Gran Fondo New York: An Introduction to Italian Cycling Culture

Gran Fondo NY

What: Gran Fondo New York and the Bike Expo

Where: Starting and ending at the George Washington Bridge

When: Sunday, May 8th, 6am-6pm.

Why: Join up to 8,000 riders from 56 countries on the first ever Gran Fondo New York, the highly anticipated international cycling event that is rolling into NYC on May 8th. The granfondo is a popular cycling event in Europe, especially in the cycling “mecca” of Italy. While granfondos are considered races, they are structured to welcome all levels of cycling, from professionals and top amateurs to riders whose goal is just to complete the course. In the inaugural Gran Fondo New York, the overall course time is not considered when determining winners, but they are determined instead from the rider’s cumulative time on four designated climbing sections throughout the grueling route.

The course is a hefty 100 mile ride—closed to cars—starting on the George Washington bridge, going north up the Palisades, where eventually the riders attack the four mile climb to the top of Montagna dell’Orso, also known as Bear Mountain. The riders then return following the Hudson River, including the final timed climb up Colle della Punta Rocciosa, and ending at a scenic park near the George Washington Bridge, where they will be welcomed by awards and raffle prizes valued at over $100,000.

While the Gran Fondo is open to all skill levels, riders who are looking for a slightly shorter and non-competitive route (with no timed climbs) can participate in the 65 mile Medio Fondo, which starts and ends in the same locations and shares much of the same course. All riders and the general public are also welcome at the Bike Expo at the Roseland Ballroom (Friday, May 6th 10am-8pm and Saturday, May 7th 8am-8pm), for a showcase of new cycling gear and the chance to meet former Giro d’Italia racers.

Cost: Gran Fondo, $220-240. Medio Fondo, $175-185. Bike Expo, free!

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