As I briefly mentioned in another post, I cycled in the Bike NY 5 Boro Tour. This is a one of a kind event where for one Sunday morning bicyclists get to ride a 42-45 mile loop of New York City visiting the five boroughs; Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. You cycle past the hot tourist spots including Battery Park, Ground Zero, Herald Square, Rockefeller Center, and Central Park. You get to cross the Queensboro Bridge, pass under the Williamsburg and Brooklyn Bridges and Cross the venerable Verasano Narrows Bridge before you return to Manhattan on the Staten Island Ferry.
You may wonder how I came to ride in this event so far from home. One of the things I have strived to do after surgery and my initial weight loss is to put my self out there and do things that the former Tom would have never dreamed of doing. Bicycling has become my post-surgery passion. When I heard about this event at a Christmas Eve family gathering, I went home and researched it. I knew at that point that I would cycle in the 2011 5 Boro Tour.
I speak a lot about transforming yourself after weight loss surgery. I look at my cycling and interest in participating in cycling charity, pleasure and endurance events as that cutting edge of my transformation. I have never been an athlete. I have little to no athletic ability. It took a lot of mental effort on my part to put myself out there on these rides with these skinny, sleek cyclists on super lightweight, fast road bikes. I confess that they still intimidate me, but it’s that intimidation that makes this short sort of pudgy guy get right next to them on a bike.
A word of advice to anyone who is just too afraid to put themselves “out there” is to just do it. You might be intimidated like me, but don’t let that dissuade you. I can assure you that it is worth the effort. Here are a few of the valuable lessons I have learned.
- Most people are polite and when they learn you are new, they offer good advice and encourage you on.
- You are not as bad as you think. On many of these rides, I cycle at the same pace as these sleek cycling gods. Yes, the gods come in all levels of expertise.
- There are no bullies. Yes, those Neanderthals from high school gym class are not there to beat you down if you don’t keep the right speed or finish the ride.
- Each time you put yourself out there you get a little better and a little more self-confident. This is the only way you are going to grow.
- Doing what you want to really want to do, what you have dreamed of doing, or even could have never imagined you would be doing is like a drug like no other. I love being the one people look at from the sidelines and say, “I wish I could do something like that.”
Go out there and find the unexpected and become part of it. It doesn’t have to be athletic. Have you ever dreamed of acting in a play or sing in a choir? How about being an artist or craftsperson? Maybe a new career looms in your future. The above rules apply to these and just about any other dream that you may have locked away inside your self.
Below are my favorite photos from the 5 Boro Tour. I like to photo journal of my bike rides. This ride had some unbelievable shots of the NY skyline and bridges. Sunny skies made for good photography. I hope you enjoy the photos.