New York is a walker and biker-friendly city with a good network of streets and bike lanes to further encourage people to take ecologically and health-friendly choices. Access to public transportation is also one of the best in the US, making it easy for anyone to travel around even without a car.
For first-time visitors, however, it can be a confusing game with so many streets and lanes that crisscross, leading you to wholly different areas that in turn may be difficult for you to trace your way back. Locals, of course, know the areas at the back of their hands. But for first-time and occasional visitors, finding your way can be a pain, especially if you want to explore the city.
While doing a walking tour around New York is an excellent way to see New York, riding a bike is a better option if you want to go places and see more in a short amount of time. When you do a bike tour, you get to visit sites around the city and even those in suburban areas, and you can also park your bike every time you need to get inside a shop. Biking gives you more flexibility without compromising on time and the places that you want to see.
With a lot of bike routes available in New York, what are the best bike itineraries to take? The best city routes are in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island; and the best trail or park routes are in Central Park, Prospect Park, Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, South/North County Trail, and River Road. We will only give our top favorites, so if you want to know more about the other routes, feel free to ask for them from New York’s Visitor Information Center.
These itinerary bike recommendations are not only for visitors but also for locals who want to explore their own city:
1. Central Park
Central Park is our top favorite bike route because it is like having a trail ride in the city. It’s impressive to find a park this lush in the middle of an urban jungle, and it’s the best way to de-stress and explore another part of the overcrowded city. Several landmarks can also be viewed from this route, like the Bethesda Fountain, Conservatory Water, the Alice and Wonderland statue, the Strawberry Fields and the Imagine Mosaic, and, much to many visitors’ surprise, a gothic palace called Belvedere Castle. These are just some of the iconic markers you will see if you go on a Central Park bike tour. And, don’t forget the food stalls and carts that are sights in themselves. Help yourself to a small snack and drink as you soak in your park experience.
A word of caution, though. You will be sharing the road with vehicles unless it’s a car-free hour, so be mindful as you bike.
2. Brooklyn Bridge
Another top favorite is the Brooklyn Bridge, which is one of the best spots to view the sunrise and sunset from. The bridge gives you a good view of Manhattan and Brooklyn as you enjoy the fresh air that the East River brings. Many walkers, joggers, and bikers pass through this bridge especially before and after office hours, so it is a fun environment to be in. One popular area to visit while you are here is Brooklyn Bridge Park. There is also a two-way bike lane along Pier 1 and 6 which is the best area if you want to have a good skyline view.
Central Park and Brooklyn Bridge are our top two favorite bike routes because they provide plenty of opportunities to explore the city. Not only do these paths lead to some of New York’s best places, but they are also exciting areas in themselves with great views of the city’s greenery and skyline. New York is strict with its road laws, so if you intend to rent a bike, make sure you use the helmet provided, and that you only bike on permitted areas and lanes.