Have you ever thought about biking through the Bronx but didn’t want to do it alone?
On Sunday, Oct. 23, the 28th annual Tour De Bronx is back, giving participants the free opportunity to cycle through the borough’s historic districts, greenways and waterfronts with hundreds of companions.
The event, which was founded in 1994 by the Bronx Borough President’s office and the Bronx Tourism Council, has drawn thousands of riders in past years but will be capped at 1,000 participants this year. Borough President Vanessa Gibson said the limit on riders is part of the process of returning to normalcy as the city emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the group ride is a peek at pre-pandemic days, with the past two years offering scaled-down, virtual self-guided rides where cyclists could team up with others to conquer one of three routes on their own.
This year’s 25-mile ride will start off at 10 a.m. at East 161st Street and Grand Concourse and finish at the New York Botanical Garden, where participants will be greeted by a free festival and concert. There will also be self-guided virtual 10- and 40-mile tours for those who wish to under- or over-achieve.
According to Gibson, the tour welcomes both skilled and unskilled cyclists — she identified herself as the latter and said she will be participating. The event also promotes alternative modes of transportation and healthy living, she said, pointing to health disparities in the Bronx.
“This is all about health and wellness,” she said at a press conference at the Castle Hill YMCA on Thursday announcing this year’s tour. “And we know that as we talk about food equity and food access and food justice, as we talk about quality health care and stable housing, we also have to talk about alternative modes of transportation. They all work hand in hand together when you talk about building healthy neighborhoods, stabilizing our families and really creating the access and opportunity that we truly know is so important.”
Assemblymember Kenny Burgos, a Soundview Progressive, encouraged people to sign up and explore the beauty of the Bronx. A cyclist himself, he pointed out that the popular annual TD Five Boro Bike Tour through NYC barely touches the Bronx, so Tour De Bronx gives riders a better opportunity to see the northernmost borough.
Marcos Crespo, the senior vice president of community affairs at Montefiore (one of the Tour De Bronx sponsors), emphasized that the group ride is part of an effort to improve health outcomes in the Bronx. The Bronx is notorious for ranking last out of the 62 New York counties in the County Health Rankings.
“We are the borough of parks,” Crespo said. “We are the borough of the outdoors.”
The Bronx is home to various public parks, including the city’s largest, Pelham Bay Park.
This article was updated on Oct. 13 at 9:16 p.m.
Reach Aliya Schneider at [email protected] or (718) 260-4597. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes