A night at the Museum

Our social for June will be to partner with the Museum of the City of New York and check out their exhibit on 200 Years of Cycling in NYC.

Thursday June 27th at 7pm. 

A panel discussion (including a representative from our partner TA) will be included.

Come out and socialize with your friends in the 5BBC and others in the cycling community.

Further details, a really nice big flyer, and tickets available here.

(Don't forget to use code BIKE to get $10 tickets! Discounted from the regular $18)

4th Year of the Penn Dutch Weekend - June 21 through June 23, 2019

Ride your bike through the fields of the Penn Dutch farmlands on bike routes used by the local bicycle club, the Lancaster Bicycle Club. You will bike roads with endless fields and horse drawn buggies. 

The trip starts Friday, June 21 and runs through Sunday, June 23. This is the 4th year that we have been hosted by the club. Who are we? The Staten Island Bicycling Association (SIBA) I, Roy Fischman, the organizer for the Penn Dutch weekends, am a board member of SIBA and also a member of 5BBC. (I am going on the 5BBC Montreal trip on May 31) Also, if my name is familiar to some of you in the club, I was a past co-chair of the AYH Bike Club, now known as 5BBC.

The cost of the hotel, Best Western Plus Intercourse Village and Suites, is $152.99 per night with 11% room tax.  This is for two queen size beds. Breakfast is included. The hotel has a 24 hour cancellation policy. A full refund will be given if a cancellation is received the day before. Or anyone coming on the trip is welcome to find their own accommodations. Transportation to the hotel is the responsibility of each tripper. Car pools are possible. (It's about a 2 and a half hour ride from Brooklyn.)

Rides for the weekend. Friday, a short ride for those who can get there early enough. The exact time will be give later. Saturday and Sunday, we join the Lancaster Bicycle Club members on their rides. There is no charge to go on their rides. On Saturday there is an 18 mile ride and a 44 mile ride  Both of these rides break at popular ice cream stops. Sunday will also have two rides;  one is about 20 miles and the other will be about 40 miles. Each day's ride finishes by the early afternoon. This gives us plenty of time before we go to dinner. Some things you may choose to do: relax, swim at the hotel's large indoor pool, shop the outlets, visit the Intercourse Bike Works and  Bike Tours  across the street, visit museums (such as the American Military Edged Weaponry museum - a short walk from the hotel),  take your picture inside a stand up phone booth used by Harrrson Ford in the movie "Witness" (also a short walk from the hotel) or explore the many tourist attractions in the area. Each year we have people who come on the trip and don't bicycle. They just explore the area.

All trippers are welcome to join us each evening for dinner. Friday night we dine at the historic Revere Tavern Saturday we eat at the Smokehouse BBQ and Brews

We are looking forward to making new friends from the 5BBC. Membership in SIBA is needed to go on the trip. It is $25 for a calendar year for an individual and $35 for a calendar year for a family.

If you want to grab one of the discounted rooms that I reserved at the hotel, the cut off date is May 21. After this the room rate will be higher. If you can make it please e-mail me at I can give you more information and tell you how to reserve a room.


Perimeter Pandemonia!

Round and round and round we may go, and where we stop.. well, ultimately back where we started, but that is the essence of a true perimeter ride – after all, we are The FIVE Borough Bicycle Club, and what better way is there to explore the quintuplets? Although each plat may be unique in terms of shape, size, architecture, population, culture, history, waterfront access, and even number of bike shops – what they all have are outlines, borders (without walls!) that almost beg us to trace by bicycle, even if only to mathematically determine that what we learned about the value of “Pi” (3.14159 etc) in high school can be used for irregularly shaped circles.

There's also something about a Perimeter Ride Series, especially one that has graced our Club for well over two decades, that whets the appetite. With major contributions by Ed DeFreitas, Alfredo Garcia, and Danny Lieberman, our late (and sorely missed) comrade-in-arms, the 5BBC began these circumnavigations in a bygone era where many bike lanes did not exist, and where even the idea of pedalling totally around the rim of a borough was novel and compelling. How many actual total miles are there? How many bridges? How many neighborhoods? How many neighbors?

