- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf Tour de Bronx Captures the Beautiful Bronx | Bronx News Networkbronx

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tour de Bronx Captures the Beautiful Bronx

Thousands of bike riders gathered at the Bronx County Court House on a beautiful fall morning to participate in the 14th annual Tour de Bronx (the city's largest free cycling event sponsored by Transportation Alternatives, the Bronx Borough President, Montefiore Hospital, St. Barnabas Hospital, the New York Botanical Garden, and Fordham University among others). According to Borough President Aldofo Carrion, Jr., 75% of the participants were not from the Bronx (however, the Bronx contingent was by far the most vocal and enthusiastic throughout the ride).

Riders had an opportunity to choose the family friendly 25 mile route or the surprisingly grueling 40 mile ride. Well into my training for the November 2nd NYC Marathon, I thought the 40 mile ride would be a good challenge and light workout for what would otherwise be a rest day. As I type this blog posting with hands sore from holding my bike's handlebars for 4 hours and a pillow under my bottom, I realize how much I underestimated the ride.

The ride cut across 161st and through Melrose to Prospect Avenue where the route turned north. The 40 mile route bi-passed Crotona park, but kept a short ride down Charlotte Street (made famous perhaps even to bike tour visitors by visits from President's Carter, Regan, and Clinton to highlight an extreme example of urban disinvestment and government abandonment). The street, which was an urban wasteland filled with burnt down and demolished buildings, has been lined with suburban-looking single family homes with fences and lawns since the mid 1980s.

From Charlotte Street the ride, jogged north and allowed bikers the rare opportunity to ride on the closed northbound side of the Sheridan Expressway. We went past the nearly completed Concrete Plant Park on the Bronx River, rode through St. Raymond's Cemetery, cut through Soundview Park and enjoyed beautiful views of the East River and Westchester Creek.

After a brief stop at the Bronx YMCA in Castle Hill with gorgeous views of the Whitestone Bridge, and overcoming a frustrating spell where the leaders of our pack took a wrong turn and left hundreds of riders waiting on a small residential street near the Throgsneck Bridge, we cruised north to Pelham Bay Park. The ride continued through the park, out to City Island, and back to Orchard Beach for a second rest stop.

After leaving Orchard Beach we thought we were bound for the finishing area at the New York Botanical Garden, but found ourselves heading north through Williamsbridge and Wakefield (in reality, we were about half-way done with the ride). We cut diagonally across Woodlawn Cemetery and enjoyed a beautiful view of the mausoleums and fall foliage while climbing up steep languishing hills. The ride then headed down Jerome past the water filtration plant (which received more than a few Bronx cheers) to East Gun Hill road and Van Cortlandt Park. Then we climbed up Manhattan College Parkway into the depths of Riverdale and along Palisade Avenue. Ignoring the posted signs for a short cut, we climbed the hills of Spuyten Duyvel and Marbel Hill. Mercifully, the trail cut east under the elevated train on Broadway and up the hill to the Jerome Reservoir. One last loop past Lehman College and a straight shot down Bedford Park Boulevard led us to the NYBG finish line.

While challenging, the 40 mile Tour de Bronx ride really covered a host of must see neighborhoods and introduced me (a self-proclaimed Bronx fanatic) to some tucked away spots in the borough I might not otherwise visit. Organizers really improved the registration process from last year (at least at the Court House main meeting point), punctuality, and overall organization. If you missed it and are at all interested in bike riding, put the Tour de Bronx in your calendar for October 2009.


  1. Hi,

    Glad to see someone has posted already about yesterday's ride. It was my first Tour de Bronx and I was really surprised at how hilly it was(and also at how little I know of the Bronx!) But I wanted to ask if the attendance yesterday was a lot bigger than expected since the police escort(we got lost?) and the 'closed streets' looked improvised and hastily done.
    I stopped at City Island for some seafood! Overall, the trip was very nice!

  2. Last year's ride had over 6,000 participants. Still waiting on numbers from the BP our Transportation Alternatives for the 2008 total.

    My experience with the 40 mile ride as compared to the 25 mile ride last year was that riders were much more on their own for the longer ride (less police-led street closures). This is consistent with what TransAlt advertises and because the 25 mile ride is family-focused. That being said, one of the police intercepter carts followed our group through Williamsbridge and Wakefield halting traffic at major intersections.

  3. Streetfilm is already up!


  4. My husband, son and I did the tour de bronx yesterday for the first time also. Because we had never done this, we chose the 25 mile route. At the beginning, we got mixed in with the 40 mile group but then followed the 25 milers back to the NYBG. For starters, we had to ride our bikes from Woodlawn to GC (7 miles) then the additional 25 then back to Woodlawn. So we did 35 miles yesterday. It was extremely challenging. At the end, my 9 year old started crying from pain and exhaustion. BUT WE DID IT. It was a great accomplishment and can't wait till next year.


Bronx News Network reserves the right to remove comments that include personal attacks, name calling, foul language, commercial advertisements, spam, or any language that might be considered threatening, libelous or inciting hate.

User comments are reviewed by BxNN staff and may be included or excluded at our discretion.

If what you have to say is unrelated to this particular post, please visit our readers' forum.