I'm a very newbie rider in NYC. I only got interested in riding because I had a blast at last summer's Summer Street event where they closed streets in NYC, and I got to rent a free bike to ride from lower Manhattan into Central Park, and all around Central Park. Other than that, the last time I went riding was as a kid doing circles in a park.
But I finally decided to purchase a folding bike and do some more riding. But what paths are good for such beginners? Riding on the streets with the cars is definitely out of the question at this time due to my very woobly skills (I can ride fine, but starting up is a pain for me - or it can possibly be because the bike I rented was a tad too tall for me). I'm thinking Central Park, and NYC Greenway (though I never went there before). Any other safe paths worth taking? And especially since it's January right now, I don't want to be on icy road or a completely isolated road with no one around) I would be starting in lower manhattan.
Usually, what months are best for riding in NYC? Thanks.
From Lower Manhattan, you have a bunch of options.
The West Side Greenway from Battery Park to Inwood
The East Side MUP from Battery Park to E38th St.
Governor's Island ferry on Friday - Sunday (check the winter ferry schedule)
Central Park after 7 PM M-F and all weekend
Bridges to Brooklyn
Downtown traffic's not bad either for bikes since the cars usually just crawl along. You can get a NYC bike map from any bike store for free to help you plan out your routes along streets w/ bike lanes. Also observe other bikers like deliverymen to see how they mount and unmount and flow seamlessly into traffic. Then try it yourself.
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There are also protected bike lanes on 9th Avenue from 33rd down to 14th Street, Grand Street which runs from around Varick to Allen Street. There's also a new protected bike lane planned for Eighth Avenue from around Jackson Square running north, as a counterpart to the Ninth Avenue lane.
I ride all over, but when I take my g/f out for a ride (she hates riding in the streets) we usually head to the east side of the city's bike paths and we loop around to the west side and ride until we feel like coming back, or head into Brooklyn over the Willamsburg bridge.
Also, nothing beats riding in the spring and fall, for me at least. But, if you are out there riding now there is probably less people to get in your way on the bike paths, which might be a huge pain for a newbie.
1985 Trek 500, 1986 Trek 500 Tri Series, 2002 Orbea Team Euskaltel, 2005 Cannondale R1000
Def. less riders out there now. This will be noticeable as the parks and paths fill up in late spring. If you ride in those places consistently from now until then your skills and confidence should improve as more people take to the paths.
I don't want to be preachy and certainly don't want to start a heated debate on helmets (do a search and you will find a ton of those) but since you are just getting started you may want to consider a helmet purchase with your new bike. That, excellent eye protection with 100% UVA/UVB, and a very good pair of cycling gloves will go a long way to making you more comfortable and giving you a more secure feeling when you take on the mean streets. Naturally you will be better protected and more safe.
Finally, please take a moment and check out thesewebsites. There are rides of varying complexity and lengths and once you feel relaxed on the paths and in the park, you will probably enjoy riding the streets with many other people alongside you.
Ride safe, have fun, and hope to see you out on your bike sometime!!
Originally Posted by jsharr
People whose sig line does not include a jsharr quote annoy me.
Don't forget the Bronx. There are paths that go into Yonkers along The Bronx River Paths and paths that go to City Island & Orchard Beach. Look at teh Transportation Alternatives site and get the free NYC Bike map
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You can completely circumnavigate Manhattan and only ride on two miles of non-bike laned roads. Of the remaining 28 miles only about one mile is a bike lane on roads, everything else is protected lanes no traffic. The winter is fine for riding, less traffic, less aggressive bike traffic - just as long as there's no ice you're fine. Right now the roads are perfect for riding even if it's a bit nippy out
Check my sig for some NYC maps to see where the best paths are - some are a little tricky to find but ask away and we'll get you there. Also keep your eye on the Times-Up ride thread - perfect for newbies, bunch of us go on them because they're a lot of fun.