Best Bike Routes in New York City

categories: USA Travel

New York City – so much to see, so many ways to see them. Here are some of my favorite cycling places around the city.

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Where You Can Do A Cycling Trip in New York City

In addition to the impressive city vista, anyone who visits the Big Apple talks about their subway experience or walking adventures. New York is one of the most walking-friendly cities, and due to over 1,200 bike lanes and routes, it’s bike-friendly too!

This mode of transportation has become increasingly popular amongst locals and tourists to navigate the city more easily.

There are many reasons to choose to ride a bike today over any other mode of transportation. Maybe the weather’s perfect, or your go-to subway line is undergoing service suspension, or perhaps you want to save on spin classes and cycle out in the open air. Whatever your reason is, there are many places to take a cycling trip.

 

Safety First

You will need to be extra careful when biking around urban areas. Bicycles share the streets with all other vehicles, and cyclists will need to follow the road rules. This also means you may want to think twice before biking on the sidewalks or running a red light.

As for signaling to other vehicles or pedestrians, you can brush up on your hand signals or do it the New Yorker way and yell, ‘on your right’, ‘turning left’, ‘move out of the way!’

When biking during sunny days between spring and fall, remember to slather on sunscreen to avoid burning exposed areas. Helmets are highly recommended but not mandated by law (unless you’re under 14).

If you don’t already have a preferred bike, I would highly recommend renting one through Fancy Apple: the trusty bike rentals in Central Park. We offer a variety of bike options so you can still go on many biking adventures regardless of your experience.

Famous Landmarks

Whenever you’re ready, start pedaling to begin your adventure.

Brooklyn Bridge (1.9 mi)

Bike across the iconic bridge to enter one of the most Instagram-friendly areas of Brooklyn.

Directions:

  1. Head northwest on E Broadway towards Chatham Square and turn left for one block and turn right after Citibank (less than 0.1 mi)
  2. Turn left onto Federal Plaza/Lafayette St (0.3 mi)
  3. Continue for 0.1 mi onto Centre St before turning left onto Brooklyn Bridge Promenade (less than 0.1 mi)
  4. Bike across the Brooklyn Bridge (1.1 mi)
  5. Upon exiting the Brooklyn Bridge, turn right onto Tillary St and right again onto Cadman Plaza E (0.3 mi) to continue onto Washington St

You can turn left onto York St before turning right onto Front St if you would like to stop by the Brooklyn Flea Market or turn left and then right to end up on Water St for a photo-op with the Brooklyn Bridge or Manhattan Bridge with the NYC skyline in the background.

While you’re here, you can stop by Jane’s Carousel to relive your youth or take a breather around the park. You can also bike across Dumbo, one of New York’s historic neighborhoods filled with fantastic food.

Biking in NYC

Union Square Park to Times Square (2 – 3.5 mi)

For when you want to experience biking through the city.

Directions:

  1. You can choose to begin at the Brooklyn Bridge and work your way up or begin near Central Park and work your way down.
  2. Brooklyn Bridge (3.5 mi)
  3. Head northwest on E Broadway towards Chatham Square and turn left for one block and turn right after Citibank (less than 0.1 mi)
  4. Turn right onto Mulberry St and continue for 0.7 mi
  5. Make a quick left onto Prince St before turning right onto Lafayette (236 ft)
  6. Continue on Lafayette St that will continue as 4th Ave (0.9 mi)
  7. You’ll begin near the famous George Washington statue in Union Square and head west down 15th St (0.3 mi)
  8. Turn right onto 6th Ave (also known as Avenue of the Americas) for 1.4 mi during which you’ll pass by the Empire State Building to your right and Bryant Park. Both areas get extremely pedestrian and vehicle heavy, so save your photo-ops for after you dismount.
  9. You turn left onto 43rd St and continue along 7th Ave to enjoy all that Times Square has to offer.
  10. Central Park (2 mi)
  11. Take W 55th St towards Broadway before turning left onto W 48th St (0.3 mi)
  12. Take a quick right onto 7th Ave/Times Square (0.3 mi) before turning right onto W 42nd (171 ft) and continuing on Broadway (0.8 mi)
  13. You’ll then turn left onto W 25th St and head toward Madison Square Garden before turning right onto 5th Ave to pass by the Flat Iron Building (0.4 mi)
  14. Soon you’ll turn left onto E 16th St and continue for 0.1 mi before arriving at Union Square.

Either path you choose, there’s so much to see as you’re biking through the heart of the city.

Central Park

Central Park (6.5 mi)

One of the largest green spaces New York City has to offer.

Directions:

  1. Take 54th St to 6th Ave (0.2 mi)
  2. Continue on 6th Ave for five blocks to enter Central Park

We can’t talk about biking around New York City without talking about Central Park. This iconic space is filled with hidden and classic areas to bike by and is a marvel to see year-round. Here various landscapes fit together, from woods to gardens to reservoirs teeming with wildlife not seen immediately outside of the park’s gates.

The three main paths consist of 1.7 mi, 5.2 mi, and 6.1 mi, respectively, designed to connect you to some of New York’s main museum attractions that include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History.

See some of Central Park’s most iconic spots, such as Shakespeare’s garden, the Belvedere Castle, and the Loeb boathouse from these paths.

47.HudsonRiverGreenway.NYC.7April2019

Hudson River Waterfront Greenway (6 mi)

Bike ride with the waterway and a park on one side and the cityscape on the other.

