Sunday, June 17, 2012

Biking Adventures: Tour de Brooklyn 2012

June 3rd was the 8th annual Transportation Alternatives' Tour de Brooklyn. And of course I was there! This was my second time doing the Tour de Brooklyn. My first time was in 2010, but I missed it last year because I was marshaling a run in Central Park. This year's course was completely different. I love that TA always takes us to parts of the boroughs I wouldn't ordinarily bike in and that I'm not familiar with. (Thanks, TA!)

Here's how my day went...

First of all, all the photos below are taken using my waterproof camera -- which doesn't have as wide a lens and I'm not very good at taking self shots with -- because I killed my Canon the day before at the beach (no camera ever lasts more than 6 months with me). Also, I was running so late that morning, I didn't get an outfit photo prior to leaving the apartment. But of course you'll see it in the photos. I went with a black & red theme, since I want to show off my red streak while I still have it (it will fade out quickly.

This is what I wore:
  • Black Bustier from Forever 21, $23
  • Skirt from American Apparel, $74
  • Red Ribbon (free from some other outfit years ago)
  • Black Fishnets <$10 
  • Red Slingbacks from Zappos, about $50 
  • Black hairnet, $2
  • Black bandana, $1
I woke up late so I got ready quickly, with no time for breakfast, and then rode from my apartment to the starting line on Flushing at Navy. The tour departed at 10:00, I knew I was supposed to check in by 9:30 to get my rider sticker. I left around 9:20, very late - so I biked way harder and faster at times than I would normally ride. Oh, but of course I didn't let my tardiness prevent me from taking photos along the way -

racing to the start

black & red

Amanda & Robbie were already there and checked in. I arrived after they had closed off the registration area - but I wasn't the only one that was too late. And they allowed us in to get our stuff *phew!

Mike from TA & me
Me with Mike from Transportation Alternatives
I loved the rider decals and logo this year. I was only disappointed I couldn't get a shirt - they were out of smalls (Note: if anyone has a SMALL shirt I will buy it off you, even if you wore it. Please leave me a note in the comments on how I can get in touch with you!)

sweet rider decal!

I checked in and made my way back outside to wait for the start with Amanda and Robbie -

It's that guy with the corgi! Remember him from the Tour de Queens last year?
 I had no time for breakfast at home but I got lucky - Amanda brought me a vegan cinnamon bun!

Amanda brought me a vegan cinnamon bun!!
oh the things I'm going to do to you...
We waited a while for the ride to start. It was beautiful out - sunny and hot! Just the way I like it! There were thousands of riders, all waiting to begin...




Soon enough, it began! But it took a while before we could ride out, it was that congested at the start. Eventually we were rolling.

Not too far into the tour, we passed this gentleman - standing there, on Flatbush Ave -- inexplicably shirtless and barefoot and holding an orange. As I passed him he gave me a huge smile and said "No tattoos". As I rode past him I yelled back "Too late!"

"No tattoos" - he said to me
thanks for your unsolicited advice sir, may I give you some of my own? you should really wear shoes on the streets of New York City!
We passed this Dad/daughter tandem combo and I have to admit. I was pretty jealous of this little girl's dress.

I want that outfit
(her dress was even more amazing in the front - it had a picture of a kitten!!! I need that dress!)
 Oh hey! It's me & Amanda!

I would have captured us both with my other camera. Stupid waterproof camera!
 It was a sea of cyclists - as far as the eye could see!

cyclists as far as the eye could see!
I think we were on 4th Ave here

I had to pull over for this shot. I love these rides.

I love these machines too.
Around this time, we were stopped for a while. I looked to my right and the man in the center of the shot below photo told me he wanted to buy me a beer. I was very tempted but told him I only drink *after* my bike tours.

that guy offered to buy me a beer
Gracias, senor. I'd love a cerveza another time!
We were stopped here a very long time. I'm guessing they had to let some cars through up ahead. The Transportation Alternatives tours have some streets closed off to traffic but the streets that lead into them are not, for some reason. That means there are a lot of irate drivers. What happens is some NYPD officers and other volunteers do the worst job ever - standing in intersections and telling cars they cannot proceed, as the tour cycles past those intersections. You can imagine how difficult that must be - telling scores of impatient drivers, some who threaten bodily harm, curse at them, get out of their cars, even inch towards the volunteers and cyclists - that they must sit still for an undetermined amount of time. It's a job I'm thankful someone else does because it's not one I would want (thank you, volunteers!).

 Finally, we're back on the move!

Robbie and me
 In case you're wondering - I have no idea where we even were in Brooklyn, so I can't tell you! (Brooklyn is huge!)


I'd live there
I like this house a lot!

