The fifth annual Giro di Santa ride took place on Sunday, December 7. The Giro di Santa ride – a fun ride sponsored by Empire Tri Club which requires a full Santa suit to participate and serves as a fundraiser for CAF – has been been named The Best Cycling Event in the North East for the last two years in a row. And with good reason! This ride is a blast.
We started at Central Park South and 7th Avenue in Manhattan, and rode up the east side of Central Park. From there, we pop over to Riverside Drive and up to the George Washington Bridge. Once in New Jersey, we ride to Strictly Bicycles for a cookie stop, and then to Bunbury’s in Piermont for more cookies (and muffins, and coffee, and Fireball – wait, what?!). After a good long rest, we leisurely cruise back along the same route, and into the city. We take the west side of Central Park down and ride into Times Square, and then back around past Radio City Music Hall, before ending in Central Park again.
This is a long, easy pace ride, with about 4,000 photos and twice as many smiles. Cars slow (or stop!) to take photos and videos. Every tourist whipped out a cellphone or camera to take shots, and we snapped photos of each other while riding and at rest.
One key part of this year’s ride was Phillip’s cruiser sound system. He was dressed as what I called “Big Lebowski Santa” and rode a single speed cruiser with a tube amp speaker strapped to the back. This was no joke – that speaker was loud! It helped in keeping spirits high and letting others know we were coming. He switched from punk Christmas to Pop holidays on Spotify and powered us through nearly the entire ride. The sound went out at one point, but came back as we entered Central Park, playing “Santa Claus is Coming To Town.” It couldn’t have been more perfect.