Safety of Westchester Routes

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Anonymous's picture

I noticed that many routes into Westchester go via Harlem and South Bronx. I'm hoping to do one of these rides alone on a Saturday morning. I'd appreciate any feedback as to the safety of the early parts of these routes (i.e. Grand Concourse) and the road conditions.


Anonymous's picture
Cat (not verified)
the South Bronx is changing (again)

"Dear Ariel,

It's a bit of a slog if you're in a long line of cyclists, jammin' when they can, avoiding holes, and hauling up at every other red light. But when you're riding solo, and exercise due discretion for a 10-lane thoroughfare, there is much to enjoy about the Grand Concourse.

Louis Aloys Risse had the Champs-Elysees in mind in1870 when designing the 4-mile long avenue, rising above its transverse streets. The ""Grand Concourse and Boulevard"" opened in 1909 with ample space for pedestrian and two-wheeled traffic, flanked by numerous parks.

Currently it's hectic, riddled with buses, and rather depressed. But look if you can beyond that and notice the profusion of Art Deco and Art Moderne apartment buildings, some with rippled fronts and mosaic facades.

Before i wax any more lyrical on the joys of the Grand Concourse, let me warn you that there is major construction going on between about 157th and 161st St. To avoid getting snarled in this, i suggest the following:

When you come off the Madison Ave bridge take the uninviting left turn just before the gas station. Don't follow the traffic onto the freeway but bear right onto Gerard Ave. This is reasonably smooth although there can be congestion (and glass) as you pass numerous auto body shops. People will look at you with curiosity, but not of an unfriendly kind.

When you get to 161st St, get into a low gear and turn right. In front of the Bronx Museum of Art turn left onto the Concourse. I usually ride in the bus lane but group rides will take a center lane -- it's at your discretion.

Notice the Italianate mansion on your left at 166th St, and just afterwards, the ""fish building"" on your right. Check out the newly revamped Loews Paradise Theater on the left at 188th St. Mind those buses.

Of the Gerard Ave detour: If you are doing this in the opposite direction, take Walton Ave, which runs parallel, between Gerard and the Concourse. You can also zip downtown on the D train (on the Concourse) or the 4 train (3 blocks to the west).

Enjoy your ride!


Anonymous's picture
Hank Schiffman (not verified)

"The GC may be beautiful but it is not all that bicycle friendly. Unless you are traveling it very early in the morning, traffic doesn't tend to respect our presence. There are bike lanes but, like all cycling, you must be on your guard.

Here is the CG bypass from Broadway traveling north:

R 207 St
cross bridge>Fordham Rd
0.8 L Sedgwick Av
0.8 R 197 St
0.3 L Goulden Av
0.3 R Bedford Park Blvd
0.8 L Webster Av
>Bronx River Rd>Midland
note: 207th Street is no bargain on a bike but it isn't all that long"

Anonymous's picture
Bob Shay (not verified)
Grand Concourse not a problem....

I do this route about every Saturday and have done it during the weekdays as I ride to/from CT and NYC. You will need to be comfortable riding with traffic. The grand concourse road is in above average shape. I wouldn't hesistate to ride it alone. The only time I wouldn't do it is after 3;30 pm when it is high traffic time with lots of pedestrians and groups of teenagers.

Anonymous's picture
Rob Marcus (not verified)

"Living in da Bronx and commuting through the Best and Worst that the city has to offer I will give my personal opinion on Safety.

A) People are people, give respect and you will usually get the same back.

B) Safety is always an issue to any lone cyclist, so
be as careful as riding as you would riding through
any part of the city you are new to.

C) Riding Style. Be Defensive, Many people are not looking for cyclists on the road and many drivers do the famous ""Gypsy Cab U Turn"". Yes you know it, where the car on the extreme right makes a U Turn to the opposite side of the road, whether there is traffic coming or not.

D) Road conditions are okay, Early am is always best. Fewer shoppers in cars"

Anonymous's picture
Ariel Schlein (not verified)

Great feedback! I really appreciate the pointers. Feel a lot more confident getting out there. See you on the road.

cycling trips