Streetfilms Flashback: The 2 AM Ride Across the Verrazano Bridge

Clarence has been rifling through the vault for old footage as he prepares a montage for Transportation Alternatives’ 40th birthday bash. He’s turned up some classic clips going back to the mid-90s, and we’ll be sharing some of them this summer on Friday afternoons.

Some background: Before there was Streetfilms, Clarence made a cable access program called bikeTV. Maybe you already knew that. But here’s something I just learned today — bikeTV had its own predecessor, The Bike Show, which ran from 1995 to 2001.

This video of a ride over the Verrazano Bridge in the wee hours, organized by the 5 Boro Bike Club with the MTA’s cooperation, originally aired on The Bike Show in 1999. Sadly, ride organizer Danny Lieberman, who appears in the beginning of the clip, died last fall after battling leukemia.

There are still only two times a year when people can walk or bike over the Verrazano: The New York City Marathon and the Five Boro Bike Tour. But advocates have been ramping up the campaign to finally add a bike/ped path over the bridge, which would form the final link in a 50-mile waterfront path they call the Harbor Ring. You can sign their petition to Governor Andrew Cuomo here.

  • Joe R.

    Zero dark thirty is really the best time to ride anywhere. Hardly any traffic, and in summers it’s a lot cooler. This looked like a fun ride!

  • KillMoto

    If even $1 of non-gas-tax dollars are spent to maintain that bridge, it should be open to cyclists and pedestrians.

    Wait, that happened already.

  • By the way, this ride was done with no security ride along. No bag check. No NYPD. We just checked in. Waited for the okay (which was arranged in advance by the 5BBC) and then rode over. Yes, they trusted us to walk our bikes over the dangerous expansion joints, which we did. It’s amazing, some experiences you’ll never forget. We were only actually riding over the bridge and snapping photos for about 20 minutes or so, but it felt like hours. It was beautiful.

  • Steve Faust

    Clarence, your night video is much sharper and clearer than my still film camera from 1999. Great shots of Danny and the crew. The 5 Boro Bike Club and the AYH Bike Committee before it were running one or more late night – sunrise rides over the Verrazano most years since the 1960’s. An otherworldly experience to greet sunrise through heavy fog on the bridge.
    With the permanent paths installed along the outside edges of the bridge, we could be doing these trips without special permission. This could be your commute….

  • Daniel S Dunnam

    Clarence, you have barely aged at all in 14 years!

  • Oh I wish! But thank you. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Oh man, this looks awesome! I’m really jealous of all of you who got to do this! Sadly I don’t think this will ever happen again because you know 9/11, freedom, terrorism and all that jazz.


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