New perks for TD Five Boro Bike Tour riders
The 32,000 cyclists participating in the TD Five Boro Bike Tour will notice some changes from previous years, including more entertainment zones along the route on Sunday, May 4 and a beer garden at the Bike Expo at Basketball City, where riders pick up their registration packets on the Friday and Saturday before the ride.
For the first time, five food trucks are parked outside Basketball City on Pier 36 where cyclists can also enjoy local beers courtesy of the state's tourism campaign. On the bike route, riders will be able to listen to music at eight more entertainment stops—for a total of 22.
The new amenities are courtesy of added sponsorship dollars flowing into the non-profit organization that runs the 40-mile tour.
This has been a banner year financially for Bike New York, said Kenneth Podziba, chief executive of the organization. The tour gained five new sponsors for a total of 10. The newcomers are Chipotle, New York Apple Association—which is donating 12,000 apples— I Love NY/Taste NY, bike-rental firm Spinlister and personal injury law firm Flanzig & Flanzig. They join REI, Kind Bar, Del Monte Fresh Produce, Bloomberg LP—which re-upped for "a lot more," Mr. Podziba said—and title sponsor TD Bank.
"The new sponsorship money will allow us to educate more people [on how to ride bicycles safely] and we also hired two new community outreach coordinators," said Mr. Podziba. He declined to disclose how much each sponsor is contributing.
Even more changes are in the works.
Bike New York wants to move the tour registration to the fall from its traditional date at the start of the year, to attract more international participants and domestic travelers who have to fly into the city for the annual event and need more time to make travel plans. Currently, just 5% of the tour's participants come from abroad while two-thirds are from the Tri-State area.
"I think an event of this magnitude should attract more international riders," said Mr. Podziba. By contrast about half, or 25,000, of the much larger TCS New York City Marathon's runners come from abroad.
Registration dates could change as soon as this year for the 2015 ride.
"It's a goal of ours to do this," said Mr. Podziba, conceding that any increase in international riders would reduce the number of slots available to locals as the route cannot currently accommodate an increase in the number of riders.