC. Email me privately for tips on better enjoying the ride. My club, Central Jersey Bike Club also sponsors their annual event ride, The Farmlands, the day before BikeNY. Well organized and rides are 25- 100 miles with well spaced rest stops and sag support. This has become known as my bike weekend, so wife and work are hands off.My real decision is what week long event I want to do for the year. I have done BikeVirginia, BikeFlorida, GOBA and BROL. BikeVa has 2k riders and is the best organized ride I have done and is usually very challenging. BikeFl has about the same number of riders, but is held during March or April when school is out and northern Florida tends to still be cold. Run well but not BikeVa. GOBA in Ohio has 3k riders. Again run well, more family oriented, not that challenging. I find the local charity groups charge a bit extra for lunch and dinners. BROL, a fun recumbent weekend in the Finger Lakes region of beautiful NYS. I think this could be better if Bryan would promote it more.I have done most of these events a few times. With the exception of BROL, these are large events bringing thousands of cyclists and money to small towns. It does create waiting times for food and showers and locals can become overwhelmed. I have not done smaller events of 3-500 riders which some have expressed as better. For me I become a social butterfly after the ride and enjoy the local color. The more the merrier. There are many more ride events that cyclists rave about. The Granddaddy of all probably being RAGBRAI with 10k riders.
I chose the above mentioned events for the following reasons;
1. I prefer circular routes. I don't like wasting a day traveling on a bus and wondering how my bike is.
2. I like it to be reasonable.
3. I like to have the flexibility to eat where and when I want so I can enjoy the local color.
4. It has to fit into my schedule.
This year I think I am leaning towards GOBA. I will do this ride on my Trike and self contained. 50 mile days should not be over challenging with smaller hills than Va and I can get a feel for riding self contained. It may be selfish, but these week long events are all about me. I leave family friends and work at home. I ride, eat, and socialize with who and when I want. Everbody is there for one reason and that is to have fun cycling.
Sometimes I think this is what makes it so special.