Articles

Membership Message Coming Off Hiatus

To all of our longstanding members we want to take a moment to thank you for your patience and support during the pandemic.

To our many new members who are taking up cycling anew or after a long break, we are happy to have you and welcome you to the club.

If any member ever has have any questions,  we love hearing from you! Please do not hesitate to e-mail us at membership@5bbc.org

It has not been easy for anyone and on top of it all, just as we come out of the worst health crisis in our life times, we are forced once again to stare racism and bigotry in the face in a way that is painful when compounded with the social distancing requirements that prevent traditional protests in a healthy manner. Our mission in membership at 5BBC is have all feel welcome regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation etc this is your home and Mark and I will strive to ensure that this holds true to our club and we know the board is with us on this 100%!

Our club is a strong community of good friends. We take pride in being New York's friendliest bike club - a place where people can develop their cycling abilities at whatever pace suits them from easy peasy in a happy face ride all the way up to Quick Spins. We also look to give back to the cycling community in any way we can. So we look forward to riding again and having a fun positive social experience in which to get over the isolation we felt during the near lockdown. 

At this time we are starting up our rides program in a limited way and our web site had to be updated to support some of the new (hopefuly temporary and soon to be expanded) guidelines and limitations. We are an all volunteer club and have limited capacity to update our web site - as a result, things may be a bit more cumbersome and challenging. Please continue to be patient and reach out for help if something is unclear or not working the way you expect. Our top priority is your health and safety and so we are implementing guidelines based on our scanning of what others are doing out there and what the governor and his public health team are advising. Once we have some experiece under our belt and hear your feedback; presuming the lifting of the Pause continues along the phases, we will likely phase in larger rides etc. In the mean time, we will do our best to meet the demand our members have to ride on fun, safe, enjoyable rides.

Please keep your eye on the web site for updates. If you haven't ordered your FREE mask yet, please do so here. And also, if you'd like to get our Neck Gaiter product off the ground, order some from our store here

Hope to see you on a ride soon

Maureen and Mark 

Virtual Programming is available for you

It is very clear that this pandemic is, unfortunately, not a "short" thing. This too will pass, but we have no clue when.

As we have written elsewhere about the 5BBC - we are a community.

Being New York's friendliest bike club, while we can't ride the way we typically do, we will commune in ways that respect social distancing guidelines but let us come together and enjoy each other's friendship, company, bike savvy and other things we discover we might like to do together - like dancing! 

Here are a list of events that were run during the pandemic. Since we are off hiatus, virtual programming is suspended - hopefully forever, but will come back if we need to PAUSE again.

Stay healthy. Stay strong and please, stay connected.

If you have any ideas for other virtual events - perhaps a skill or talent you'd like to share with members of the club - please e-mail communications@5bbc.org

Here are links to our 5BBC Youtube Channel where you can see what you missed:

April 8 - Bike Mechanics: Drive Train and Brakes by Chris De Meo

April 15 - Bike Mechanics: Cleaning Your Bike by Chris De Meo

April 17 - Movie Night: Ed Sobin's Ride Across America Part 1 - Brooklyn to Colorado

April 22 - Bike Mechanics: Fixing a Flat by Stephen Bauman

April 24 - Movie Night: Ed Sobin's Ride Across America Part 2 - Colorado to Berkeley

April 27 - Stretching for Cyclists featuring Jacqueline Gikow

April 29 - Bike Mechanics: Fixing Brakes BIGTIME (replacing pads and cables)

May 1 - Movie Night: Ed Sobin's Ride Across America Part 3 (Finale) - Berkeley to Utah

May 2 - The Beatles Singalong with Maggie Clarke

May 3 - Movie Night: David Schlichting Remembered - on the day we were supposed to ride the tour he helped create, supported for many years, and loved.

