THE BRONX (PIX11) — It’s the day some cyclists in our area have been waiting a long time for; the annual Tour De Bronx event is back after a COVID-19 hiatus.

“We knew the day was coming. You wake up so excited. Everything, adrenaline is rushing,” said rider Mario Santana.

Santana could barely contain the excitement and with good reason. Tour de Bronx, a 25-mile ride through the borough and a favorite for the city’s biking community, is finally back. Its triumphant and anticipated return comes after it was suspended in 2020 and then scaled down in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We are very excited to join the Tour de Bronx after three years, after the pandemic. This has been great for everyone who is cycling in the city. We have a large group of 30 people coming from Queens, Bronx and Manhattan. Very happy,” said cyclist Claudia Corsino.

Multiple streets in the Bronx were closed off to traffic to make way for the annual event, which is in its 28th year. The bike tour kicks off at 161st Street and Grand Concourse, then takes riders on a tour through 25 square miles of the borough’s scenery, waterfront, and historic districts. It culminates with a free festival at the New York Botanical Garden.

Tour de Bronx is organized by the Bronx Borough President’s Office in collaboration with local sponsors, including PIX11. It’s the first for Vanessa Gibson as borough president.

“We want to not only promote the Bronx, we want to enhance the opportunities the Bronx offers. We’ve done a lot over the years to work with DOT (Department of Transportation) in terms of our infrastructure. It’s one of the challenges we have as a borough. It’s a very hilly borough and as you will see, we don’t yet have enough dedicated protected bike lanes as we should,” said Borough President Gibson.

The event has drawn thousands of riders in past years, but was capped at about 1,000 this year. The limit was set to slowly get back to normal participation levels as the city emerges from the pandemic.

“We are limited by size but we are just out here, my cousin and my uncle, and we are ready to see what the Bronx brings us, pop ups, things you can’t see when you are in a car,” Santana said. “If you are on a bicycle, you are like, I never noticed this and it’s beautiful.”

It’s beauty that he gets to share with other cyclists who are just as excited to the tour is back.