Directions:

  1. Take W 55th St towards Broadway and turn left towards Hudson River Greenway (0.8 mi)
  2. Continue to follow directions towards Hudson River Greenway (0.2 mi)

If you’re looking for a long, uninterrupted stretch of greenery on one side and the Hudson River on the other, this is the place for you. It spans over 11 miles in a total of fully paved bike paths, relatively isolated from the city’s street traffic between Battery Park and the George Washington Bridge.

The directions take you to the middle of the path, so you get to choose which side of the city you want to see first. Since this path bikes along some major NYC must-see’s, it’s one of the best ways to check off-sites. Here are some of my favorite places along the path:

Hudson River Waterfront Greenway – Biking North

For those who prefer greenery to skyscrapers. As you pedal further away from midtown, you’re greeted with tall trees, a cool breeze from the Hudson River, and delightful bird songs.

  • Hudson River Park: as one of the longest riverfront parks in the United States, this park is always filled with public recreational events and great restaurants in the surrounding area.
  • Riverside Park: This park is widely regarded as Manhattan’s most spectacular; and for a good reason. Between 100th and 125th, dozens of cherry blossoms line the side of the bike path and are glorious during the cherry blossom season.
  • George Washington Bridge/Fort Washington Park: As you arrive in the north, most areas of Manhattan, the view changes dramatically from tall buildings to towering cliffs and meadows. The area also boasts the Little Red Lighthouse, Manhattan’s only lighthouse.

  • Fort Tyron Park/The Cloisters: Here, you can unpack a picnic and enjoy incredible views of the Hudson River in NYC’s most extensive public garden. If you visited the Met earlier in the day, you could continue looking at well-preserved art and architecture at the Met Cloisters or even catch a concert there.

Hudson River Waterfront Greenway – Biking South

If you prefer to see more of the city without worrying about vehicular traffic, this is the path for you.

  • Hudson Yards/The Vessel: Hudson Yards is NYC’s newest neighborhood with plenty of shops to stop by, restaurants to experience, and permanent art installations (such as the Vessel) to see. All while giving you some of the best views of the Hudson River from mid-Manhattan.
  • Chelsea Piers: The best place to workout with a view. From floating golf courses, a ski rink, to dozens of fitness classes, Chelsea Piers will have what you’re looking for.
  • Chelsea Market: In complete contrast to the Chelsea Piers, the Chelsea Market comprises of everything else. It is a shopping area, a food hall, a television production facility.

  • One World Trade Center: After passing a few more picturesque piers, you’ll find yourself around the 9/11 Memorial and Museum with incredible views of One World Trade Center.
  • Battery Park: At the end of your journey, you’ll arrive at Battery Park, where you can follow the signs towards the ferry terminals for a quick ferry ride to see the Statue of Liberty or continue a bike ride across Governor’s Island.

Brooklyn Bridge Park (2.3 mi)

The most incredible views of lower Manhattan.

Directions:

  1. After following the above directions across the Brooklyn Bridge, turn left onto Front St and another sharp left onto Dock St.
  2. You’ll make another left toward Old Fulton St, which you’ll stay on for 0.1 mi before continuing onto Furman St (0.3 mi).
  3. Upon arrive at Brooklyn Bridge Park, you’ll have a great view of Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge together.

For an even better view of lower Manhattan, you can bike through the park and into Red Hook, where you can grab a quick snack while you enjoy the views of the city skyline or the Statue of Liberty.

How about Having an Entire Island to Yourself?

One of the unique features of New York City compared to most other famous cities is the number of smaller islands that surround it. Here are the most accessible ones by bike:

Governor’s Island (9 mi)

The embodiment of history, culture, and art.

Directions:

  1. Take Catherine St down to E River Bikeway (0.2 mi)
  2. Continue down E River Bikeway until you arrive at Governor’s Island – Battery Maritime ferry station (1 mi)
  3. Upon arriving at Governor’s Island, you have seven miles free of cars circled by nature and the NYC skyline. While you’re here, take your time enjoying all the artwork surrounding the park and public spaces.

Closer to sunset, you can make your way up the Hill, Governor’s Island newest development, unpack any snacks and take in the breathtaking beauty surrounding you.

Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island (6.5 mi)

The juxtaposition of serene nature and urban modernity.

Directions:

  1. Take 54th St to 6th Ave (0.2 mi)
  2. Continue 6th Ave for five blocks and turn onto W 59th St/Central Park S (0.3 mi)
  3. Continue until you turn left onto Madison Ave (0.3 mi) which you will take to E 62nd St (0.1 mi)
  4. After turning right onto E 6nd St (0.4 mi), you bike for a few blocks until you turn left onto 2nd Ave (0.1 mi)
  5. You will bike for a few ft before arriving at the Roosevelt Island Tramway that you can take to the island.

One of New York’s smallest neighborhoods and it’s a hidden gem most tourists don’t know about. Fun fact, this private urban village is bike-friendly!

Conclusion

There are many incredible spaces to go on a cycling trip around New York City and many more in the works. Take your bike out today and go on an adventure!

Best Bike Routes in New York City | Best Bike Paths in New York City #new-york #bike #cycling #bicycle #NYC

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by Faridun Mukhtorov

Faridun is the current head of Fancy Apple, an entrepreneur who has been in the tourism industry for over 10 years and has a passion for sharing hidden gems with those that visit New York City.

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