Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lions and Tigers and Bears on the East Coast Greenway!

Nicole and I recently took advantage of winter's receding coarseness to meet some of our animal friends at the Bronx Zoo. The Zoo, which lies just on the south side of Fordham Road, along with the Botanical Gardens which lie to the north, collectively make up what old-timers refer to as "Bronx Park." These 718 beautiful acres are surrounded by various bike paths, several of which contain current portions of the East Coast Greenway. And believe us, it is worthy stop for day cyclists, weekend warriors and cross country-trekkers alike.

Ahh, the sullen look of a surly teenage tiger.
Any who visited the zoo last summer had a chance to see some baby tigers. Nicole and I loved seeing the three siblings play to the hearts content. Sadly, now these three have left the childhood behind, and spend their days as brooding teenagers. And they say people are more intelligent than animals!

Although the tigers were a thrill to see, perhaps nothing brought us closer to nature than our trip to "Africa." Most of the Bronx Zoo's African wildlife gets transferred to warmer climate zoos during the winter months. Not only do the animals need to stay in warm weather, but it also helps gives these captive creatures some of the variety that they so sorely need.

One such animal was certainly new to the territory at wanted everyone in New York to know he was King. A young male lion decided to roar--loudly and repeatedly. To say his manly lion-call gave us a chill would be an understatement. We could literally feel the sound waves of his roar, and we actually felt a touch of mortal terror. Incredible, to say the least. The female was more subtle, as females generally are, as she patiently and methodically sharpened her claws on a tree trunk for all to see, before slowly slinking away to leave Mr. Macho to himself.

If all you're going to do is yell, Leo, I'm going to walk out.
If you are riding towards Florida: Follow the Pelham Parkway bike path as you travel from east to west. After you ride underneath the "2" subway elevated tracks and under the Bronx River Parkway overpass, Pelham Parkway becomes Fordham Road. You will cross over a bridge and reach the intersection of Fordham Road and Southern Boulevard. Turn left on Southern Boulevard and ride for two and half blocks. The pedestrian entrance to the Zoo will be on your left. And yes, they have secure bike parking.

If you are riding towards Maine: Northbound riders have two options. Option 1 is to follow the East Coast Greenway route north on Broadway in Manhattan's Marble Hill, through Van Cortlandt Park, then travel southeast on the Mosholu Greenway. Upon reaching the New York Botanical Gardens, you can make a right turn on Southern Boulevard and ride between the Botanical Gardens and Fordham University. After riding for about one mile on Southern Boulevard, you will reach the pedestrian entrance to the zoo on your left.

Option two is to take a shortcut. Instead of taking the Broadway Bridge over the Harlem River, simply take the 207th street bridge into the Bronx. Once in the Bronx, 207th street simply becomes Fordham Road. Follow Fordham Road for about two miles until you reach Southern Boulevard. Turn right at Southern, and the entrance to the Zoo will be on your left. Though less scenic that riding through Van Corltandt Park and the Moshulu Greenway, this will save you about two and half miles of riding.

Please enjoy the video below, and if you're biking in the neighborhood, definitely make time to make the Bronx Zoo a destination!