The NYC Century Tour celebrates 26 years of bike riding in city streets - Metro US

The NYC Century Tour celebrates 26 years of bike riding in city streets

There’s always a risk involved in riding a bicycle anywhere in the city, so imagine riding 100 miles in one day on the streets of New York.

Cyclists and bike enthusiasts will be able to do just that on Sunday, Sept. 13 during the NYC Century Tour.

The tour is the nation’s only all-urban 100 mile bike ride that will take you through neighborhoods many people have never been to on foot.

“You see a lot of parts of the city that you had no idea were there, and how beautiful and amazing some parts of the city really are,” said Beth Slade, events coordinator for Transportation Alternatives (T.A.). “I just think it’s incredibly neat to go to so many different areas in one day.”

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T.A. used to host fundraising parties, but in 1989 the group decided to organize a ride instead and the NYC Century was born. The tour will be entering its 26th year next month.

Initially the ride started off with 200 participants, but last year alone around 7,000 riders signed up for the tour. T.A. is expecting a little over 7,000 this year.

What started off as a grassroots effort for riders wanting to raise awareness on better bicycling conditions in the city has become one of the top bike events and heavily dependent on the volunteers who every year marshal the tour making sure everyone is safe. About 500 to 600 volunteers will be out on the roads with riders on the day of the tour.

“We want people out on the streets to experience what’s it’s like to be out on the streets with traffic, we want them to see T.A.’s advocacy work and see what we’ve done to improve the streets,” Slade said. “I think it’s important for people to get out on the road with traffic, with pedestrians, with everything.”

Participants can choose from four different distances, 35, 55, 75 and 100 miles and start at one of two locations, Central Park or Prospect Park. Last year, about 65 percent rode the 100 miles, and the rest opted for the lesser distances.

They also have the option to fundraise a minimum of $300 for Vision Zero to advocate for cyclists and pedestrians.

Vision Zero is a road safety project adopted in January 2014 by Mayor Bill de Blasio. It encompasses the redesign of arterial roads and lowering the speed limit as a way to reduce roadway deaths with the goal of getting to zero fatalities by 2024.

“Vision Zero is a top priority for Mayor de Blasio. In its first year, the program resulted in the safest year for pedestrians since recordkeeping began in 1910 —and this year is shaping up to be even safer,” said Wiley Norvell, the Mayor’s Office deputy press secretary. “We appreciate the voices and advocacy of families and groups across the five boroughs working for safer streets.”

RELATED:Pedestrian deaths drop in first year of Vision Zero

The ride will go through every borough except Staten Island and it will not be police escorted. All riders are expected to follow and obey traffic laws for their own safety, as a good portion of the tour will be on streets with other vehicles. Riders will get to ride through some of the city’s greenways and bike paths. There will be six rest stops throughout the ride and an extra bathroom location.

Registration started in May and will remain open until the day of the ride. The actual tour begins rain or shine at 6 a.m. and on average, cyclists finish the ride in six to eight hours.

“Make sure you get plenty of rest, make sure your bike is in good shape, make sure you’ve done at least some mileage before you do a 100 and just look forward to having a great day on your bike,” Slade said.

Riders can resgister at:http://www.nyccentury.org/

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