I have to admit it, but the thought of resurrecting these extremely popular bike rides had been nagging me. It's one of the Club's premier multiple day “events” if you will, and we are extremely excited to place these rides back on the cycling calendar. Beginning this Sunday, April 14, Mr. DeFreitas and Mr. (President) Friedman officially launch and re-launch based on the oft-traditional opener: Manhattan Perimeter (pssst: spell check, you guys), 9:30 am at City Hall, followed by Alfredo's 22nd Staten Islander on Saturday, April 21. The other Boroughs will not be omitted! What a great way to spend a Spring Day. Tune up your bikes, grease the helmets, start your pedals!


Do the Dutch Reach!

What the heck is a “Dutch Reach”? 


If you, or anyone you know, has ever been “doored”, then you need to practice the Dutch Reach.


What do the Dutch reach for? Oliebollen (Dutch doughnuts)? Of course! Tulips? Sure!


But the Dutch, known for their bicycle addiction, also reach for something else…safety. Simply the Dutch Reach is a safer way to leave your car; safer for you and for any passing cyclists.


Practicing the Dutch Reach is simple. When you are about to leave a car, a taxi, an Uber, or any of the other various company vehicles that now proliferate in NYC, open the car door with your far hand, the hand furthest from the door. Reach across your body, pause to look behind you, and if it is clear, open the door.


The Dutch Reach forces you to turn sideways where looking behind you to assure that the road is clear is easy. Right before you open the door, raise your eyes slightly and you have a clear line of vision on anything approaching you from behind, whether another vehicle or a passing cyclist.


Putting it another way: Far hand reach; look behind you; open when safe.


In closing, not only can you practice this, you can tell others how you act to make everyone a little bit safer.


Far hand reach; look; open when safe.



Geoff Cohen, Member and Leader 5BBC



2019 Spring Training Series for the TD Five Boro Bike Tour


This page is dedicated to the 5BBC's special relationship with Bike New York.

The 5BBC has been involved in supporting the TD Five Boro Bike Tour since inception. We know it well and love it! Read more about its history and our role in it here.

And this year will be no different.

We have a spring training series that runs every year through March and April.

It's designed to help those who don't ride in the winter, or may be targeting a longer ride than they have ever done before, to incrementally build up the capacity to ride as far as they can.

The approach is simple.

Rides are populated on our Day Trips web site page from which you can pick one at a level you know you can do, and incrementally, build by adding 5-10 miles more each week with a supporting group of riders along with you. You can start with as short as 15 to 30 mile rides and build up to as long as 40, 50, 75 or even 100 miles by the time the summer rolls around.

As our 2019 Spring Training Series develops, we will hilight here and showcase how people new to riding, or familiar with riding, the streets of New York's 5 Boroughs, can come together and train for this year's TD Five Boro Bike Tour with New York's friendliest Bike Club - the 5BBC!

For example, this weekend we have a cool "multi-cultural" ride on Sunday that supports multiple starting distances for your spring training by circling the perimeter of Manhattan while celebrating two significant holidays: the Irish holiday of St. Patrick's Day the Jewish holiday of Purim. Drop off points (aka local subway) are available at 5-10-15-20-25-30 mile points. We also have a nice ride over the GWB led by two very experienced leaders for those of you wanting to "get out of town" (it's only to Teaneck, so not too far out of town).

Both of these are perfect rides even if you haven't started spring training yet. Or even if you have - it will let you hit the 30 mile mark if you are up for it (2/3 - 3/4 of the tour length). They are designed to let people drop off at any point where they feel they have hit their current limit 10 miles, 15, 20, 25 or 30..... since subways abound in NYC. So come out and join us on either or both of these rides - let the leaders know if you are new to the club and targeting the tour and we'll talk you through a plan to get to your goal.

If you've been riding solo and ready to make it to 40 miles early and want to work on your speed? Join a slightly faster ride and build to higher mileage so the tour will be more of a recovery ride that's easy for you!

Our spring training series is flexible - leverage it to suit your needs and your schedule.

If you aren't ready to start in March, we have starting point rides in April too.

For many years now, we celebrate Cherry Blossom season in the Cherry Blossom CAPITAL of the northeast - Newark! We head over to Newark (yes, Newark surpasses even DC in terms of the number of Cherry Blossom trees). Come with us on this variable pace ride and stretch your reach in the weeks before the tour. We have plans to repeat the ride twice to make sure we don't miss peak blossom season. Register April 7th or April 21st.  If you want to judge for yourself, another thing that makes 5BBC unique is our out-of-town weekend trips. Consider joining us on our DC Weekend Trip - sign up here!

The tour itself does not have too many hills, but if you want to work on hills - just in case, or to develop your capabilities for when you meet them on rides - let us know and we will add our Hills 101 in Brooklyn ride - e-mail!

Everyone is welcome to take their first ride with our club for free. That's right - First ride is aways free at the 5BBC!

After that, it's only $25 a year for unlimited riding ($30 for two at the same address). This is required by the insurance we take for our TRAINED leaders. Each ride has two, a Point up front and a Sweep at the back. We use a process called Point-Drop-Sweep to make sure no one ever gets left behind!

On this page, we will focus on helping cyclists train for the tour this year on May 5th.

Check back here often as we will be updating this page with a summary of rides appropriate to riders training for the 2019 tour as they are posted.

We have a long tradition of partnering with Bike New York. Many of our members and leaders are Marshalls, Captains and Supercaptains - volunteering to help support the ride and make it the success that it is.

We look forward to helping you experience the tour as a breeze, safely with fun!

...having developed the confidence to do the distance by experiencing our spring training series.

Please remember to check back regularly for ride updates to help you prepare for this year's tour. And consider signing up for our FREE weekly e-mail which shows you news of the club and upcoming Day Trips over the next week.

We also have some wonderful weekend trips planned. Check them out here.

Any questions? About training for the tour or riding with our club? The only bad question at New York's Friendliest club is the one you don't ask.

Feel free to write to or - we hope to see you on a ride soon!


Weekend Trip Idea.. Looking to see if there is interest.

The Velodrome is where man and machine become one, for the single purpose of going faster than the next guy. It's the bicycle equivilent of a speedway, with its banked corners, smooth surface, and grandstands fro cheering crowds. Its normally reserved for the best cyclists, who bring their years of experience, nerves of steel, bikes and bodies tuned to perfection. In Trexlertown, Pennsylvania, is the East Coast's premier Velodrome, The Valley Preferred Cycling Center. 

Have you ever dreamed of testing your mettle on the track? Just doing some laps to see what it feels like to be in a place where legends have raced? ever wanted see what the banked corners feel like? we have an opportunity to attend a day class, where professionals will train us how to ride the track, in a private class where they will supply everything except your helmet. Any level of experience is welcome, even if you have never been on a race bike before. 

This will be a weekend trip where we will head out on Friday, in vans out to our hotel, and on Sat, head out from the hotel on our bikes over to the Velodrome for our lesson, and then, in the afternoon after the class, there is the option to go to Dorney Park, an amusement park with some great roller coasters. on Sunday, we will head out to the Deleware and Lehigh Canal trail, where we will have a great easy ride along the scenic Lehigh river, out past Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, home of Crayola Crayons. then we will head back to NYC, where we will drop off and (sadly) head back to real life. 

I can't promise that there will be crowds in the stands cheering us on, but I can promise you will get an experience you won't forget!

If this sounds like a trip you would be interested in, please Email me at, and let me know. as of now, it will be approx 250-300 per person, not including your food. Tentatively, this trip will be for mid June. This is a feeler to see if there is enough interest in this trip, so if you are, please let me know!

Chris DeMeo


The Seal Ride

There is a saying that you often hear from 5BBC riders -  "You never know what you will see on a ride." 

Interesting things always seem to happen when you place a group of cyclists in strange environments. 

And few areas of NYC are stranger than Dead Horse Bay. 

Now part of the Gateway National Seashore, Dead Horse Bay was never exactly a scenic part of New York. 

