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Saturday, February 4, 2023
Home Sports Menacing Bikers from the "Gimbel's Ride"

Menacing Bikers from the “Gimbel’s Ride”

Gimbels_bike_ride_dsc01123Most bicyclists are benign. They keep to themselves and respect auto traffic. And then there is the "Gimbel’s Ride". A group of 20-60 or so hyper-competitive bicyclists, they blow through Rye on Saturdays and Sundays usually between 11am and 12 noon.

If you drive down Theodore Fremd, Old Post Road or the Boston Post Road during this hour and have been cut-off by twenty plus guys in spandex, it’s the "Gimbel’s Ride". They are riding hell bent, ignoring red lights and traffic because they have just cycled all over the county and are racing towards the "finish line" — the Rye / Mamaroneck town line on Route 1.

According to Roadbikereview.com, the ride started 30-40 years ago and to this day originates at the Cross County Mall in Yonkers, where there was once a Gimbel’s department store. A post on the web site provides this description:

"Don’t look for a Gimbel’s at Cross County Mall; it became a Stern’s some time back. (I don’t know what its called now, since I join the ride several miles north.)

100 riders sounds high. Maybe it has reached that number at some point, but it certainly starts off with fewer (maybe 50 on a good-weather, no-race early summer weekend) with additional riders joining at various points as it heads up Route 100 (Central Park Avenue) through White Plains, and up Route 22 past the Kensico dam in North White Plains. Pace is easy up to the dam, with everyone socializing, checking out new equipment, making excuses for poor race performances etc.

Riders are a mix of active racers (Cat. 2’s through 5’s, Masters, Women), wannabe/has-beens (yours truly), and even occasional newbies. Some of us try to be courteous and helpfull to strangers(despite our natural inclinations), but we almost never stop for anyone’s flats/mechanicals, and only grudgingly for crashes.

On Rte. 22 just south of Armonk, the first split occurs, right onto Rte. 120 South, "American Can Hill". (I think American Can Corporate HQ is gone to, but this is veering into a discussion of real estate history, which would be tedious even over at Non-Cycling Discussions, so I’ll stop.) This is the shortest option.

I mile or two further up 22, the real significant split occurs; continue up 22, or turn left up Rte. 120 North.

I would recommend fit, experienced riders new to Gimbels take the Rte. 22 option; Rte. 120 North starts with a series of stairstep hills that causes many newbies to drop off, and the pace remains hard throughout, so unless you’re with an experienced companion, you may find yourself alone in the wilds of Westchester. Its pretty, but probably not the ride you had in mind.

The group rides conclude in Rye/Mamaroneck, with a sprint on US 1; from there smaller groups ride at recovery pace back to their origins. (NYC riders have the option of riding New Haven trains home from here as well.) Rte. 22 group gets in to Rye about 11:00; Rte. 120 North group gets in 30 to 45 minutes later, depending on route and pace. Budget another 45 minutes to ride back to Cross County if that’s where you’re parked."

13 COMMENTS

  1. This is an email I sent to all Rye Officials after I was nearly killed by the Gimbel Group….

    “SAFETY ADVOCATE RUN OVER BY A PACK OF BICYCLISTS”!!!!

    These animals nearly killed me in the Purdy/Theo crosswalk at exactly 11am this morning!

    Why is this allowed to continue, what are you waiting for to put a stop to this…Imagine this being a woman pushing a stroller??????
    They make no attempt to stop…if it were a car turning with me in the crosswalk it would stop, the driver wouldn’t yell out his window as he does 30 MPH “lookout” and just keep coming, which is exactly what these animals did!!!
    Don’t they have to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk just as a car does????
    I had to RUN out of the crosswalk to keep from being killed!!!

    When will someone step to the plate on this serious issue…WHEN IT’S TOO LATE????

    You either need to put an IMMEDIATE STOP to this or give them their route by closing the roads to allow this to take place w/everyones SAFETY in mind!!! What goes on now is nothing short of LUDICROUS!!!
    The BRP is closed every Sunday for this, surely we can close our own roads!!!

  2. I don’t want to close our roads on Sundays to accommodate a handful of self important ( judging from their web site tough talk ) riders.
    Other than the fact that Rye residents have a more compelling argument for the use of our own roads, closing them to traffic will in no way mitigate the real problem — the sight of desiccated middle-aged men in bike shorts. They look like shrink wrapped fruit.

  3. “the sight of desiccated middle-aged men in bike shorts. They look like shrink wrapped fruit.”

    Coming from a middle aged woman who belongs to Rye’s Good Government Activist Group, I think it goes a long way in revealing their true source of frustration. No wonder they have nothing good to say.

  4. Need to Breathe,

    What do you consider “Good Government”….the Otis Administration?

    Were you paying attention at the end of his run or were you a part of it?

    Okay, so we have a bad mix right now, what homework was there to do on French & Co. that would have led us to a different choice?
    What other choice did we have?

    Otis was burnt out!!!
    How much more torture could we have endured with Pratt bragging & bitchn all night, Ball playing good cop bad cop with Cunningham, Gamache sitting there stone faced (no choice,lol).
    Come on, seriously, what choice did Rye really have?

  5. “What do you consider “Good Government”….the Otis Administration?”

    What type of government are you talking about? If your talking DEMOCRACY, democracy is a slow acting government. Dictatorships can make faster decisions and execute them quickly. Democracy is almost synonymous with “compromise”. You don’t get everything you want in democracy and neither does anyone else. That’s the problem with Rye’s Good Government Activist Group they want everything THEIR way.