May 7 - Bike Mechanics: Fixing Gears BIG TIME (replacing cables)

May 8 - Movie Night: Leslie Tierstein's Bicycling in Italy

May 13 - Bike Mechanics: Ride With GPS 

May 15 - Movie Night: IOWA RAGBRAI and North Carolina Mountains to Coast by Jacqueline Gikow

May 22 - Movie Night: South American Cycling Vacation by Monica Goel and Donal Burke

May 27 - Bike Mechanics: - First Aid when cycling in Groups by Jim Zisfein

June 17 - Bike Mechanics: Bar Tape / Gear Cable Replacement and Dry Chain Clean and Lube by Chris De Meo

 

Group cycling in a coronavirus epidemic

 

Covid-19 is a worldwide pandemic respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus. Typical symptoms include fever and cough.

Covid-19 is highly prevalent in the New York City area and we all should be practicing contagion avoidance measures. Wash your hands regularly (especially before eating) with soap and water or sanitizer. Avoid touching your face unless your hands have just been washed. When you are around other people, stay 6 feet away, and cover your nose and mouth. You can fashion a mask out of a scarf or bandana and save surgical masks for health care workers. If you have a fever or cough, don't go out at all unless it is to seek medical attention.

What about group bicycling? Unless you suffer a direct hit from a snot rocket or are pacelining, you are not at high risk of infection; you’re just too far away from others. The risk is higher, however, with a group at the ride start, rest stops, and lunch venues where you should practice the infection control measures listed above.

In an abundance of caution, your club has canceled all group bicycling activities indefinitely. The club leadership is closely monitoring disease prevalence and will re-open the schedule when it is safe to do so. Upcoming weekend trips are being canceled or postponed. Registered riders for canceled weekend trips have received refunds.

 

 

Volunteerism and the 5BBC - A natural fit!

Volunteers are the lifeblood of 

  • our club, 
  • most of the bike clubs in our area and around the country, 
  • and in fact - even the mass rides that support the advocacy and education organizations who are our strategic partners.

 

To deliver the value we do, we need and are grateful for volunteers.

 

First and foremost, the LEADERS who lead rides in this club are the lifeblood of the club. 

Our #1 objective  in 2019 was, and again in 2020 is, to have a robust portfolio of rides available throughout the year. This only happens with engaged, creative, friendly - leaders. We had a leadership class last year and a pilot program that delivered close to 20 new leaders who are actively leading. We are working on a re-vamp of our AWARDS program to recognize our leaders and motivate and recognize for each set of rides. Watch for more on this after our first council meeting next week. Also, if you want to be a leader, we will be running another traditional class in spring/summer of 2020, reach out to Ed Sobin and/or Chris De Meo for details and to be added to the list of candidates for the class. 

 

Second - the MEMBERS in this club are also the lifeblood of this club. Without members to ride, leaders ride alone and that’s no fun. 

 

Our #2 objective in 2019 was, and again in 2020 is, to grow our membership and deliver more value back to them in terms of rides, and events like socials, classes and other events that give back in ways that let us build on the “social cycling” we do in this club. If you have ideas for things the club could be doing to attract new members and do more for our existing members - please e-mail your ideas to membership@5bbc.org 

 

Finally - the BOARD and COUNCIL of this club manage it and "make things happen”.

 

Our #3 objective in 2019 was, and again in 2020 is, to create greater depth at each position on the board (we now have two people covering each role, so no one person has to shoulder all the work) and to develop more of our LEADERS and MEMBERS to be candidates to serve on the council and board in the future. To that end, if any of you reading this want to get more involved - please reach out - you are WELCOME! As long as you bring a positive, friendly, can do attitude - we need you! Please e-mail president@5bbc.org if you'd like to get involved.

 

One of the things we did in 2019, that we plan to continue forward, is move most of the work OUT of the board and council and into “ad hoc” committees that meet with a focus on getting things done. The pilot program was developed this way. The holiday party was run this way. The mechanics classes and socials were run this way. If you have an idea, put a team together, bring it to the board for approval and any budget you may need, and then be empowered to go off and make it happen. We plan to continue and expand on that in 2020.

 

We are looking for Volunteer Coordinator to join the 5BBC council -  Toby Weiner has stepped up to be interim Volunteer Coordinator for the club. Please join me in thankinging her.

 

We need help organizing club socials, classes, events and promoting the club at our partner rides and events as well. So, Toby’s job is to get to know who out there is willing to help for what and engage you to make that happen. We are looking for one or two people to take on the role from Toby. It's a great way to get to know people in the club and help give back.

