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Bicyclists take over the city in annual Five Boro Bike Tour

A participant a helmet adorned with a taxi

A participant a helmet adorned with a taxi cab as the Five Boro Bike Tour starts in Soho Sunday, May 3, 2015. Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

It was the Tour de Boros in the city Sunday as throngs of Spandex-clad bicyclists took over streets and bridges for the TD Five Boro Bike Tour.

There were 32,000 bicyclists -- enthusiasts and casual riders, alike, from around the world -- pedaling their way from lower Manhattan up to the Bronx, down to Queens and Brooklyn, before ending in Staten Island for the 38th annual bike trip around the city

Bicyclists raved about the stunning views on the Ed Koch Queensboro, Harlem River and Verrazano bridges.

"I never got to see the city the way I got to today," said Michael O'Brien, 55, visiting from Cleveland, Ohio, for the first time since 1995. O'Brien decided to try the 40-mile tour at the encouragement of a friend, who took the ride with him.

Next year, he wants to come back with his wife.

"She definitely could do it," O'Brien said.

Over the years, the Five Boro Bike Tour has seen a steady rise in interest, though the event caps participants at 32,000, according to Ken Podziba, president of the nonprofit tour organizers Bike New York.

"It's growing in popularity," said Podziba. "More and more people want to get in."

Once the cap is met, you can still get into the ride by raising a minimum of $750 for charity. There were 60 charities participating this year. Podziba said 1,500 rode for a cause this year, an increase over years past.

Susan Bedford and John Cahill, a married couple who live in Boston, taking a pit stop at Brooklyn Bridge Park, said they were drawn to the event after participating in a similar ride in their hometown.

"It's a very unique experience to ride the roads of Manhattan" without any traffic, said Cahill, 62.


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