City Living

The Inaugural Tour de Queens

Yesterday, I biked the first-ever Tour de Queens.

It was a hot, humid tour of the northwestern corner of New York's biggest borough. A victory lap for city cycling and, on a personal note, a ride down memory lane.

When I was riding through Queens as a kid in the 1980s, there weren't bike paths. My favorite destination was the Unisphere, a 12-story sphere leftover from the 1964 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The pathways were cracked pavement strewn with broken glass. And it always seemed empty.

Yesterday, more than 500 cyclists pedaled past some of the monuments of my childhood — we started at the giant globe and headed for the waterfront. We went under the Hell Gate Bridge, beneath the Triborough Bridge and over the 100-year-old Borden Avenue Bridge. And I discovered new spots, like the aptly named Rust Street in the industrial neighborhood of Maspeth.

The ride ended back at Unisphere. And for a moment, with sweaty riders of every ethnic background collapsed on the grass, it felt like the center of the world.

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Thanks for using our clip! It was indeed a HOT day. And fun.

Sent by Clarence | 12:11 PM | 6-9-2008

Awesome job on the tape, Clarence! How did you do the rolling interviews? On a tandem?

Sent by Dave Wiley | 2:31 PM | 6-9-2008

@Dave Wiley, Clarence Eckerson does great video work from a bike. You can see more of his work here: http://www.streetfilms.org/

Pretty inspirational stuff also at StreetFilms' sister site, Streetsblog.org (where, in the interest of full disclosure, I used to be a frequent contributor).

Sent by Sarah Goodyear | 2:41 PM | 6-9-2008

my son did the ride too-he has mild cerebral palsy...there were no good provisions for slower riders-at one point he lost the group except for one fantastic moniter (thanks ken) and there was no signage so he couldnt continue the route if there were no other riders to point the way-other than that he had a great time, but maybe these issues could be addressed in the second tour.

Sent by Donna Ballard | 4:51 PM | 6-9-2008