Finding the best bike routes in New York City is a sure way of getting both an authentic experience and an insider perspective of the Big Apple.
The bike routes therein provide more than just a way to get to know New York. If you have a regular commute, the bike routes offer you an escape from the infamous traffic within the city.
We’ve identified 3 of the best routes to consider. The routes listed below promise to provide relief from the borough’s narrow, potholed streets of NYC.
The Classic Central Park Loop
Riding within the city’s most famous park is almost synonymous with eating a bagel or getting into the famous yellow cabs! Basically, it is something every native and visitor to the city needs to do at least once.
Consider starting the loop at Columbus Circle or the Engineers’ Gate at the 90th Street entrance on Fifth Avenue. Using either of these as your starting point means that you can follow the bike track around counterclockwise. Note that the loop is a total of six miles that features a few moderate hills and rather steep ones close to the northeast corner.
It would be prudent to mention that this route is mostly for the riders looking for a leisurely bike ride. In the event that you find the six miles too great a challenge, you can cut the loop short and leave through the 100th Street exit. From here, you can head west or loop off the southern tip at 72nd Street and head straight for the ponds.
Here, you can enjoy the different ice cream on offer or indulge in some cocktails and a meal at the Boathouse. It would also be best not to cycle clockwise, except, of course, if you want to cut-through to the 72nd Street. While you might not get arrested or fined for doing so, you just might crash into other riders. Also, be aware that you will likely have to deal with other cyclists making sudden stops at the pedestrian red lights.
The Manhattan Loop
The Manhattan loop can best be described as a fitness challenge if you leave your pedal assist off. If you make that choice, then this route is for the cyclist feeling adventurous and confident with just how fit they happen to be (never fear, if you can’t make it, just turn pedal assist on and enjoy the view).
This loop involves cycling around the bottom half of Manhattan, which is relatively safe as you have the option of using the traffic-free or cycle lanes available.
Consider starting at the front of the South Ferry terminal. This would essentially be the southern tip of the loop. From here, you can head east or counterclockwise along the bike lane that is right next to the East River. Using this route, you are going to end up passing under the thundering arches of both the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. You should be able to enjoy the picturesque views of both Brooklyn and Alphabet City.
As you approach 34th Street, cut across to First Avenue and stay on the bike path north. Admittedly, there is pretty nothing marvelous to see along this stretch. If you stay along the protected bike route, you should be able to go through Midtown East and most of the Upper East Side.
Soon as you get to 91st Street, take a left onto the demarcated bike path, which should then lead you to Fifth Avenue and all the way into Central Park. You can exit at the street too and take on the Hudson River Route.
The downside of this loop is that you have to wiggle through the streets as you make your way to the Upper East and West sides. What’s more, you need to be aware that you will likely end up making odd detours, especially due to the constant construction sites on your way. Still, if you take on this route early in the morning or later afternoon, you should enjoy the beauty that is the sun over the Hudson.
Randall’s Island Loop
If you are keen on a completely traffic-free ride with breathtaking views of Manhattan, consider the Randall’s Island route. The latter, located in the middle of the East River, is not as famous as the other loops discussed, but you still get to get in quite a workout either on your commute or leisure ride.
This loop starts at East End Avenue, which is the 88th Street entrance of Carl Schurz Park. You can then cycle through the park all the way to the river. On your way, you go past Gracie Mansion, and if you continue north, you will end up at the vast green footbridge that crosses the river.
If you cycle the loop counterclockwise, you have a couple of miles right next to the water, which then gives you a great view of Manhattan. You need to be aware of the different climbs that then lead you to under the arches of the Hell Gate Bridge.
From here, you can cycle left and connect to the road right outside the New York Fire Department’s training academy. You can also take a detour that will have you cycling along the water through the bike lane past the Icahn Stadium. If you want to enjoy more of the water, you can also get onto the river ferry to get to Carl Schurz Park. A neat feature is that bikes are allowed onto the ferry.
Whether you are taking a leisure bike ride or on a commute, these NYC bike routes offer you great contrasts between the mind-boggling urban jungle and undisturbed green spaces. For each, you get to be both on busy up-town streets and sudden bursts of green spaces that should leave you refreshed.
NYC has evolved to be a bike-friendly city with segregated bike pathways and safe little shortcuts that should provide you with a great look into the diversity of the city. As you take on these routes, it would be prudent to get a bike lock set-up dialed. Additionally, consider mapping out the route you intend to take, especially if you are unfamiliar with the streets.
Overall, remember riding in NYC is all about being confident in your riding skills. Wear a helmet and go explore NYC today!