NYC: Tourism and Cycling tips?
May 12, 2008 4:40 AM   Subscribe

NYC filter: What sort of fun cycling type things can I do when I'm in New York City (and/or NY state) for a few days this June (15th-19th sort of time)? Are bikes a good way of seeing the city? It will be my first time in the U.S. I like road bikes.
posted by takeyourmedicine to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Hey -- I love using my bike to see and explore the city (although there are streets that scare the hell out of me, mainly in parts of NYC/manhattan. Depends on the speed you want to go.

A couple pleasant rides to just see the city include the following:
--Going anywhere along Battery Park (southern tip of Manhattan) up to 185th St. 95% is on a bike path along the water. Warning: billions of walkers, dogs, and you will travel the speed of syrup at points - may or may not enjoy this. Could be a more enjoyable walk but it depends on the speed you want to go.

-Another cool ride is along the east side of Brooklyn on teh bike path, down to Coney Island (walk along the boardwalk), and you can continue riding out to the Rockaways. Any bike shop should have a bike map.

-If you want to get further out and travel faster, go over the George Washington bridge --travel beyond but very easy to bike out there.

Resources that may help you more:
-Bike map ( bike lane or better ways to travel on less busy streets):
Most bike stores have a map - get one as they also include subway stops if you get into trouble, bike stores if you need parts or a pump, etc.

-If you want to do this with a group, the 5bbc list rides and days. The smiley faced rides may be way too slow, but other than that, they will be open to strangers etc.

-Get some cue sheets from the NYYC wepage. THis club will also list rides but details will not be posted until probably a few days before the weekend.

It is hard to tell where you want to go/speed/what you enjoy etc - but if you want more info feel free to memail me - I've gone anywhere from 30 miles in the city (Brooklyn/Manhattan) to 100 miles out. Have fun
posted by Wolfster at 5:10 AM on May 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oops West side of Brooklyn - don't want to get you lost already.
posted by Wolfster at 5:25 AM on May 12, 2008

Seconding the trip through Brooklyn to Coney Island. You can ride the entire length of Manhattan along the rivers, as well.
posted by billtron at 6:32 AM on May 12, 2008

Response by poster: thanks for the tips so far. going fast would be good. I assume renting bikes is easy?
posted by takeyourmedicine at 6:37 AM on May 12, 2008

You should pay a visit to Times Up. NYC's Direct Action Environmental Organization (Read: bike activism).
posted by saxamo at 8:33 AM on May 12, 2008

if you have a few days and its nice out, throw your bike on the metro north out to Beacon and bike around the hudson valley, go to the Dia museum, etc. its a beautiful area with nice long roads and is a great corrective to city biking. that said, nyc is great for biking.
posted by yonation at 9:01 AM on May 12, 2008

You might already know about this as a veteran cyclist, but I just discovered Wayfaring, which lets you navigate the plethora of little one-way streets that confound even native Brooklyners. Using that site, you can plan out a trek similar to the one profiled in this article about touring the Brooklyn coast on two wheels.
posted by zoomorphic at 10:33 AM on May 12, 2008

Frankly, Manhattan is so crowded with people and cars, I'd just ditch the bike and walk, a bit slower but there is absolutely nothing better. Plus Manhattan isn't that large. Plus lots of places won't allow you to bring your bike inside and then you're stuck with it.

But if you want to do the outer boroughs,

Biking down Ocean parkway to Coney Island and then the Russian part of Brighton Beach is fun.

Staten Island, while hilly is good biking country. They've got a beautiful green belt system of parks and beaches that are less congested than Brooklyn.

Queens can be congested and is no architecturally winner, but, as a Queens native, you'll be in the most ethnically diverse place on the planet, and there is so many neighborhoods of interest, plus ethnic food to taste. The route across Cross Bay blvd to the Rockaways is a favorite of mine.

If you bike, then remember that unlike the rest of the US, people here walk. A lot. You will be dealing with massive amount of foot traffic. As much as, if not more than Europe.

Ergo, I am not necessarily constitiutionally averse to riding through red lights, but as a biker and a pedestrian....
Don't blow through red lights just because you don't see wheeled traffic. There might be pedestrians about to walk across the crosswalk. You might not see them if there is parked traffic. Don't stop along a crosswalk waiting for traffic to ease so you can go through the intersection. Pedestrians will be pretty pissed off at you if they have to walk in the road because you are blocking the pedestrian lane (crosswalk).
In other words, treat pedestrians the way you'd want cars to treat you.

Also I might want to point out that by June New York is hot and humid. Dress accordingly.
posted by xetere at 11:17 AM on May 12, 2008

Were I planning a bike trip in Manhattan in June, I swear to God I would just kill myself and save the motorists the trouble.

I worry enough about out of town drivers, never mind bicyclists. Bike paths in parks, and outer boroughs, fine. But for NYC streets, please do your mother a favour and just walk.

And for the love of God, make sure you have travel health insurance. You don't want to learn about the true costs of un-socialised medicine first hand.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:56 AM on May 12, 2008

Couldn't disagree with DarlingBri more. Nothing more exhilarating than biking the NYC streets!

Maybe you can ask Joshua Benson, NYC DOT bicycle program coordinator, some of your questions.
posted by thejoshu at 6:57 PM on May 12, 2008

Bikes are a great way to see the city but the traffic is brutal. After riding in Berlin going to back to NYC was a real shock. NYC traffic is chaos of the first order.

Still, wear a helmet, ride defensively and it is a great way to see the city. As well as the ride down (or up) the Hudson, I would also recommend going down 5th Ave., say from at least the Metropolitan Museum to Wash. Square park. It's a scenic slice of the middle, the meat of Manhattan and a lot of it is down-hill.

And seconding yonation's suggestion of a day trip up to Beacon/ Bear Mountain.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:50 AM on May 13, 2008

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