The Woodlawn Cemetery is in the middle of The Bronx Woodlawn Bike Ride, and as the final resting place for over three hundred thousand individuals, it is pretty huge, but most of it is out of your sight unless you’re willing to venture inside the grounds. Even without Woodlawn, there is plenty to see and plenty of parkland to enjoy, even if you’re riding on the edge of it most of the time. The ride also takes you to the edge of Van Cortlandt Park and through Bronx Park.
If we can’t ride through parks, we like riding next to them. Parkland means long stretches of roadway without driveways and intersections, and this ride takes advantage of this great park feature.
The ride starts on the Mosholou Parkway, which has a nice protected bike path on the eastern side of the roadway. The ride quickly turns off Mosholou to take you to Bainbridge Avenue and the longest park-free stretch of the ride. Once out of the stores, you’ll pass the Valentine-Varian House, the second-oldest house in the county, and now a museum. Before you know it, you’re riding past Woodlawn and enjoying almost two miles of parkland borders before ending up on McLean Avenue in Yonkers.
McLean is a commercial strip but short and mostly downhill until you cross the Bronx River. Then you take your first right and start heading back.
Bronx Boulevard narrows just where the Bronx Park bike path begins. The park is also fairly narrow here, as is the path, but this section of the park is underutilized so it creates no real problem.
You’ll probably have a moment or two of confusion when you cross East 211th Street. As of this writing, the park seems to end, and there is construction making it hard to figure out where to go. Ride underneath the overpass, which is Gun Hill Road and continue on your southerly trajectory. You should be on Bronx Boulevard again. The path should resume by Magenta Street, if not sooner.
Shortly after returning to the parkland, you’ll find your first right-hand turn, which will take you under the Bronx River Parkway and then over the Bronx River. (Straight, btw, will take you on the Bronx Zoo loop). It’s a pretty bridge, an attractive spot, and there are benches for pause and reflection. Soon enough, you’ll be coming to a more popular area of the park, with playgrounds and playing fields.
Once through the park, you’ll return to a protected bike lane on Kazimiroff Boulevard, which takes you to Mosholou Parkway and its protected bike lane. From here you’re pretty much back at the start.
Food and Drink. (Bronx Woodlawn Bike Ride)
The easiest area for fueling is shortly after the start of the ride on Bainbridge Avenue. I’d do the loop first, then head for refreshment.
The Woodlawn Cemetery was designed in the 19th century as an attractive place to enjoy living, or at least visiting the dead. Woodlawn is considered a “garden cemetery,” and is the result of work by both prominent landscapers and architects of its era. While we see anything with a road as a place to ride, a saunter through the grounds, which are open every day, offers beauty and a chance for reflection. It’s also a good place for studying the night sky, thanks to the absence of homes and living people.
Specs (Bronx Woodlawn Bike Ride)
Borough(s): The Bronx
Distance: 6.3 miles
Elevation: 323 feet
Terrain: It feels pretty flat, with rises and dips, and much on bike paths
Ride Rating: @@
Notes: Hidden gems in the midst of an urban experience. Bx04 and Bx02 are nearby and can be combined for larger loops.
Includes: A PDF with intelligence and a GPX file to upload to your bike computer or mobile device.