Times Square, GW Bridge, The Bronx, Queens and back
Manhattan and the rest of New York City’s five boroughs make quite a big city, though it is hard to cover just Manhattan on foot. New York bike tours can be tiring. If you still want to explore the Big Apple, and you do not have long weeks for the task, New York City bike tours are just for you. You should use the fast-developing NYC bicycle route network and ride your bike in the city, though some people might think that you have gone crazy.
Why riding in one of the most
crowded cities on Earth?!
crowded cities on Earth?!
As one who is lucky enough to visit the city more than once a month, and who has been riding in the city for several years now, my answer is YES!
Through the years the total length of New York bike paths has been growing rapidly (just in 2010, about 20 new biking trails were added to the network). Upon careful reading of the back side of the New York City bike map (free in any bicycle store in the city), you can see that the vision is clear: to turn New York into a bicycle-friendly city.
As there are marked bike paths on many of NYC’s streets (especially in Manhattan), it is quite hard to come up with a clear recommendation for a specific bicycle ride. Still, among all of my many New York City bicycling tours, there are some that were special enough
First, here are some special points I want you to pay attention to:
- Wear the best bicycle helmet.
- Wear easy-to-notice cycling clothes.
- Equip your bikes with bicycle bells or horns.
- Do not leave you bicycle un-attended. If you have no other options, use a good bicycle lock.
- Bicycles are allowed on the subway, but not during rush hours. For other trains you might need to purchase a ticket (only for the first time). I suggest you follow the up-to-date restrictions, as outlined on the New York City bike map
- It is not possible to ride on all of the bridges. You can ride on some, while for others bicycle riding is not possible (like the Verrazano Narrows Bridge).
- Some of the "almost hit" cases of bicycle accidents I had were with other bicycle riders, roller skaters and pedestrians. My recommendation here is clear - try to avoid bicycle trails that are too crowded.
- And, above all, do not get too close to the traffic. Be careful about the taxi in front of you, as its passenger door is about to open.
Did you know...?
Did you know that under New York City laws, cyclists are required to abide by the exact same traffic rules as motorists?
Even the penalties for flouting traffic laws are identical for cyclists and motorists. Thus, always abide by the traffic laws when cycling in New York City. Never run a red light, don't cycle against the flow of traffic, and don't cycle on pavements.
For complete information on New York City bike tours, you can use a New York City bike map (can be found in any NYC bicycle stores), or visit some related websites. They will help you have great bicycle tours in New York.
Ideas for New York City Bike Tours
New York City Bike Tours - "The Southern Loop"
Times Square, UN Building - South Street Seaport - Brooklyn Bridge - Battery Park - Hudson River Park - Central Park - Times Square.
At first, riding along the East Side of Manhattan looked to me less attractive than riding on the Hudson Riverside, but after several rides on both sides, I prefer riding along the East River. This site is less crowded, and above all- it has the three spectacular bridges (my friend calls them "the BMW" = Brooklyn / Manhattan / Williamsburg).
Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge on a bicycle is one of the best moments of my trip to NY. If I start my ride in the morning, there is no better way than stopping in the first diner (Adarns and Hillary) for some quick "cycling nutrition", just after crossing the bridge.
The next "point of interest" after crossing back to Manhattan is Battery Park. It will be an exciting part of your New York bike tour.
Bicycle riding along the Hudson River is great. Enjoy the amazing view of the New Jersey side of the river. My only recommendation here is to ride when the western route is not full of other cyclists.
After reaching the point when you are ready to wrap things up or at any point of the route, you can take a short cut through the well-maintained bicycle routes in Central Park. There are so many variations to this 25-miles offering. For example, instead of riding through Battery Park, you can take a short-cut through Chinatown directly to the other side. Any way you choose to take, you will have an exceptional experience.
New York City Bike Tours - "The Northern Loop"
Times Square - Riverside Park - George Washington Bridge - Inwood Hill Park - Van Cortland Park - Randall's Island - Triborough Bridge- Ditmars Street - Queens Bridge Park - 59th St. Bridge - Times Square
Central Park is the biggest park in Manhattan, and many cyclists prefer riding in the park over other New York bike tours. When I am riding from the city center up to New Jersey, I prefer riding in quiet River Side Park (on the Upper West Side).
Crossing the GW Bridge is a different experience than crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. This bridge is very high above the river, and the views of New Jersey cliffs are spectacular.
If you miss riding on some challenging up-hills, the northern tip of Manhattan is just for you (it is not the Alps, but can still raise your heart rate quite a bit). After a short visit to the Bronx, Randall's Island will be waiting for you. It is an unpopulated island, and usually hosts special events (such as the Cirque Du Soleil). It is noon-time now, and time for a lunch break. What about some Greek food? Ditmars Street (Queens) is waiting for you with its variety of Greek restaurants.
After drinking the Greek coffee you have enough energy to cross another bridge -the 59th Street Bridge, back to Manhattan. Another special New York City bike tour has come to a successful end.
Some Other recommended New York City Bike tours:
- Times Square - Brooklyn Bridge - Clinton Street - Andrew Lehman Field - Coney Island - Canarsie Pier - Forest Park - Queens Boulevard - 59th Street Bridge - Times Square
- Van Cortland Park - Pelham Bay Park - City Island - Randall's Island - Triborough Bridge- Ditmars Street - Queens Bridge Park - 59th St. Bridge - Times Square
- Times Square - Brooklyn Bridge - Clinton Street - Prospect Park - Brooklyn Bridge - UN Building - Times Square
Ride Safely and Enjoy the Big Apple
Here are some bike trails in Manhattan
View Biking in NYC on a larger map
View Times Square to NJ and back on a larger map
View NY - Along the East River on a larger map
Here are some useful links
Books About New York City Bike Tours
More information about cycling in NYC can be found on several informative books. Take a look at these selected books: