How to Get a Place in New York City's Five Boro Bike Tour

How to Join in the Nation's Largest Cycling Event

Bike New York
Courtesy of Bike New York 

The TD Five Boro Bike Tour is the nation's biggest cycling event. With about 32,000 cyclists, it's about three quarters as big as the New York Marathon. The event is typically held the first Sunday in May. For 2019, the event is May 5. The ride goes through all five boroughs of Manhattan. Bikers get the thrill of riding in the New York City streets, which have been closed down to pedestrians and cars.

And, with the immense popularity of urban cycling, not to mention New York City's commitment to increasing the number of bike lanes in Brooklyn and other boroughs, this annual cycling event has become one of the hottest tickets in town.

Which raises the question: How can a person obtain a place in the New York Five Boro Bike Tour?

Participants Need a "Packet" not a Ticket, Obtained Months in Advance

A ticket to the TD Five Boro Bike Tour isn't actually a physical ticket. It's a packet including the rider identification kit (helmet cover, bib, and bike plate) and a Bike New York membership welcome kit including a t-shirt, lapel pin, and reflective sticker. Registration also gives access to a members-only beer garden at the Finish Festival, partner discounts, and early registration for the next year's tour and other members-only rides taking place in the future. Click here for a full list of Bike New York Member benefits. Registrants have the opportunity to purchase a race jersey. VIP riders receive a jersey, bag, and meals in addition to the other rider perks.

During the race you also get fully-stocked rest areas and a personal rider photo gallery. And the best part: a medal given to you at the finish line that you can wear proudly around New York City.

Registration Options

  • Standard: $110 for entry into the event in 2019
  • Standard + Membership: $150 for entry and membership to Bike New York, which means a priority line to pick up your packet at the Bike Expo, access to a beer garden at the Finish Festival, early registration for the following year's ride, member-only rides throughout the year, partner discounts, t-shirt, pin, and reflective sticker.
  • VIP: $350 in 2019 for the benefits above plus guaranteed placement in the first wave of the ride; breakfast and entertainment at the starting line; a VIP line to pick up your packet at the Bike Expo; access to an exclusive VIP lounge; and gourmet lunch at the Finish Festival. Plus you get an official jersey, waist bag, and a timed climb over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
  • Join with a Participating Charity and Ride to Raise Money: Over 60 non-profit organizations are working with the TD Five Boro Bike Tour. Cyclists who want to ride in the Tour may join up with one of these charities. In exchange for a commitment to raise a given sum of money, you can obtain a free registration packet. Check the websites of a few different charities to find out how each particular fundraising program works for this cycling event.

Additional Ways to Participate

  • Volunteering: More than 2,000 volunteers are needed for five to twelve hour periods during the event in various roles. Tasks include setting up, handing out snacks and water, fixing flat tires, and much more. Benefits of volunteering include breakfast and/or lunch, early registration for the following year's event, a t-shirt, and a discount on registration for other Bike New York events. Volunteer registration opens in February.
  • Bike Expo: A Bike Expo cycling event is held for the two days prior to the event (In 2019 the dates were May 3 and 4) at Basketball City on Pier 36 on Manhattan's Lower East Side. The Bike Expo is free and open to the public. It will feature vendors, exhibitors, live performances, and educational programs about cycling for youth and adults. (Event participants will pick up their packets at the Bike Expo, guaranteeing an automatic crowd of some 30,000 cyclists.)
  • Additional Bike New York Events: Choose between five routes (from 15 miles to 100 miles) in the Discover Hudson Valley Ride in June. Participate in the Twin Lights Ride in the back roads of Monmouth County, New Jersey. Local rides include themes like Picnic in the Park, Bike to the Beach, and Forts, Ferries, and Fotos.

Proceeds Help Bike Education Programs

Proceeds for the tour go to Bike New York's free education programs. In 2018, funds were raised to upgrade the fleets of bicycles at the twelve education centers throughout the five boroughs of New York.

For further information, visit the official website of the TD Five Boro Bike Tour.

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