The perfect combination of urban landscapes and green spaces, New York is perfect for outdoor activities that are both healthy and enjoyable, like cycling. Some may be surprised to learn that cyclists are welcome in the Big Apple, despite its gritty reputation. As a matter of fact, New York offers hundreds of miles of bike paths, making it one of the most extensive bike-sharing plans in North America.
People in New York City and visitors alike have discovered the joy of riding bikes, contributing to the city’s transformation into a bicycle paradise.
The experience of riding in New York is not as frightening as you might expect. In spite of the noisy streets and what seems an unending stream of yellow taxis, cycling is fairly easy here. In particular, if you understand where you’re going as well as how to navigate.
Get ready, steady, and pedal! Experiencing New York City by bicycle can be a joyful experience.
1. Hook Up Some Wheels
New York is a great city for visitors; whether you’re here for a week or if you’re among the lucky ones to live here forever, getting around is easy.
Citi Bike is a great choice if you are looking for a quick trip across town. In 2013, this self-service bike-sharing program was introduced, and it provides hundreds of stations throughout the city.
The process is simple: From any Citi Bike kiosk, you can buy either a 24-hour or 3-day pass access (for $12 or $24, respectively, tax included). After that, you will be given a five-digit code to unlock the bike. It’s important to return the bike to the station within 30 minutes in order to avoid extra charges.
The next time you want to check out a bike, reinsert your credit card (it won’t be charged) and follow the instructions. There is no limit to how many 30-minute check-outs you can make during those 24 hours or three days. Members of the local community can join for an annual fee.
When it comes to longer trips, renting a bike is cheap, convenient, and often comes with the option of going on organized tours. You can rent a bike through full-service companies like Bike NYC and Central Park Bike Rental, which are close to Central Park.
Bicycles can also be purchased at places like Brooklyn Flea, which is a great place to browse for secondhand bikes. As a general rule, helmets are highly recommended (legally required for children under 13). It’s easy to find them in every bike shop, and there are plenty of stylish options to keep those artfully unkempt locks looking their best.
2. Find The Greenways
With your trusty steed at the ready, saddle up and get going. Nevertheless, what if you are not prepared? New York’s cycling is mainly done on streets with motor vehicles, but there are extensive networks of bike lanes connecting the city’s boroughs and neighborhoods. As early as 1894, New York developed the first bike path in the country, and many government agencies and coalitions still advocate for better bicycle safety measures.
In case you’re a bit apprehensive about riding two wheels through New York City, check out the Greenways, a network of bike paths tucked away in the city’s many parks. There is so much traffic on the Hudson River Greenway on the west side that pedestrians and bikes need to be separated.
3. Don’t Be Timid – But Familiarize Yourself With The Rules
While it might seem tempting to breathlessly weave your way through the streets, you’d be better off gliding confidently. If safety is a concern for you, you face a significantly higher risk of being in an accident due to drivers overestimating your ability to navigate.
When you operate a vehicle, you must obey the rules of the road. Among those responsibilities are being considerate of pedestrians, obeying traffic signals, and staying within the speed limit. Take care not to get ‘doored’ on some older bike paths. Bike paths are set too close (or even in) parking lanes, which can lead to cyclists getting clipped by car doors opening suddenly.
4. Find A Club
There is something special about a city like New York because there is enough of it to make things happen. Therefore, there are various clubs specially established for cyclists – ranging from casual enthusiasts to those who consider greasing their chains to be a religious ritual.
A quick search of the Internet will reveal dozens of possibilities for social activities, one of which is the Five Boro Bike Tour (bike.nyc). The route covers 42 miles of car-free roads beginning in Lower Manhattan and continuing to Staten Island. You can share your tips and make some new friends by signing up.
5. Have Fun!
It may sound corny, but cycling is all about having fun. No matter what kind of cyclist you are, whether a commuter or a recreational cyclist, riding through New York is one of the best ways to remember that you are in the heart of a world-renowned city.
See the city from a different perspective when you explore it above ground. It is surprising how much one can discover even if he has lived in New York for a long time by pedaling past their two-wheelers.
Would you like to know how to tip like a New Yorker? Read our blog to learn.