Dust off that helmet–the borough’s annual bike tour is but a few days away!
On Sunday, October 14, thousands are expected to traverse the borough’s 60 neighborhoods for the 18th annual Tour De Bronx.
From the leafy terrain at Ferry Point Park, to the nautical neighborhood of City Island, to the eerily majestic Woodlawn Cemetery, cyclists will see a side of the Bronx they’ve never seen before, according to Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
“This will go a long way in allowing for Bronxites and people outside the borders of the Bronx to rediscover the Bronx…and see our neighborhoods.”
Diaz Jr. announced this year’s tour on Monday, October 1 at Montefiore Hospital before officials, bike advocate Transportation Alternatives and corporate sponsors Domino’s Pizza and Coca-Cola, who promise to provide healthier options to cyclists.
Diaz Jr. is no stranger to the course, having trekked the 25-mile course since 2009. He plans on cruising it again this year.
“This is an event that has to do with the heart on so many levels,” said Diaz Jr., referring to the tour’s cardiovascular benefits.
But Dr. Mario Garcia plans to outdo Diaz Jr. by taking on the 40-mile route, a more ambitious journey meandering to the northern portions of the borough.
“He’s not ready to do the 40 miles yet,” joked Dr. Garcia, for which Diaz Jr. responded, “know your limits.”
It’s a day bike enthusiast Tito Santiago looks forward to each year. After all, he’s been on the tour since its inception.
Santiago, manager of the Castle Hill Bike Shop at 3467 East Tremont Avenue for over 30 years, has seen his regulars popping by for tune-up days before the race.
“They’re getting their usual brake adjustments, revising the bike to make sure it’s good,” said Santiago.
But he’s hoping this year’s endurance test goes without incident. Last year he saw an elderly cyclist slammed by a car. He blames lack of police at the 40-mile track, compared to the 25-mile track that sees a higher number of officers on hand, he said.
“They don’t give you much police escort on the 40-mile,” he said. “You’re pretty much on your own.”
Still, Santiago is impressed by the visual feast from the Bronx tour, debunking the “Fort Apache” feel out-of-towners get from the Bronx.
“It’s not like that,” said Santiago.
Olga Tirado, head of the Bronx Tourism Council, that sponsers the event, agreed. “The Bronx is a treasure trove,” she said.
Last year’s tour drew over 6,000 cyclists. To register for the tour log on to tourdebronx.org. Check-in at Borough Hall starts at 9 a.m.
The 25-mile course winds through Mott Haven, Longwood, West Farms, Soundview, Throggs Neck, Country Club, Spencer Estate, Pelham Bay, Morris Park, Norwood, and Bedford Park. The 40-mile course follows much of the same route as the 25-mile course, with additonal stretches through Morrisania, City Island, Fort Schuyler, Wakefield, Woodlawn, and Riverdale. Both routes end at the Botanical Garden.
David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (718) 742-3383