15 October 2012

Tour de Bronx

These cyclists are assembled at the gate of...

Actually, they're not really assembled.  They're just waiting to continue the Tour de Bronx from its first rest stop/checkpoint.

At that rest stop was a sure sign that the ride was taking place in New York:

Bagels!  They were very good--not mere bread doughnuts.   I ate one with sesame seeds; poppy and plain were also offered.  Cream cheese, butter and jellies were also offered. 

There were granola bars and bottles of Dasani water at the  next two stops--and pizza at the end.  All of it free.

In fact, the ride is free, which the ride's organizers attribute to the "generous support" of sponsors.

I  heard some riders express disbelief that there were so many "beautiful" sights in the Bronx.  In particular, people seemed to be taken with the maritime views from the State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime College:

and from Orchard Beach:

not to mention some of what could be seen at the New York Botanical Gardens, where the ride ended:

Interestingly, the route took us through two cemeteries, St. Raymond's and Woodlawn.  The latter necropolis has vast monuments to rival those of Brooklyn's Greenpoint Cemetery and Pere Lachaise in Paris:

Yes, that's a monument for one person!

Of course, the Tour does have its share of less idyllic sights.  After all, it wouldn't be a Tour de Bronx without them:

There was a twenty-five mile and forty-mile tour.  Naturally, I did the latter.  Both rides take about the same amount of time, but the 40-miler is done at a faster pace.  Also, the terrain varies more. (Yes, there are real hills in the Bronx!)

The 40-mile ride is roughly the same length as the more-famous Five Boro Bike Tour.  I rode some of the early 5BBT's, and a few after that.  I was even a marshal in two 5BBT's.  In some ways, the Tour de Bronx reminds me of what 5BBT was in its early years, in part because of the smaller number of riders.  Also, like those early 5BBT's, the Bronx Tour isn't as tightly organized as the 5BBT has become in recent years.  In some ways, Bronx feels more like both a cyclists' event and simply a "fun day out" for those who might take a ride of such a length, say, once or twice year.  On the other hand, the 5BBT has become something of a media spectacle.  (That is not to say, though, that I'm not happy 5BBT exists or that it's become as big as it is. It's simply not my kind of ride anymore.)

And, most important, not all of the streets we rode for the Bronx tour were closed to traffic.  There is certainly a certain amount of "safety in numbers," but I think one has to be more vigilant on the Tour de Bronx than on the Five Boro Bike Tour. On the latter ride, all of the streets it traverses are closed to traffic.

Another thing I like about the Tour de Bronx is that it reallys shows the diversity--geographically, architecturally as well as culturally--of the only New York City Borough located in the mainland United States.  In contrast, most of the 5BBT runs through Manhattan and Brooklyn.  Cyclists on 5BBT spend very little time in the Bronx or Queens, and only slightly more in Staten Island.

In case you were wondering, I rode Tosca:


  1. Not today, nor probably even before Halloween, but a post about Woodlawn would be appreciated by at least one loyal reader.

  2. Steve--I'd be interested in doing such a post. Before I write it, I'd like to visit at least one more time and do a bit of research.