At some point we had to stop again (there was a lot of stopping on this tour!) and I noticed the guy in front of me had a Brooklyn Cruiser! I was so excited to see the male counterpart to my Isabella-

Brooklyn Cruiser!
What a beautiful bike!

Still waiting to move...

while here, we bumped into Christina (aka Cruiser Dolly)
Eventually we began moving again and at this point I am pretty sure we were in Bay Ridge because the Verrazano Bridge was directly above us. At this time, I also passed my favorite BrightRoom guy. I found out his name is Daniel -

my favorite brightroom guy, Daniel
Hi Daniel!
 As we passed the Verrazano, I stopped for a few photos with her -

how excited am I? ( answer = super excited!)

Oh hey there's corgi guy again!
aw I think I look cute here

the Verrazano
every time I look at this bridge, all I think is "Marathon. November 4th. Me. Up there!"

lady + bridge + bike

Panda & Robbie
Then we drove through an army base or something. On the way out, we saw this sign -

for realzies, people. calm the fuck down!
It's true!
And then we must have been around the half way point because we hit the rest stop area!

me & Mitch
Oh hey, it's Mitch!
My friend Ann was riding this tour too. And we hadn't seen her all day. That is, until we were at the rest stop where we bumped into her.

Adam & Ann - ready to roll!

On our way into that rest stop, a volunteer gave me a high-five (and I'm pretty sure she yelled "Bitch Cakes!") I wasn't sure who it was but I high fived her back because I'm not one to ever refuse a high-five. It wasn't until we were lined up to leave that I had a chance to meet her. Her name is Mallory (which I might be spelling wrong) and I only spoke with her briefly, but I'm pretty sure she told me she's been reading my blog for a few years and only moved to NYC a year ago and was hoping to see me on the tour. She sure did!

Mallory, a blog reader!
Lovely meeting you, thanks for the sweet high-five!
Since we were standing there a while, a lot of people were coming over to me to chat or ask for photos. And one of them was this guy... I forget his name (sorry, guy) but I had to get a photo with him because check out this incredible cycling jersey! How funny is that? I love it!

that's a cycling jersey. SERIOUSLY!
All dressed up... kinda
Speaking of cycling jerseys, I never thought I'd be a fan of them, but after receiving my first one from the Five Boro Bike Tour Team this year, I was an instant convert. They are so comfortable and convenient for cycling! (I own very few things with pockets, so the 3 pockets in the back are a huge plus!) I love cycling jerseys. If only they made a strapless one that didn't interfere with my tan shoulders...

still waiting to be released...

and still waiting!
While waiting, another young woman approached me. This is Justine, who told me she's a blog reader and that we had crossed paths once before in Brooklyn. She also told me she was doing the tour with her Dad! How cute is that?? I wonder if I could get my Dad and his trusty tricycle to do the next bike tour with me. Hmmmmm...

Justine, a blog reader
It's Justine!

Justine & her Dad - how cute!!

Robbie Adam and Ann

At some point we left the rest stop and began moving again. Yay!

While rolling along, I aimed behind my head for a shot but got a close up of my hairnet instead. It was accidental but I kind of liked it, and thought I'd include it since I'm often asked what prevents helmet hair. Truthfully, nothing does. Your hair will not look the same after you ride your bike whether you wear a helmet or not. However I have noticed that it's less messy if I wear a hairnet under the helmet. (or I wear a bandana. On this day I actually wore both)

hairnets rule!
Then we rode through a main strip of stores. I'm not sure where we were, but I photographed many of the store fronts since I liked them, or the buildings they were attached to.

Nice building!

Best fresh!

2 for 1 - do your grocery shopping AND get your psychic reading!

Early Bird

Bo Sing! (I like the colors)
ok enough sightseeing! Let's keep moving!

rollin, rollin, rollin

self portrait with Robbie & Ann behind me
I'm not sure how it happened, but somehow we ended up on Ocean Parkway! I was on this stretch of road just a few weeks ago, running in the other direction towards Coney Island for the Brooklyn Half Marathon!

Robbie dubbed this "the saddest tandem ever" haha
Oh hey! There's Ann & Adam!

What's up, kids?

Of course there are tissues in my bra. My allergies are a nightmare.

I know where we are!

Look at that! We're on the BQE!

It's feels pretty awesome to bike on a highway shut down to car traffic. You don't get to do this often!


I think my streak is already turning orange.

After getting off the BQE, we went in to Prospect Park, where we did about a half a loop. Don't worry - they managed to make sure we go up that dreaded Nellie's Hill! (Though, to my credit, it wasn't as tough for me as it usually is!)

For some reason, at the top of the hill before exiting the park, we had to wait again...