 

That’s all for now folks - but we will have more to say about Volunteerism in a future article - watch this space as the council will be discussing a really creative way to recognize those members who step up and make more happen in the club and for the cycling community of which we are apart. New York's Friendliest bike club is full of volunteers!

 

Thanks for your support,

Allan

Winter is Coming

Winter is Coming

In Game of Thrones, the phrase “Winter is Coming” was meant to instill fear. So too, many cyclists also fear the winter. As the temperatures drop, the bike gets hung on the wall, not toemerge until Spring Training. But, it does not have to be like that. You CAN ride in the Winter. You CAN have fun riding in the winter. Here is some advice.

WHY RIDE: Personally, I love the chill of cold temperature on my face and the battle against the elements. The look of others as you peddle by on a cold Winter day. I like the fact that the group rides are smaller and tend to be more cohesive. We are a club that often has great food along a ride. On a Winter ride, what can be better than chicken soup at Mill Basin, hot borscht at Glechick, or a steaming bowl of pozole at Tlaxcala.

The other benefit of Winter riding is that every mile you ride in the Winter – is a mile that you do not suffer in the Spring. When “cycling season” starts again, you are already ahead of the pack. You struggle much less on those early season hills.

BIKES – I admit that my road bike does not see much daylight during the Winter months. I take my hybrid. The wider tires seem to handle the cold conditions better. I have a trunk bag that serves to handle the extra clothing that I carry in the Winter months. And I always take lights along because night drops like a hammer.

Another thing about bikes in the Winter is that after the snows, the salt spreader trucks come by. Salt is not great for a bike's drive train. For that reason, I tend to clean and lube the chain with greater frequency. And when it comes to lube, chose a wet lube for the usual winter road conditions.

WHAT TO WEAR – Three words come to mind – layers, layers and layers. Forget about the bulky parka, it's really not going to keep your temperature regulated. During the colder days, I will wear a base layer above and below. This will be something like silk or a technical fiber. Over these layers I will have a heavy jersey, a polar fleece and a wind blocking jacket. I normally just wear good sweat pants, and if it's too cold, I'll add another layer of long johns.

For me the most importing things to worry about are your feet, hands and ears. I give up on clipping in and wear a pair of light weight socks, thermal socks and insulated hiking boots. I won't win any races, but my feet stay warm. Other people use booties over their cycling shoes. I have three different pairs of gloves – regular long finger gloves, mid weight gloves and winter cycling gloves. On the coldest days I'll add a liner layer under my heaviest gloves. Many cyclists swear by those packs of chemical hand warmers. For my ears, normally a hat with flaps works. Coldest days add a balaclava. For my neck, my favorite piece of winter gear is a neck gaiter. It's a real multi tasker.

GET A THERMOS - It's 23 degrees outside. You are all layered up. But the cold still seeps in. For these reasons I normally take a thermos along on Winter rides. A hot beverage warms your insides up. In my thermos I have a variety of beverages – hot coffee, hot apple cider, hot herbal tea. I normally do not add alcohol – but there are those occasions when I do. A word of advice – do not cheap out on a thermos.

WHEN NOT TO RIDE – Everyone has a different line that they draw. For some people it is 40 degrees. Others have a line a 30. For some it is the brisk wind. My rule is simple – as long as there is no snow or ice on the roads, and it seems safe, I will go. But that's me and you are you.

There are many joys of riding in the winter. Smaller groups with a feeling of strong camaraderie. Fighting the elements, and winning. Steaming hot soup during the lunch stop. I also love the looks of others when you say - “Yeah, I rode yesterday.” The bottom line is that the Winter rides are fun. I can mope around the house, or I can go for a ride and smile.

Before I close this article, I just want to give a shout out to the 5BBC Dean of Winter Riding – Ed DeFreitas. One of the reasons that I joined the 5BBC was my desire to ride in the Winter – when none of my friends would ride with me. Ed showed me the joys of riding in the winter season.

See you on the road

David MEL Meltzer

Day Rides Coordinator

 

 

Why I love the 5BBC !

One of our unique attributes as a club is the Point Drop Sweep (PDS) System that we use on most of our rides.

