North of the unfolds of New York City is a bucolic (sub)urban scenic bike ride that passes through the historic neighborhood of Washington Heights and over the towering George Washington suspension bridge. The ride unfolds new wonders of escape as you pedal your way outside city lines and transition to a cool breeze from the Hudson River and a rolling hill tarmac.
This route is one my favorite training rides to do on an early Saturday morning – an escape from the city. It is also one of the more challenging routes closest to NYC, as you get a taste of punchy rolling hills (quick up and downs) and Alpine Hill that is almost 1 mile steep uphill to train climbing skills and prepare me for the Spring race season. The route is my go-to for base miles and upping my Strava KOM’s.
The whole route loop is about a hour to hour and a half, approximately 28.6 miles. I start out from Fredrick Douglas Circle headed uptown, passing the historic General Grants Tomb memorial and Riverside church, two staples of Morningside Heights, known to many as the gateway to the cultural and intellectual Harlem neighborhood.
A short ride over the bridge nestled between the cliffs of the Palisades and Hudson River lays Edgewater Park in NJ. Henry Hudson Drive, also known as River Road to many native road cyclists, is where my love of nature begins. It’s a place you can find the quiet amongst the noise of New York City. The road is open to car traffic, but it is a scenic byway only driven by those headed to the waterfront lookout. The route gives great views of the George Washington Bridge, Palisades Cliffs and New York City.
At the the summit of Apline Hill is the Police station, a good place to rest and commiserate about the climb with other road cyclists. To complete the route, you can head back down Apline Hill for a tucked downhill descent but I prefer to take 9W back by leaving River Road and turning left at the stop light to head south back to NYC for fast time trial practice. 9W has more cars, but is frequented by cyclists normally. For bonus miles, sometimes I turn right on 9W to head north to stop at “The Market” and for more mix of hills, straight aways and climbs towards Bear Mountain.
Ridden & Written by
Dwayne Burgess (Manual Pedal)