It may seem premature to think about registering for a 42-mile bicycle ride through the five boroughs of New York City on May 2.
But if you don't register soon, you may miss out on participating in the nation's largest recreational cycling event -- the TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour. It's a car-free ride through the streets of Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. The only "hills" are the approaches to five bridges.
Registration opened Feb. 1. Within 48 hours, more than 10,000 people had signed up. The number of registrants now exceeds 20,000. The maximum number is 30,000. Last year's ride filled up two months in advance.
"A lot of people missed out last year because they waited too long to register," said Heather Borgeson, a spokeswoman for Bike New York, an organization that promotes and encourages bicycling and bicycle safety. "They don't seem to be waiting this year."
The tour is fully supported with bike repair; five rest areas with free water, bananas, energy bars and oranges; SAG (support and gear) buses and trucks, medical support and the services of 1,500 volunteers.
Online registration is $60 for adults, $25 for ages 14 and under. There is a $4.90 processing fee.
Hostelling International-New York, the largest hostel in North America, has a special $65 package for tour participants that includes dormitory accommodations with linens and bike storage, a pasta dinner the night before, a light breakfast on the day of the ride and a start area pass for the ride. For reservations, call 1-212-932-2300.
Marriott New York Downtown also has special room rates for cyclists of $249 per night, which includes lodging, a room-service breakfast early on Sunday and a "Breakfast on the Go " from its on-site Starbucks coffee shop. Secure bicycle storage is available for $20 per bike per day. For reservations, call toll-free at 1-800-242-8685 and mention Bike New York.
For more information, go to www.Bike NewYork.org or call 1-212-932-2453, ext. 111.