 

There are other philosophies in cycling that focus on speed, getting to a particular destination as quickly as possible perhaps stopping at key points along the way to have a quick look, and riding together in a very disciplined way (training required) or in the racer's “peloton” as close as humanly possible. We have rides that can be like that too - Quick Spin and Quick Spin Lite.

 

But our other rides types: Happy Face, Moderate and Advanced Moderate, typically leverage PDS in order to let people ride at whatever pace they are comfortable and still keeping the group together. 

 

We generally have two leaders on most of our rides. 

 

One is the “point” of the ride. Like the point of a pencil, they are always at the front. Don’t pass them (except if they need a little more time up a hill and you have momentum, go ahead, but then wait for them so as not to miss a turn).

 

The second leader is the “sweep” of the ride. They won’t let you fall behind them and they make sure to help with any mechanicals and keep track of anyone who decides to leave the ride early. The focus is on making sure no one is left behind.

 

What about turns? That is where the most important role of all comes in. And it’s really simple to do this role, but critical to pay attention to its few details. Whenever a Point makes a turn, or wherever a turn may be missed by a rider, a “drop” is left. Any rider may be asked to play this role. A place to stand will be suggested by the leader. The Drop will stand in that place, in their most animated way pointing in the direction of the turn. Yes, if you are picked to be a drop, you get to audition for the broadway role / Tony award of “best turn signal ever”. You do this until the sweep, AND ONLY THE SWEEP, releases you from your duty with a clear indication that you can leave the drop position.

 

Easy Peasy right? Only three steps

Stand in the position indicated by the leader

Point in the direction of the turn

Continue riding only after the sweep releases you (not someone who looks like the sweep or wears the same club jersey ;) the actual sweep! Make sure to get to know who that is.

 

There is room for error here. It has happened that a rider said "Thank You” to a novice drop and they left their position assuming that was the sweep releasing them. Perhaps they forgot who the sweep was? The 4 riders behind got 5 extra miles that day. Luckily there was a police yellow line blocking traffic and then the rest of the group was not in site. A call to the point made evident what had happened and with a 20-30 minute delay for all, the situation was rectified. Not pleasant, but not the end of the world either.

 

Dropping is easy and is a nice way to contribute to a ride. If you are not inclined to drop, let the leader know and stay a bit back but don’t ignore a request to drop. Leaders should always confirm visually that a drop has taken up the request and is in place before moving on - but if they don’t see clearly that you don’t want to drop - it can lead to issues - so tell them up front and stay a bit back of the point so someone else is between you and them and can be the drop without slowing down the ride.

 

This also happened on a weekend trip. Someone was nervous as their phone had died and saw the front of the ride going out of site so they left the post. We recovered. one person got to see 2-3 extra miles of a new city - it was not the end of the world, but you can imagine they were not happy. And the sweep knew they passed a turn and called to verify and then corrected as well.

 

It is rarely the end of the world - but for those adversely affected - it is never fun. So please please please, take this seriously.

 

When I became a leader, we had an instructor who likened the PDS to an accordion. I like to think of it that way. Faster riders will tend to be towards the front, slower ones toward the back and the club stays together and gets where it is going while everyone enjoys the ride at their pace. Faster riders come to make a fun game of this. It's also informative: they are able to let the point know how far back the tail or sweep of the ride is.... helpful if there are issues on a ride. And good leaders always have compression stops - if the accordion stretches TOO long, let's get the group back together. Also - if someone is not up for the ride level - members can help leaders by diplomatically and friendly suggesting perhaps a train home or solo riding if they might get left behind. We never leave anyone behind - but if you slow down the ride with too many comperssions stops, it can turn a Moderate into a Happy Face and people who wanted to ride, can be miffed. But I digress or perhaps spend a bit too much time on the accordion analogy.

 

To quote another of our illustrious leaders: "The most important thing" to take away from this article: Drops should never leave; and leader’s should never fail to leave drops! Even our best leaders can make a mistake - turning in to Hudson Park and not leaving a second drop at the island. Remember the Yogi Berra adage - “when you come to a fork in the road, take it". PLEASE - Not on a 5BBC ride. Unless it is very obvious which way the “continue straight” would be….” and even then, better not to let it happen and leverage drops to pre-empt such circumstance. 

 

To quote one of our most boisterous members (who hopefully will some day become a leader) "I like to think of it like a pin dropping into place". The leader needs to pick a place where you can drop  visibly but also safely and comfortably. Negotiate with them if you don’t like the spot and once they go, try to understand why they placed you where they did - but if a shady option in sunshine and heat, or further out of the way of traffic suits you - as long as you are visible - plant yourself where you think best. Use good judgement for the cause - which is making sure everyone makes the right turn; or the left turn if that’s the case; just not the WRONG turn ;)

 

Keep this in mind: be a bit ahead of the turn - with a bit of warning before making the turn. Or after the turn if it’s clear far enough in advance where to be after the turn.

 

Finally: the concept of "self made drop". Another advantage of Point Drop Sweep is that if you want to take a picture, or really "need to go" (to the bathroom, or leave the ride for that matter). Simply wait for the SWEEP and ask them to wait for you or let them know you need to leave. It works. Try it.

 

That's all folks. By now you understand Point-Drop-Sweep or PDS in great detail and are ready to rock and roll with the 5BBC, New York's friendliest club who never leave anyone behind. We don't have DROP rides rather Point-DROP-Sweep rides. When it works :)

 

 

Announcing a 5BBC Pilot Program for Leadership Training

Have you ever wanted to lead 5BBC rides, but were unable to take or complete the 5BBC Leadership Training Course?

We have an alternative just for you.

The 5BBC Board will continue to offer our well-loved traditional Leadership Training Course in 2020. However, we also recognize that for various reasons the traditional course does not work for everyone. Therefore, we are implementing a pilot program as an alternative path to become a 5BBC ride leader. 

The pilot program will be available to a limited number of active 5BBC members on a selection basis. If you are interested in the pilot program please submit an expression of interest via email to daytrips@5bbc.org by no later than September 30, 2019. In order to participate in the pilot program, you must first be approved and then you must agree to the programs requirements, which are summarized below. 

1. Anyone joining the pilot program must commit to listing at minimum 5 ride between now and September 30th, 2020.

2. All those admitted to the pilot program must attend a one day leadership seminar tentatively scheduled for Sunday, October 6.   Those participating will be expected to read and review the 5BBC leadership manual prior to the date of the seminar. The seminar will include both classroom-like discussions as well as practical on-the-road activity where participants will get to do things leaders do on rides.

3. Once the leadership seminar is completed, those who graduate will be designated provisional leaders through the end of 2020 and will be able to list and lead rides, provided that they do so with an existing 5BBC leader.

4. Additional components and requirements of the pilot will be discussed at the seminar. 

That’s it.

This is your opportunity to step up.

The Club always needs leaders with their own fresh perspectives and we always needs leaders to list rides.

We look forward to your joining us!!!!!!

 

A Handbook For Safe Cycling

This article is intended for new members to show them how to ride with the Five Borough Bicycle Club. However, we hope that all riders can benefit from what is discussed below. If you follow the principals and procedures in this guide – you will have a great riding experience every time you are on the bike.

I. Your Bicycle

There are many types of bicycles that the 5BBC allows on rides. While most of our members chose to ride road bikes, many rides are also suitable for hybrids as well. Members of the 5BBC have also used folding bikes, fixed gear bikes, and tandem bikes. Of course, not all bikes are suitable for every ride the club does, and if you are in doubt – contact the Leader.

Whatever bicycle you chose to ride, having a bicycle in good repair is essential. Some of the things your bicycle needs are as follows:

  1. Bell – mandated under NYC Law
  2. Lights – White in Front and Red in Rear – mandated under NYC Law
  3. Properly cleaned and lubed chain.
  4. Properly inflated tires.
  5. Working gears/shifters.

 

II. Personal Safety

  1. Helmets are required. The Insurance that is maintained by the Five Borough Bicycle Club mandates that ALL riders must wear a helmet. It is true that helmets do not prevent every injury – but they are essential to minimize any head trauma. If you are not wearing a helmet – you cannot ride with the club. There are no exceptions to this rule.
  2. Hydration and Snacks. Even on the coldest day of the winter, you sweat on a bike. It is essential to have either one or two water cages or a hydration pack. On hot days, it is advised to fill these containers every chance that you get. Most 5BBC rides have a great lunch stop, but if you are someone who tends to get hungry during a ride – make sure to bring items to eat. Rides have liked gels, goos, dates, and good old PB & J. Proper hydration and proper calorie intake will prevent the dreaded BONK.
  3. Medication and Sun Screen. If you suffer from any allergies, ailments or conditions, please take the appropriate medication along. Sun Screen is always a good idea as well.
  4. Physical Fitness. Not all rides are the same. Some are longer and some are shorter. Some are flat and some are hilly. Some are taken at a relaxed Happy Face Pace and some are Moderate, Advanced Moderate or Quick Spin. It is essential to know your limits and your own comfort level. Again, if you are in doubt about a specific ride, the best thing to do would be to contact the Leader

 

III.  Before the Ride – What to Do.

As with most things, prior preparation is essential for a good riding experience. What you do before a ride can be as important as what you do during the ride.

  1. Register for the Ride. Registering for the ride lets the leader know how many people are intending to appear, and enables the leader to plan for things like lunch. It also shows your level of commitment for the ride.
  2. Equipment Check. Make sure that your bike is road worthy. If it is a night ride are your lights fully charged or do you have extra batteries.
  3. Lay Out. Many riders find it beneficial to lay out what they intend to wear and what they intend to take with them the night before. This way, there are no last minute frantic rushes around the house for last minute items.
  4. What to Take. Here are some suggestions of what to pack in your bag. Lock, Spare Tube, Patch Kit, Tire Levers, Hand Pump. Hand Sanitizer, First Aide Kit, Snacks, Change of shirt or socks, appropriate tool to remove wheels if you do not have a quick release.

 

 

IV. Ride Day

  1. Show up on Time. We know that the subways don't always work, especially on weekends. We know that sometimes you get a flat. And we usually give a small grace period. BUT, please do your best to arrive on time so as not to hold up the group.
  2. Be Attentive. The Ride Leaders will be imparting important information prior to the ride. If you are not paying attention, you may miss an essential element. Also, if you are not paying attention, you will likely be distracting others. There will be plenty of time for socializing later.
  3. Situational Awareness. We ride in the environment, and if you are not paying attention, accidents can occur. Please observe the road conditions for holes, glass, ice, wet leaves, barricades and the like. Call out the hazards for those riders traveling behind you. If you are passing a rider, pass on the left and call out your pass. And of course, watch for motorists both on the roadway and parked.
  4. Riding Skills. We follow the rules of the road. We stop at red lights. We yield to pedestrians. We use the appropriate hand signals for left, right and stop. We are courteous riders. Unless we are on a designated bike trail or a park, it is best to ride single file. Intersections are not the place to bunch up as we share the road with motor vehicles.
  5. Learn To Read Cue Sheets. Most 5BBC rides are Cue Sheet Rides. Knowing how to read a cue sheet will enhance the quality of your ride. You will know which street we are taking. How long we are on the street. Where is the next turn. And... most importantly – when is lunch. Learning to read a cue sheet may keep you from getting lost.
  6. Point Drop Sweep. Most 5BBC Rides are Point, Drop and Sweep Rides. The point is always at the front of the ride. Points job is to lead the way. The sweep is always at the back of the ride and is often responsible for safety and mechanical issues. Along the way, the Point will DROP riders and instruct them to point out turns or hazards to the riders who follow. The position of DROP is most important as it impacts every one of the other riders. If you are a drop, please be attentive and alert for our riders. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR POSITION UNTIL THE SWEEP RELEASES YOU. Remember, there may be a mechanical or other issue that is taking time behind you. If you are in doubt, call the sweep.
  7. Accidents. While we try to be as safe as possible, accidents do occur on a ride. If you are involved in an accident try and keep calm. Assess the damage to your person and to your bike. Seek the aid of other riders and wait for the sweep to arrive. If you have a cell phone, take photos. Do your best to document the scene and the people at the scene. Above all, if you are injured, seek treatment.
  8. Courtesy and Thanks. Remember that we are all members of the same club and we are all out for a good ride. If you see a newer rider, introduce yourself. Please refrain from any activity that would take away from anyones enjoyment of the ride. And of course, after the ride, make sure to thank the leaders.

 

V. Conclusion. 

For as long as the 5BBC has been around, our motto has been “NYC's Friendliest Bike Club". We aim to demonstrate that on every ride that we do. By adhering to the above guidelines, we hope that your ride will be both FUN and SAFE. Let's Ride !

 

Must the City Destroy the East River Greenway in Order to Save It?

Must the City Destroy the East River Greenway in Order to Save It?

Would you be incensed if your city government planned to demolish the largest park in your neighborhood, cut down nearly 1,000 trees, bury the park’s amenities including multiple athletic facilities and the city’s most prominent greenway, and then take “at least” three and one-half years to replace what was destroyed? Mature shade trees to be replaced by saplings? No park or greenway access during this time? Spending $1.45 billion on the project?

At the very least, you would demand a good reason for this act of extreme municipal vandalism. Even if there was a good reason, you would want to know whether every other, less destructive option was considered.

This is not fake news. It is New York City’s plan for East River Park, the much-loved and much-used 57-acre expanse of parkland by the East River in Lower Manhattan. The park is to be buried under eight feet of landfill and then rebuilt on top of it. More than a mile of Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, an important transportation and recreation corridor for cyclists, pedestrians, kids and families, will be blocked for the duration. If the City Council gives its blessing, destruction of East River Park will start in March 2020.

And the reason? We learned from Superstorm Sandy in 2012 that much of the Lower East Side is at risk of flooding due to the effects of climate change. Water levels are rising and storms are becoming more severe. The raised park should help protect the neighborhood. But do we really need to destroy the park to achieve this goal? Would an eight-foot berm along the park’s western edge work just as well to prevent flooding while preserving the park? That was the original plan, scrapped (according to the commissioner of the city’s Department of Design and Construction) in order to avoid having to intermittently shut down one lane of the FDR Drive.

The New York City Council is expected to vote on this proposal next month. If you think the vote should be “no,” at least until all alternatives are considered, you need to write your Council member. Now. Below is a model letter which you can personalize and send. Postal mail has more impact than email but any contact is better than nothing. You can find your council member’s name and contact information here.

 

Personalize and send this letter to your City Council representative:

[name and address of council member]

I ask you, my representative on the New York City Council, to vote “NO” when the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project comes up for approval in its current form. With the laudable goal of protecting the Lower East Side from the effects of climate change, this project destroys a major park and prevents its use for “at least” three and a half years while the park is being rebuilt. Less disruptive alternatives may equally protect this neighborhood. We need to hear about these alternatives.

New York City’s Lower East Side was severely damaged in 2012 by Superstorm Sandy. The risk of flooding will increase as sea levels continue to rise and storms become more intense. A barrier must be placed between this neighborhood and the East River. Options exist, however, for barrier location and design.

Unfortunately, the only option being presented by the city’s Department of Parks & Recreation involves complete destruction of the existing 57-acre East River Park while it is covered by eight feet of landfill. The park would then have to be re-created on top of the landfill. Paths, river walks, athletic fields, and nearly 1,000 mature trees would be lost. The park would be unusable for “at least” three and a half years from the start of construction in March, 2020.

Needless to say, this project would be extremely disruptive to users of the park. More than one mile of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, an important transportation and recreation corridor for walkers and cyclists, would be closed during this entire period.  Commuting cyclists would presumably be directed to cross the FDR Drive and routed onto city streets.

Other options, less disruptive than complete park destruction, might include raised embankment on the park’s western edge, as originally planned. (Reportedly one reason this original plan was scrapped is because it would involve shutting down a lane of the FDR Drive at night.)  Or, if the park has to be destroyed, at least it could be done in stages so that use of the park can continue during construction. The greenway and other amenities could be moved, several times if necessary, so they can be kept open.

A project this big, expensive ($1.45 billion!), and disruptive should not be permitted to go ahead until all reasonable alternatives are presented and considered. I ask you to withhold your approval until you are convinced that you are approving the best project to protect the Lower East Side with the least possible disruption.

