A Bayside bicyclist toured the city on wheels for the first time, thanks to help from a local club.
Jason Yi, 26, hit the brakes on plans to pedal through the city’s 36th annual TD Bank 5 Boro Bike Tour when he saw all individual registration slots were filled in April.
“Like any other cyclist in New York City, I wanted to own the streets, take it over,” he said. “It’s just something about riding with so many people. You feel like a bigger organism.”
The industrial designer said he was determined to be one of 32,000 riders to take on the 40-mile race on May 5.
Spots were still open for bicyclists riding on behalf of charities who gave $750 to the bike tour. Yi raised about $300 for the Marty Lyons foundation, which fulfills the wishes of children diagnosed with a terminal or life-threatening illness. The Bayside-Whitestone Lions club picked up the rest.
“Supporting the dreams of young people that are trying to make a difference in the world is priority number one for us,” said Lions President Donald Frain.
Spanning the five boroughs, the TD Bank 5 Boro Bike Tour begins in lower Manhattan, loops around the Bronx, goes down to Queens, passes Brooklyn and ends in Staten Island. The streets are closed off to motorists. It is the country’s biggest cycling event.
“It’s just the experience of riding through the city without any cars with thousands and thousands of other riders,” Yi said. “I was committed to ride the tour. I’ve been wanting to ride for years.”
Yi, who bikes an hour to work each day, said fundraising for the foundation led to a handful of personal breakthroughs. He learned the power of persistence and the goodness of human beings.
“There’s something about [the Marty Lyons Foundation] that resonated with me and really touched me,” he said.
“In my life, I’ve been trying to get back to that boundless childhood spirit. I feel like that’s what I want to see in the world, not just for me but for everybody. This organization grants that opportunity for these kids.”
“It felt good to be on the street,” Yi said.