Biking in New York City: Where To Go

Travel Tips — By Alisha Miranda on March 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Tourist tip: avoid the high prices of taxis; go for public transit. Even better: get adventurous and hop on a bike!

Everyone has a different way of exploring a city. Some enjoy walking everywhere, others are fans of public transit systems, and more often today, lots of people are hitting the streets on bicycles. New York is no different. In recent years, there has been an up rise in bike safety including the improvements of bike lanes in outer boroughs and creation of bike-enthusiast groups. With organizations like BikeNYC leading the inspiration for biking commuters, New York is on its way to becoming a more bike-friendly metropolis.

But don’t be intimidated, you don’t need to be an expert to enjoy biking around this city. Even more so, biking is one of the best alternative ways to see prime views of New York’s skyline, go visit off the beaten path areas, and meet other like-minded folks. Families can get in on the bike craze too!

Bells on Bloor - Ultimate Family Bike

Here’s how to take advantage of biking in New York City with tips from some of this city’s bike geeks:

Kerrin Sheldon of Gowanus, Brooklyn considers himself more of a “racer” but recommends newbies to hit up Prospect Park:

“Prospect Park is a great place for a bike ride, especially on the weekends (it’s closed off to all traffic). The loop is about 3.5 miles, so doing a couple of laps or even going on the large trails throughout the park is a good time. Biking in Prospect Park rules.”

Other areas in Brooklyn that make for good first-time visits are waterfronts like Coney Island’s boardwalk and along Red Hook. Melissa Andrada, a fellow Brooklynite by way of Seattle, says:

“One of my favorite bike rides is Williamsburg to Red Hook. Super safe, beautiful, pretty much a bike path the whole way.”

If you prefer to stay on the island of Manhattan, head to the west side. It’s one of Melissa’s favorites, and Kerrin attests:

“Western Manhattan has a nice bike lane up the entire side of the island. When I go over there to play soccer I always see families and people biking.”

Lower Manhattan is also a good place for first-timers to try. Check out Battery Park along the Hudson River for protected bike paths and calmer crowds (i.e. less bike messengers). Feeling ambitious? Hop on the ferry to Governors Island for all-day biking fun.

Jeff Lagasca of Williamsburg recommends the art and music events at Governors Island:

“Take a picnic around the colonial naval housing. There are a lot of art festivals going on like Figment Fest (which sometimes lasts all summer) and Gov Ball if you want to check out music.”

Even bike rides outside of the city are great to take advantage of if you have the time. Joy Andrada of Chinatown takes trips Upstate not only to escape the overwhelming city here, but to get closer to nature’s best views:

“For families I’d recommend a bus ride to Storm King and bike rentals to explore the grounds. Storm King is a huge sculpture park in the Hudson Valley with some epic scenery. You can’t use your own bike unfortunately but they have cruisers you can rent pretty affordably. Visiting was one my highlights last summer. “

To get started on your biking adventures in New York, visit the websites below which include information on rental shops, upcoming bike tours and events:

New York Bike Share System

Bike and Roll

Bike Rentals

Bike NYC

Things to Do: Biking

Enjoy the ride!

Tags: battery park, bike rentals, bikenyc, biking, biking in new york city, brooklyn, coney island, governor's island, manhattan, prospect park


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