[your name, address, and signature]

 

Why I LOVE the 5BBC !

As we start 2020, I thought I would just make a small tweak to my message from 2019.

Our objectives for the club remain unchanged.

Priority 1 - bring you more rides, rides, rides, We have almost 20 new leaders posting rides over the past 18 months and the results are showing and we expect them to continue to grow. If you'd like to become a leader, we will be running our traditional class in the spring - reach out to leadership@5bbc.org.

Priority 2 - Membership. Do more for our members and grow our membership. If you'd like to get involved in helping us promote the club, please reach out to membership@5bbc.org or communications@5bbc.org

And finally, Priority 3 - management team. The club almost runs itself, thanks to a bevy of leaders listing and leading rides. But for the extras - socials, web site, weekly, facebook, representation at events like Mass Bike Rides, Expos, Summer Streets, Jumbles etc - it takes a village of volunteers and committed board/council members. And we need more of you to make sure we have depth at each position for years to come. Please reach out to me if you are interested in helping in any way. 

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming:

There are many things I love about the 5BBC and it would be impossible to capture them all in one article. I have hesitated to post the traditional state of the club article because I wanted to try and capture the essence of the feelings many of us have for this club. And frankly, I’ve also been busy helping manage the club ;)

Instead, I have decided to do that in a series of articles I call “Why I love the 5BBC!” and encourage any of you who resonate with my feelings to post your own article as well on any topic you want to share with others in the club. It will be welcome!

The state of the club is – in a nutshell – fine. It can, and will, only get better. That is the board's commitment to you.

For those of us who continue to be happy riding the rides we have been riding, we are mostly satisfied. Overall, YOUR feedback (member survey) is positive. We deliver good value for the $25 membership fee and are working hard to deliver even more value and take us to a higher level. There are areas where you tell us we need to improve and you will see them addressed when I talk about our priorities below.

I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to serve as President of this great club.

5BBC means a lot to me and I know it means a lot to you too.

Some feel “it’s just a bike club”.  

For many of us, though, it’s a whole lot more. 

It is also a warm, fun, creative and friendly community of social cyclists with some of the most interesting and stimulating rides, leaders and members. 

New York’s Friendliest – remember that!

You can be a member of this club, this-or-that other club, this-or-that advocacy group or this mass-ride non-profit or business. Whatever the case or the cause - we encourage friendly interworking within the NYC cycling community – the “bike family” as I recently heard it called. This can be one of several cycling homes you have – it’s all good. I am proudly a member of 3 local clubs and at times, in several other clubs in cities I visit and enjoy the benefits of riding there.

Some of us go to church on Sundays or synagogue on Saturdays, or wherever we find our personal/spiritual community. Many of us, ride with this club on one or both weekend days because it is also a temple, of sorts. It’s where we chose to commune and share the joy of riding our bikes with each other. We enjoy spending time with our friends and making new friendships along the way. This is my #1 Reason for loving the 5BBC.

I have made hundreds of friends (per facebook – isn’t that the purveyor of ultimate truth? ;) since joining this club and never have a problem finding friends to ride with, or socialize with, in and out of the club. I feel very grateful for that and it’s why I am inspired to give to the club as much as I do. I encourage you to consider volunteering for the club with your friends as a great way to spend time together and give back to others. You may find it very rewarding - in many more ways than you might conceive before trying it.

This club is YOUR club.

The 5BBC belongs to each member equally.

Each and every member is important to me and to each board member.

Don’t hesitate to reach out with your feedback and suggestions on ways to make the club better to any of us. And if you want to help make it happen – please volunteer. Any idea that is easy to implement – this board has essentially embraced when consistent with our core values well-documented on our web site. But many ideas need people to help make them happen and we are open to more of you joining us to help make things happen in the club.

Please always feel comfortable approaching me as your friend with any topic you wish to discuss. The only stupid question – is the one I am not asked! Seriously.

Hope to see you on a ride soon,

Allan

PS - this picture is how I spent part of my 2019 birthday - on our Staten Island Perimeter ride surrounded at a great lunch with friends. Thank you 5BBC and thank you each person who made that day very special for me by coming on this ride!

 

Pages