As the New York Times stated, “Dead Horse Bay sits at the western edge of a marshland once dotted by more than two dozen horse-rendering plants, fish oil factories and garbage incinerators. From the 1850s until the 1930s, the carcasses of dead horses and other animals from New York City streets were used to manufacture glue, fertilizer and other products at the site. The chopped-up, boiled bones were later dumped into the water. The squalid bay, then accessible only by boat, was reviled for the putrid fumes that hung overhead.”  

As in so many NYC stories - then came Robert Moses.  He plowed under the fish oil plants, the horse rendering operations and the dumps.  He capped the landfill, and covered it with a layer of topsoil.  But alas, the landfill cap broke, and since the mid 1950's, the beach has been littered with the trash of the past.  Mostly, there are bottles.  Lots and lots of bottles.. Intact bottles, pieces of bottles.  Bottles from before you were born.  Let's just say, you are not going swimming here.

And so, on a cold January day, a group of 15 5BBCers went to Dead Horse Bay - and ended up with an experience none of us will ever forget. 

To get here by bike you take the Plum Beach Bike Trail, Cross over at Flatbush and head to the Marine Park Bridge.  Then the fun begins.  You have to just know where the small trail starts - and which of the side trails to take, to get here.  This is entirely off road and unmarked.  As we navigated through this wilderness trail, Brooklyn seemed to fade away.  We were surrounded by trees and marsh weeds as we cycled this undulating sandy trail.

We arrived at the bottle strewn beach at low tide, perfect for revealing it's treasures. 

I headed off from the group to a pile of rocks by the old jetty.  I was greeted by a pair of soft brown eyes.  To my astonishment, right in front of me was a little pudgy seal.  We looked at each other for a while, both sort of curious.  The group came over to check out our new friend.  What was this little fellow doing on this gross beach?  The seal rolled on his back, and I so wanted to pet his belly - but the members all yelled "NO MEL!"  I called the police and made one of the strangest 911 calls ever.  "Hello, 911 - what's your emergency?"  "There is a beached seal at Dead Horse Bay who may need help."  "What?...Who? ... Where??"  After assuring them this was not a prank, I gave NYPD my number and was assued that someone would help our little friend.

The next half hour, I received calls every ten minutes from NYPD.  Where is this?  There is no road there.  Have fun trying to direct people down a trail that really wants to remain hidden.  But by the time we got to lunch - we saw a picture of two NYPD officers, grinning as stupidly as we were, when they also encountered the seal.  A News 12 reporter came to the scene and interviewed a club member.  We found out that this was not an actual emergency - just normal seal behavior.  When the water gets cold - they warm up on dry land.  This seal just happened to chose Dead Horse Bay as his landing spot.  We were told that the seal would just go back to the water when it wanted to.  

The seal brightened up the lives of all those who encountered him [or her - not really sure how seals work].  It was all we were talking about at lunch - and I expect for days later.  A little bit of the unexpected, in a place that you never knew existed.  I certainly do not expect a seal on every ride I do - but it is the unexpected things that I see on every ride that always have me wanting to do more.  To continue to visit the strange corners of our urban world. 

Again - you never know what you will see on a ride.  










Labor Day Love Story

Article written by Gail Green-Anderson about how she met and married her husband Rick through 5BBC


October 7, 2018

Once upon a time, two cyclists met on a ride and fell in love.

Rick and I have been married for almost nineteen years and when people ask us this question --“How did you two meet?” -- we tell them the truth: “We both went to the wrong starting point for a Five Borough Bicycle Club Ride.”  On Labor Day, 1998, Rick and I, strangers to each other, showed up at the Picnic House in Prospect Park to join a ride, led by Terry Chin, that would tour historic landmarks in Brooklyn and lower Manhattan.  We waited there for a while, surprised that more people had not shown up on a holiday for what promised to be a beautiful day. 

And then the cyclists appeared. The group had met at Grand Army Plaza and were making the first stop at the Picnic House, to use the bathrooms, before continuing the ride.  

Rick and I rode together much of the day, with the group. We found we had much in common; we both worked in education and we both sang in choruses.  Most importantly, we loved cycling.  The ride made it comfortable to chat.  And while promise was in the air, each of us hesitated at the end of the ride to ask for the other’s phone number.  