  6. @Jim, I just posted this on the Patch Website. Let’s hope I’m right:

    David, as a fellow cyclist, I am surprised at your responses. While I am all for maintaining tradition (ask my kids – they are sick of hearing me pine for the old days), it should never trump safety. You seem to feel that since cars also disregard traffic laws, bicyclists can also. I am not sure if you are from Rye or not, but I can guarantee you that the Rye PD will take action.

    Here is how I see this playing out: RPD will be out either this Sunday or next Sunday. They will stop the peloton and explain to the group their safety concerns. They will explain that all V&T laws need to be enforced when traveling thru Rye. Once the group is notified of this, they will be allowed to resume their ride. Then the ride will be observed the following week. If the riders to do not ride in a responsible manner (as defined by NYS V&T laws – not tradition), there will be consequences. The same techniques used by the Westchester County Police to work with the many Sunday motorcyclists travelling up the Hutch to Marcus Dairy will be utilized by RPD. To wit: either stay within the law and travel is a safe manner, or the entire group will be stopped and citations issued for any V&T violations. I can guarantee that the majority of the bikes do not have a bell and that your $1,500 carbon wheelsets do not have an amber reflector on the front wheel nor a red one on the rear (the downside of being a weight weenie!). And if you only ride with Road ID, that won’t pass muster and your bike can be impounded.

    Draconian? Perhaps, but as I stated before, safety will always be given priority over anything else. As you know, a few towns on the 9W route are notorious for enforcing the NJ single file law and will write you up for blowing stopsigns/red lights. Either the group complies with (basically) whatever the RPD proposes or there may be a lot of disappointed riders on Sundays.

  7. Avg. Citizen,

    I did see all that, THANK YOU for your support even tho I have no idea whom I am thanking and wish I did, I dislike conversing with a ghost,lol!

    I as well hope you are right, those are pretty strong comments in reference to “ENFORCEMENT” given our track record on the issue!!

    I truly will never understand how the RPD could allow this behavior today and for so many years.

    As proven by my near death experience with this group it is just a matter of time and god for bid it’s a child and the RPD had not yet stepped to the plate on this….they will have set me and this entire community back to 2006!!!

  8. @Need Building Permit to Breathe

    I’m sorry I’m just responding to this. You’re better at monitoring the blogs than I am. Maybe that’s because there are so many of you?

    I see you take offense to my description of “the sight of desiccated middle-aged men in bike shorts… looking like shrink wrapped fruit.”

    Let’s start by saying I don’t really think the worst thing about these jerks barreling through Rye is their bike shorts. However, I stand by my observation. Bike shorts are nothing more than Speedos with legs and as such have no business being worn by any male over the age of 14. I will make an exception for Michael Phelps 😉 or, for the “middle aged women” among us, Mark Spitz.
    Those guys on Sunday morning, however, are way over the top with their Spandex and neon – circa 1984. No one else cares about their glorious ride, which they apparently believe is too important to be constrained by red lights, cross walks and other such mundane laws. Their get-ups are just silly.

    As for your second erroneous and, let’s be honest, a little paranoid, assumption – that I belong to a “good government activist group” – I’ll say three things:

    1) If you mean “group” in the sense of *those who believe in good government* – well then should I be ashamed of that affiliation?

    2) If you mean “group” in the more concrete sense, you’re off base there. See, you’ve spent a tremendous amount of time on line for someone who purports not to care, and at least several times you’ve indicated that this “group” worked to elect Doug French. If you know anything about recent local campaigns – or know enough to comment so frequently – you should know I had absolutely nothing to do with electing Doug French. I worked hard to re-elect Steve Otis and Andy Ball and subjected myself to a lot of criticism for it. I’d do it again, by the way.

    3) To believe I’m involved with some sort of home grown Illuminati, meeting in secret and conspiring to overthrow the government, is kind of strange. Do you envision drumming circles at Rye Town Park? Just asking.

    Elsewhere you’ve implied I’m a Communist committed to “government control of private trees” – and again seek to link me to some secret organization – this time one with Bolshevik leanings – but that’s another topic.

    Overall your comments, by their sheer number if nothing else, are getting beyond weird and veering toward black helicopters and tin foil hat territory.
    For example, you don’t need a building permit to breath. Breathing doesn’t require anything which might affect the health and safety of your neighbors. Building does, and therefore requires a permit. That’s a good thing. I don’t know what your problem is with building permits. There are plenty of places in America where they’re not required. I wouldn’t want to live there.

  9. @Charmian Neary

    I have to admit, your post was funny.
    Funny how you think I’m the only one who spends posting here and yes, you do have Bolshevik leanings.

    “Breathing doesn’t require anything which might affect the health and safety of your neighbors. ”

    If I had tuberculosis or the Plague, I’m not sure you’d be saying that.

  10. @Need…

    I said the Bolshevik thing was another topic. ; )

    As for breathing – your plague ridden, tubercular breath only endangers others if you cough or sneeze. The danger in breathing is born by the healthy. So, no, permits are not required for breathing.
    Maybe coughing or sneezing on people should be regulated, however. It probably is in Singapore.

  11. @ Average Citizen

    You are obviously very much “in the know” or actually the one calling the shots? (something I already suspected)
    Either or maskes no differ to me, it’s nice for a change to hear something and actually witness it happen.

    Which ever role you played in getting the RPD out in full force Saturday…Thank You!

    The RPD was a little late getting out there on Saturday so they missed the 11 o’clock wave, but from what I am told they acted on the 2nd wave @ 11:30.

  12. @Charmian Neary

    “I said the Bolshevik thing was anothertopic.;)……………. ……..Maybe coughing or sneezing on people should be regulated, however. ”

    LOL. How about requiring a permit to breathe which would encompass all forms of breathing like coughing and sneezing? 🙂

    @Rest

    There’s no better publicity than bad publicity. Maybe more people will get out there on the streets and start riding bikes because of this. That would be a good thing.

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