Central Texan pedals through the heart of NYC


Pedal by pedal, Claudia Verde pressed her way across the Queensboro Bridge into Queens, New York, all the while adding her enthusiastic, if somewhat breathless, support to the familiar tunes of “This Little Light of Mine” and “I Believe I Can Fly.”

“We were actually riding on into Queens singing,” Claudia laughs. “I don’t think I’ve ever tested my lungs like that on the bike before. Each borough along the route hosted a different type of live music—Reggae in the Bronx, rock in Brooklyn, and jazz in Queens—but the gospel group in Harlem was by far my favorite. Of course, when we were singing, we weren’t as good as the group, but it felt great.”

Along with close friends and fellow cyclists Janet Koran and Saundra Nichols, Claudia joined more than 32,000 biking enthusiasts in early May for the 35th annual TD Five Boro Bike Tour through New York City. The tour began amid Manhattan’s skyscrapers and wound through New York City’s five boroughs, along a traffic-free, rest stop-abundant route.

“I loved being able to see so much of the city from my bike,” explains Claudia, a Georgetown fitness specialist. “In Manhattan, we rode up the Avenue of the Americas and right past Radio City Music Hall. Then we had a scenic ride through Central Park, where spring had sprung and everything was green and gorgeous.”

In addition to Manhattan, the forty-mile tour loops through the Bronx, Brooklyn, Harlem, and Queens, passing many of New York City’s best-known landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty, and crossing five major bridges, including the Queensboro Bridge over the East River and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge onto Staten Island.

“Riding the streets of New York gives you a most unique vantage point for sightseeing,” Claudia says. “This isn’t a tour for speed but one to really slow down and enjoy. Even with all the cyclists, the roads never seemed crowded. I really think this is one of the best ways to see the city and a great experience to share with friends.”

Claudia first heard about the tour while customizing a fitness-oriented vacation to Napa for a client. “I love active travel, whether cycling, hiking, or walking tours,” she says. “I don’t think you should have to leave your fitness behind when you vacation. Instead, a slower pace of travel can help you savor your experiences and gain a richer memory.”

You can contact Claudia at claudiasverde@gmail.com.

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