From Point A to Point B, Here’s The Best Bike Routes in NYC
There's been more public and municipal support of NYC biking this past decade than ever before. Though, it should be noted, there's still a lot to done in making the idea of getting around town on your bicycle an acceptable and also super convenient way to do that and, in fact, also energizing and fun. If you want to go on a ride that's a bit more leisurely OR a bit more race-y, most of the city's best bike routes are old favorites, with one crucial exception.
The Hudson River Greenway Biking
First, the newest entry into NYC's best bike routes: the Hudson River Greenway, which actually extends far beyond those west-side waters and takes you almost around the entire perimeter of Manhattan. Yup, where once, and not so long ago, was all rotting piers, burned-out cars, and piles of refuse, is now a continuous strip of waterfront parkland, with bike path, extending all the way up to the Cloisters on the west side (this is an excellent ride from the UWS… or from Tribeca, if you're ambitious), and, with some caveats, 200th Street on the east.
The To-Go NYC Bike Routes
For uptown Manhattanites on both sides of the island, the go-to bike ride remains the Central Park Loop, just over six miles of smooth road surface with enough hills (both up and down) to keeps things interesting. This is obviously better when it's closed to cars, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and then again from 7:00 – 10:00 on weekdays, and all weekend long.
For something different, head over to Brooklyn's Prospect Park, where the nearly 3.5-mile loop is closed to cars at all times except weekdays during the evening rush hour. Biking Governors Island was much more fun before construction began on the southern half of the park two summers ago. This year, although access to those lovely waterside paths is a little more extensive, you still can only go about half way around the island before being turned back. Still good for little kids, though, and of course you always have the option afterwards to join in on all the other fun stuff going on in Governors Island this summer.
Ride Safe on Protected Bike Lanes
And if you really want to GO somewhere while getting your exercise, try the great Ocean Parkway Bike Path, a protected, bicycles-only lane which you can take all the way out to Coney Island, where you can then hop on their newest roller coaster, the Thunderbird! By the way this NYC Bike Maps site, which I've already linked to twice in this post, is excellent for everyday use as well, when you're trying to figure out the safest (and most pleasant) ride from Point A to Point B. I use it all the time before heading out on a unfamiliar route; it makes such a difference to ride on a "bike path/greenway" rather than a more exposed (and often blocked by double-parkers) "bike lane".