Ever participated in or watched a cyclosportive? I didn’t know what it was, either: a short-to-long-distance organized mass-participation cycling event. In the U.S., these events are called by the Italian term “gran fondo”—much catchier!—and today marks the second annual Gran Fondo New York, which prides itself on bringing Italian cycling to the Big Apple. Rather than a timed competitive race against other cyclists, the gran fondo is more of a personal best challenge, and what a challenge: 110 miles from New York to Bear Mountain and back with 8,500 feet of climbing and four timed climbs. For riders not ready to take on the “century,” as they call it, there is a 60-mile Medio Fondo. There are also prizes for each age group and a $250 value goody bag. And for those who need new gear, the NYC Bike Expo is taking place before the race on May 18 and 19 at Penn Pavilion in midtown (401 Seventh Avenue, nycbikeexpo.com).
Sun., May 20, 6:30 p.m., 2012