Amanda & Robbie wait
We exited the park and headed towards the beautiful Grand Army Plaza arch-

leaving Prospect Park

passing the fountain

Amanda & Robbie

holy bags of cans, batman!
the pedestrians get VERY restless waiting to cross-

Not long after that we were headed back to where the tour began. It was already over! We were hungry and ready for beer. And after the last waffle fries fiasco (and several other disappointments when I couldn't get them because they don't serve them at certain times), I made the executive decision to keep my post bike tour ritual of beer & fried food, but to celebrate at other places. We all agreed to go to Bark, on Bergen St in Brooklyn. They make an incredible vegan chickpea pup and the BEST onion rings I ever had in my life!

On the way from the tour to Bark, a few characters biked next to us for a little while. This guy wanted to know why everyone was asking to take my photo (that happens along the tours but especially when I'm stopped). I explained that a lot of people recognize me from other tours, some read my blog, others just like how I look, yada yada. I also told him I take photos while I ride and my readers enjoy the photos of NYC and the bike tours/recaps. I think he seemed surprised that I take the pics while riding. To prove it to him, I took one of us together. this is me with a gentleman who goes by the name of "JDs Nachos"

JD Nachos? I think was his name?
Hello, Mr Nachos (there must be a story behind that name!)
On our way to get food, we passed a block we had been on during the bike tour. And it gave me a chance to photograph a nice little piece of art that I wasn't able to capture the first time around -

Hello, kitty!
We made it to Bark and I'm not sure anyone was more excited to order than me. I was hungry and really looking forward to my post bike tour meal!

post bike tour refreshments
Showing off my rider sticker, while Amanda makes a funny face

There it is! My chickpea dog and golden onion rings. Note Amanda's hand (silly girl!)
After that awesome meal, we left and headed to our respective homes. I downloaded my heart rate monitor stats:

Bike Ride to Tour:
Total Time: 17 minutes
Minutes in Cardio Zone: 17 minutes
Percentage of Time in Cardio Zone: 100%
Average Heart Rate: 139
High Heart Rate: 168
Total Calories Burned: 127
Total Miles: 4

Bike Tour:
  • Total Time: 145 minutes (2 hours, 25 minutes)
  • Minutes in Cardio Zone: 44 minutes
  • Percentage of Time in Cardio Zone: 30%
  • Average Heart Rate: 112
  • High Heart Rate: 162
  • Total Calories Burned: 719
  • Total Miles: 20 

Biking after tour:
  • Total Time: 48 minutes
  • Minutes in Cardio Zone: 40 minutes
  • Percentage of Time in Cardio Zone: 83%
  • Average Heart Rate: 125
  • High Heart Rate: 149
  • Total Calories Burned: 304
  • Total Miles:

So that was it - another fun and memorable bike tour accomplished! See you at the next one - Tour de Queens, July 8th! (Register here, only $5 for members!)

(The entire Tour de Brooklyn set can be seen here)


  1. I so much enjoyed the photos and your recap. You look so happy in each photo! Sorry I missed this one. However I registered yesterday for Tour de Queens, and am excited about it! Will see you there!

  2. It looks like you had a great time and that the weather cooperated. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Sheryl, it's Mallory :) thanks for the shout out and pic, how exciting! I have a small shirt if you want it. It was free to me for volunteering and I'll give it to you fo free. Email me at mepadron84 at gmail . Com. I live in Bay Ridge, I can either mail it to you or meet up with you and give it to you :)

  4. As always, looks like an amazing time! :)

  5. I just love your bike tour recaps. I just bought a new bike and am in love with it! Now, I'm hoping to do a bike tour this year!

    1. Turn hope into reality - do a google search for bike tours in your area!!

  6. I really enjoy your blog! I live in the Seattle area, and we just don't dress as cool as you! Please tell me about your helmets. I want to know where you got it. I take it that's a cover, but I like the overall helmet you have. Let me know.

    1. I see you "found the answer" but I'll answer it in case anyone else is looking... the brand is Yakkay. It came with a tweed cover. This is an additional (more lightweight) cover I bought. That's the great thing about those helmets - the interchangable covers. They're tough to find in the US and a little pricy but google them to find them.

  7. Found the helmet answer. Thanks!

  8. That thoroughfare with the Italian bakery and all the Korean stores? That's Bay Parkway! We turned onto it at Cropsey (or Bath?) and took it north to Ave J, where we turned onto Ocean Parkway. (I lived in Bensonhurst once and drove to Brooklyn College via Ave J so I know that route well.)

    Thanks for documenting your rides. I was there but took no photos... so I can relive the experience through your recaps :D

    1. Thank you! I had no idea where we were :) Glad you got to relive the fun!

  9. Great recap! So fun! And you look fab!


  10. A great read, looks like fun.

  11. Did you do a recap of the Tour de Queens? I think I may have missed it...

    1. You didn't miss it. Im just very behind in my posting.