Take a moment to think about New York City. Your thoughts probably include heavy traffic and hundreds of yellow cabs. But the city has changed a lot in recent years — it’s now more bicycle-friendly than ever before.
An increasing number of biking lanes has made life for cyclists easier — and safer — than ever before. If you want to explore this great city on two wheels, there are five spectacular routes you need to know about.
But to enjoy this unforgettable experience you’re going to need a bike. Don’t worry if yours won’t fit in your suitcase, however, as New York City’s Citi Bike scheme allows you to rent bikes for as long as you need them. Buy a day pass and pick up a bike at one of the stations located around the city. When you’re finished, simply return it to the station nearest you.
1. Prospect Park to Coney Island
This beautiful route takes you through areas of parkland and pleasant residential neighborhoods until you reach the beach. Your journey begins in Prospect Park and takes you right along the historic Ocean Parkway Greenway. This was America’s first dedicated bike path and was designed to recreate the stunning inner-city biking routes of Paris, Rome and other European cities.
This is a good option if you don’t want to do much climbing. The entire route is relatively flat, and there’s lots of shade from the surrounding trees — perfect for cycle rides during the hot months of summer. Along the way, you’ll pass through Midwood and Kensington, before making it to the beach around 30 minutes after you set off. This five-mile route is comprised solely of dedicated bike paths, so you won’t need to negotiate any road traffic.
2. Battery Park to the George Washington Bridge
This 11-mile route is great for cyclists who prefer a steady pace and lots of company. One of the most popular routes in the city, the Hudson River Park Bikeway stretches from one end of the park to the other. Along the way, you’ll get to see parts of Chelsea at close quarters, as well as Hell’s Kitchen and Riverside Park.
This isn’t the route for you if you want a rigorous workout. Skateboarders and rollerbladers are allowed to use the dedicated bike path, so things can get very congested. But if you want to do a little sightseeing on two wheels, it’s perfect. Schedule stops at Chelsea Piers and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, as these areas get very congested.
3. St. George Terminal to Midland Beach
A day at the beach takes on a whole new meaning with a cycle ride from St. George Terminal to Midland Beach. This 13-mile route is perfect if you’re looking for a longer, faster journey with spectacular coastal views. Along the way, you’ll pass by Great Kills Park, Annandale and South Beach, so you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to picturesque pit-stops.
Start your day by taking a ferry to Staten Island. Head along the coast toward the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and continue through Fort Wadsworth. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants on this route, but be sure to check out Big Boys Pizzeria on Midland Avenue. The specialty here is the 18-inch Big Boy Pie, which is perfect for sharing if you’re cycling with a large family.
4. Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park
Cycling through the streets of Manhattan is a spectacular, unforgettable experience. Unfortunately, it’s something most people only ever dream about, as the heavy traffic isn’t exactly conducive to biking. But if you’re in New York this August, you might be in luck. The route between the Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park is closed to traffic on three Sundays of the month — meaning you can savor the experience without worrying about being knocked off your bike.
The route begins on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge and passes through the Lower East Side, Chinatown, Little Italy and Union Square. But perhaps the most spectacular segment of the journey involves cycling down Park Avenue and in between the towering skyscrapers of Midtown.
5. Central Park Loop
If you don’t want to stray too far from your Manhattan base, take a cycle ride around the Central Park Loop. Not only does this route feature quite a few landmarks and attractions, it’s a great place for bumping into celebrities. However, be sure to abide by the rules of the park, as there are walkers, runners and athletes all sharing the same space.
This six-mile route offers some beautiful parkland scenery, and it’s also perfect if you want to combine cycling with sightseeing. Along the route, you’ll pass The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of the City of New York, Central Park Zoo and The Jewish Museum. Natural landmarks on the route include North Woods, The Lock, The Lake, The Great Lawn and Sheep Meadow.
Cycling in New York City has never been easier — or safer. Decide on your route, schedule a few breaks and be sure to do a lot of sightseeing along the way. With the help of Gosur, you can plan your day of bike riding well in advance.