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Lower East Side Hosts City's First Bike Expo

LOWER EAST SIDE — Get your wheels out, New Yorkers!

Nearly 100 vendors will be packed into a 125,000-square-foot expo space on the Lower East Side through Saturday for the inaugural Bike Expo New York. The expo, which kicked off Thursday, is a prelude to Sunday's 35th annual TD Five Boro Bike Tour.

"This is gorgeous," said Scott Rosenberg, 55, a Borough Park, Brooklyn, resident who has been biking since he was 13 years old. "It brings together New Yorkers from all walks of life."

The expo, held at Pier 36 along South and Montgomery streets, featured free bike repairs, BMX stunt shows and vendors selling goods such as messenger bags made out of recycled materials.

Angie Boylan, 27, who works for Vaya Bags, said their messenger packs are made out of recycled sailboat awnings and bike tubes.

The bags, which start at $90, are waterproof, too, Boylan said.

And John Keoshgerian, who owns Zen Bikes on West 24th Street, demonstrated how to fold up a 24.7-pound Dahon bike.

He added that he and his staff use the bike — which starts at $600 and can be folded for a packed train or a typical city apartment — for competitions during slow months.

"During winter we race to see who can fold [the bike] the fastest," Keoshgerian said. "Whoever wins buys lunch. I always win."

Sunday's bike ride is the largest in the country, with some 32,000 cyclists biking 40 miles through all five boroughs.

The first wave of riders kick off at 7:45 a.m. at Church and Franklin streets in Lower Manhattan.

The cyclists head up Sixth Avenue into Harlem, then into neighborhoods such as the South Bronx, Astoria, Bay Ridge and St. George, Staten Island.

The bike expo is free to the public and open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Registration for the race has ended, but check out the Bike New York website for a detailed map of Sunday's route, if you want to cheer on the riders.