There the story might have ended, but it did not. 

Six weeks later, I found a message on my voice mail at work.  It was from Rick, who remembered what I had said about my place of employment.  He asked, in that message, if I remembered him. He gave me his phone number and suggested I call back.  

I did.  

We saw each other frequently that fall.  Rick proposed on Valentine’s Day 1999 and when we were married the following November in Rick’s mom’s apartment, the wedding cake was adorned with figures of cyclists. We left our wedding in a pedicab. 

Cycling continues to bring us together and more recently, when we purchased a tandem, we found ways to get lost, to go to the wrong starting points, together.  


Discover new places and meet new friends!  Our day trips are all freee!!   We are all about adventure-- but also about your safety. Our rides are lead by trained, responsive and responsible leaders who adhere to ride descriptions that they themselves post.  Helmets are required on all rides. Come try us out!  We have insurance in the rare case that something goes wrong on a ride.  It's not our idea-- though we think you will want to become a 5BBC member --our insurance carrier requires you to join when you come back after that first “trial” ride. Hope to see you on the road!-- Andrea Mercado, 


Why I Ride

I learned to ride a bike when I was very young but growing up in a small town in an era when cars were boss, my love of cycling, ironically, didn’t take off until I moved to the Big City.  It was more a need for an inexpensive social activity than a desire to become more physically fit that lead me to get serious about cycling in New York City.  

I owned a bicycle as a young mother raising my family in upstate New York.  When my babies were little I took them on rides with me around the “block”; which was about 2 and a half miles around a couple of apple orchards in Lafayette, New York.  I had a back pack baby carrier with an aluminum frame that I set my baby in and then hoisted onto my back and off we went.  I acquired a child seat for the bike for the 18 month old when my second baby came along.   Unfortunately, this only lasted while my babies were little and I was on maternity leave because when I went back to work I was a suburban car driving Mom again. 

Twenty five years later, faced with a new job, relocation to New York City and suddenly single life; bicycling became a much more critical component to my extracurricular activities.  First of all, my housing cost increased substantially, so my recreational budget had to take a hit.  I already had a bike, so that enticed me to try the Five Borough Bike Tour in May 1998.  I didn’t know a soul in the city so when I reached the finish line in Staten Island and found the “Friendliest” Bike Club in the city looking for members I signed up! 

It’s been one of the best decisions of my life.  I became a leader in 2003, served on the club’s board for several years, as Program Coordinator and President.  Not only have I found a circle of friends who I enjoy riding with and spending time with, I have discovered parts of this city I would never have found on my own.  It was actually the best way to learn my way around as a new resident. 

My preferred style of riding is relaxed; what we classify as a “happy face” pace of 8-10 mph.  I’m not a big fan of hills, but as one friend pointed out to me in the beginning, “every hill makes you stronger” and another good piece of advice is they always look worse before you get to them.   

Besides doing day rides around the city, I look forward to getting away on weekend and week-long cycling adventures.   In fact, one of the main reasons I became a leader in the club was to lead weekend trips and for several years I was racking up 2-3 a year; to Cape Cod, Covered Bridges in Pennsylvania, and Wine Country of Long Island.   Just recently I helped co-lead a revived weekend trip to Montreal and newly created weekend trip to Washington D.C. 

These weekend trips gave me the motivation to tackle a couple major longer bicycle events that have taken me across and out of New York State, such as the NYS Parks Department Cycling the Erie Canal, RAGBRAI  (Ride Across Iowa), the Great Allegheny Passage Bike Tour in PA, and a two week, self-contained cycling tour in France from Paris to Nice with a small group of friends from the bike club.  Most of these accomplishments have taken place during the past decade while in my sixties and now that I’m in my 70’s I look forward to many more cycling adventures.

The friends I have made in this club is why I ride, the truth be told.  I have found a family in this city and I have grieved when a family member is lost.   I am proud to be a member of a club that supports high safety standards for cycling and sharing that responsibility for modeling good behavior when I ride.