Friday, October 21, 2011

Tour de Bronx rolls into borough this Sunday

Here's a story from this week's issue of the Riverdale Review. 

By Brendan McHugh 

One of the best ways to see the hidden gems of the Bronx is on two wheels, according to Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

On Sunday, Oct. 23, thousands of bicyclists from all over the globe will join Diaz in the 17th annual Tour de Bronx.
Diaz will be riding the 25-mile race in this Sunday's Tour de Bronx.

“The reason why we do the Tour de Bronx is because the Bronx has come back from such a long way in the last 2 ½ decades that it is worth bragging about and it is worth having people come from beyond our borders and experience the renaissance,” Diaz said last week at during a press conference at Montefiore Medical Center promoting the race.

The race, which can be done in either the 25- or 40-mile routes, weaves through most parts of the borough, highlighting Bronx gems such as Pelham Bay Park, the Botanical Gardens and SUNY Maritime College.

Jump below for the full story.

According to the race’s website, the 25-mile ride is “A leisurely ride that's great for every age and skill level. Enjoy Bronx Greenway bike paths, parklands, shoreline and more.”

Diaz, who competed in the 25-mile race this year, had a knee injury earlier this year and will again be competing in the shorter ride.

The 40-mile race is built for more experienced riders, with the track taking bikers up into the hills of Riverdale in the last leg of the race. The pace is “significantly faster on this ride, which covers a greater distance in the same amount of time,” according to the website. “It is recommended for experienced cyclists who are comfortable riding in traffic."

Ride marshals and NYPD escorts accompany riders in the 25-mile race but not the 40-miler.

“Riding a bike around our borough is the healthiest way to see the best of the Bronx, and I invite everyone to join me again this year to tour our wonderful borough,” Diaz said, adding that last year, over 6,000 people participated, coming as far away as Iceland.

Diaz officially launched the event today at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, where he was joined by Roxanne Watson, a recent heart transplant patient at Montefiore Medical Center who is now embarking on workouts that include walking and bicycling.

“Attitude, attitude, attitude, that’s the only way I was able to survive,” said Roxanne Watson, a patient who received a life-saving heart transplant at Montefiore Medical Center last year and now supports the hospital’s efforts to communicate the importance of a healthy lifestyle.  “For a long time I couldn’t even walk.  Now I’m exercising three times a week and willing to try new things like Tour de Bronx.” While she won’t be competing in the entire race, Watson hopes to be ready for next years Tour de Bronx.

"The Tour de Bronx is a perfect way to promote health and wellness and to discover all that the Bronx has to offer," said Steven M. Safyer, MD, President and CEO of Montefiore Medical Center.

Diaz and others say the race hopes to promote alternative transportation methods outside of driving a car by showcasing the borough’s best institutions from a new vantage point.

“Visitors who ride in Tour de Bronx always want to come back and experience more of our borough,” said Doris Quinones, Executive Director of the Bronx Tourism Council, the organization that produces Tour de Bronx for Diaz. “The most powerful marketing for the Bronx is to have visitors see its great people and places for themselves.”

Diaz noted during the announcement that too often, elected officials sponsor reconstruction projects and then the community quickly forgets about the positive changes in the community. With the Tour de Bronx, he said, both the politicians and the community can recapture a positive view of the Bronx.

Participants can register for the event at

“This is a way for you to have fun. It is a way for you to see the Bronx from a different vantage point. It is a way to promote our institutions, our wonderful landmarks. It is a way to welcome people from all over the planet. It is a way to be healthy. It is a way for us to come together as a borough,” Diaz said.

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