On Sunday, I participated with a bunch of my Microsoft colleagues in the 23rd annual NYC MS Bike Tour. What a great experience! Our small team of about 31 riders joined over 5,200 others on a 30 mile loop around the edge of Manhattan island. The numbers are still coming in, but I'm proud to say it looks like Team Microsoft raised close to $10,000 dollars for Multiple Sclerosis. According to the official MS Bike Tour site, over $2.0 million dollars have been raised so far. The weather was great on Sunday, resulting in the largest turnout in the event's 23-year history!
The morning started out at the Microsoft parking garage where we all met up in the dark at 6:15am. It was quite chilly at 47 degrees, but thanks to the bright long sleeve shirts donated by Microsoft Gold Partner, the Henson Group, we were able to stay warm. After a breakfast of champions, the team headed down to the starting line at 52nd street & the West Side Highway where we came upon the 1000's of bikers waiting in line for the official start at 7:30am.
The last time I participated in a bike tour like this in NYC in 2002, a good deal of time was spent walking. This was because so many bikers were crowded together, that it was impossible to pedal at many times. But that was not the case on this ride! After walking only a couple of blocks, the pack opened up and the race was on! It was a solid pace down the west side, through the Battery Park tunnel, and then back up the east side on the FDR & Harlem River drives until we reached the rest area in Inwood Hill Park. How great it was to take in the sites of NYC at your own pace along a car free route!
After munching on some snacks, and drinking a lot of water, the team set out again for the final portion of the ride down the Henry Hudson Parkway and West Side highway. The views of New Jersey Palisade cliffs across the Hudson were spectacular. Smart thinking to set the route counter-clockwise around Manhattan. The ride down the Hudson is mostly downhill!
Upon arriving at the finish line, an emcee congratulated everyone crossing the finish line as party music played. Our team pedaled back to the Microsoft office in mid-town where a hearty pizza lunch was waiting for our team courtesy of GTT. Our team participated in the 30-mile ride. Believe it or not, there were other cyclists who continued on through the Lincoln Tunnel to complete 60 & 100 mile rides!
It was a fabulous day, fabulous event, and all for a great cause. I can't wait to do this again next year. Thanks to all of those who sponsored our team, including the Henson Group and GTT!
Here are some photos from the day taken by various folks on our team.
Here is a Live Maps collection that shows the route the bike tour took.