Around 2,000 New Yorkers sped into Flushing Meadows-Corona Park with huge smiles and arms flailing in victory after they finished a 20-mile biking adventure around the city’s largest borough.
Those riders came from across the five boroughs to ride in the fourth annual Tour de Queens, a leisurely bike ride that took them through parts of Corona, Forest Hills, Glendale, Ridgewood, Maspeth, Sunnyside, Woodside and Jackson Heights.
For its bike riders, the tour was a quick yet unique way to get a glimpse of the borough’s cultural enclaves and discover neighborhoods they had never been to or seen.
“The ethnic diversity that we rode through yesterday [Sunday, July 10] – it was like riding throughout the whole world,” said Officer Ken Zorn, community affairs officer at the 106th precinct in Queens.
Some Queens natives used the 20-mile ride as a physical challenge to get back into shape.
“I wanted to ride and get my health back,” said Jack Durocher, 39, from Forest Hills. His first time in the tour was a bit difficult, but pushed through and crossed the finish line with the thousand other riders. For him, it’s a step toward recovery after being sick for a long time.
The Queens tour not only attracted first time riders. Veteran tour riders came from as far as Harlem and Brooklyn to enjoy the challenge of another borough bike ride.
Durocher’s friend and coworker, Eric Vann, 48, an avid bike rider, used the tour as another way to get out on his bike to enjoy nature and meet different people.
The Brooklyn resident said he has rode in all of the borough bike tours, but always enjoys the Queens tour because it’s never the same.
“With the Queens tour, it’s always a different route, so you never know what to expect,” he said.
Sharon Crevelle, 58 and Patricia Ealey, 64, finished the tour with ease and weren’t fatigued after the three-hour ride. The veteran riders traveled from Harlem to participate in this year’s tour and were happy they didn’t have to worry about cars on the bike route.
“It’s nice when you don’t have to worry about traffic. You can ride traffic free,” Ealey said.
Most riders said emphatically they are looking forward to next year’s tour.
Queens police officer Zorn said he would ride in the Queens tour again or look to participate in one of the other borough tours for the chance to venture into another New York City borough.
“To enjoy the scenery like that – you can’t go wrong,” he said.