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My NYC plan; please critique thx

Old 02-04-15, 03:41 PM
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My NYC plan; please critique thx

Hey guys,

Looks like I will be coming in with a buddy for the Redhook Crit in April. I am hoping to race/qualify for the race but we are looking at doing some leisure riding as well.

Here is the basic plan.

Day 1. Friday (In From TX/arrive noonish). Staying in Brooklyn. Set up bikes. Get a few laps around Prospect Park then head south to Coney Island area.
Day 2. Saturday. Race qualifiers - early. If I make the main event then race it later in the day or option 2 is hang out and watch.
Day 3. Sunday. Ride from Brooklyn to Central Park. See some stuff along the way. Enjoy the sights, etc. Ride thru Harlem?

The big questions would be:
Day 1: Any suggestions for stops or sights in the Brooklyn area? Routes look plentiful. Things or areas to avoid.
Day 3: Which bridge is more bike friendly/preferred? Areas and or streets to avoid? Fun routes to hit up? We are basically looking to spend a day on the bike riding around NYC. Doesn't need to be bike path stuff. We can handle a little traffic/streets if need be. Any suggestions are appreciated.

We will not be doing the typical sights like Empire State, Statue of Liberty, etc. (been there done that with the family). We are really looking for interesting sights off the beaten path.

Thanks for your help!

KD
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Old 02-04-15, 04:17 PM
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The ONE thing I will tell you is avoid the Brooklyn Bridge like the plague! The Cycling lane is a joke. I prefer the Manhattan Bridge since it has the easiest climb and the cycle path and ped path are on opposite side. Williamsburg Bridge is ok, but a lot of peds walk on the cycle side and disregard the signs. Otherwise, there is still plenty of ice and slush on the streets so be forewarned.
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Old 02-05-15, 12:58 PM
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OK thanks! We'll be there the end of April. Hopefully all the ice will be gone by then!
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Old 02-05-15, 01:16 PM
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The Brooklyn Bridge advice is spot-on. I would also advise making the trip north through Manhattan via the Hudson River Greenway that goes up the West Side of Manhattan and going over the George Washington Bridge into NJ.

Once you get over the bridge, you're in Fort Lee, which in and of itself isn't fabulous, but if you want a longer trip, you can catch US Route 9W, which has some very scenic riding into New York State. If you don't have time and/or the desire for that, the trip over the bridge is worth it.
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Old 02-05-15, 02:13 PM
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The Hudson River Greenway is good as a car-free through route. (Though there are a few places where it is crossed by cars. And there are some red lights at which you have to stop in order to allow pedestrians to cross.)

But, if you are intending to actually see the City, then the Greenway is pretty remote, and doesn't really give you a feel of being in the heart of New York. For a better feel of the Manhattan streets, I would suggest using the Avenues to travel north and south. There are bike lanes on various stretches of several Avenues: northbound First Ave., Sixth Ave., Eighth Ave. / Central Park West; southbound Second Ave., Ninth/Columbus Ave.; two-way: St. Nicholas Ave.

The entire bike-lane network can be seen on Google Maps with the "bicycling" layer activated. It is impressive.

Of course, the bike lanes are not perfect; some idiot drivers will double-park in the bike lanes that are not physically separated. But, overall, the bike lanes have been transformative; the cumulative effect of bike lanes has been to make drivers in general more aware of cyclists.

Thanks to this phenomenon, even some Avenues without bike lanes are good to ride on, especially Madison Ave., a northbound road. (But you should stay to the far left of the street, in order to avoid the buses. For this reason, the bike lanes on the other one-way Avenues tend to be on the left.) Other non-bike-laned Avenues on which I have enjoyed riding are the Harlem sections of Seventh and Eighth Avenues (now most often called Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. and Frederick Douglass Blvd., respectively), both of which are two-way streets.

One final request, that perhaps is superfluous: please stop at red lights. Bicyclists get a bad name for ignoring the traffic laws; bicyclists who do this turn pedestrians (who should be our natural allies) against us. We don't want to contribute to that.

We have our bike lanes only because the previous mayor wanted to put them in, and because he hired a brilliant DOT head to get this done and courageously defended her against sustained attacks from newspapers and from other politicians (including the current mayor). The current mayor is not at all invested in bike lanes; there's no guarantee that they will survive. If bad bicyclst behaviour stokes enough resentment and anger amongst the rest of the public, we're going to lose our lanes. So every bicyclist who rides through a red light or who rides the wrong way on a street is effectively mounting a public campaign for the removal of our bike lanes.

(Sorry to have gone on about that final request. But it's pretty important.)
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Old 02-06-15, 05:57 PM
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There is a lot to see, and a friend and I are going to start up some bike tours of NYC, but I don't know when.

Central Park used to be a nice place to cycle, but now there are far too many wobbly once-a-year cyclists there, and they make it very hazardous. Prospect Park seems nicer. But you might want to see Central Park anyway. Just ride very slowly. Get off and walk your bike on the paths, as there is no cycling allowed on pedestrian paths in Central Park.

You are allowed to cycle on pedestrian paths in Riverside Park, and it is worth it. The views are spectacular. [MENTION=312026]Ferdinand NYC[/MENTION] points out that you won't be in the middle of the city, which is true, but it is worth taking. It is my commuting route, and it is the most heavily used bike path in the US. I think it's worth seeing.

If you do make it to the Central Park area, stop in at Zabar's for a picnic lunch. Shopping there is a very New York experience. Take your food to Central Park to eat. Zabar's is at 80th St and Broadway. Whenever I take tourists around NYC, I take them there.

Since you're going to hit crowded traffic anyway, I would say the Brooklyn Bridge is worth taking, because it's beautiful. If you want some sadistic fun, ride at 25 mph in the bike lane and graze the arm hairs of the tourists in the pedestrian lane. I do this sometimes. Be sure your bike has a bell, though. You will need it. Believe it or not, you might even get a ticket for not having one. But if you want an efficient crossing, the Manhattan Bridge is best. The Williamsburg Bridge is also very good and will give you that Brooklyn Hawd Kaw feel. Here are some pictures I shot crossing that bridge in July.

There is so much to see! You haven't allotted enough time!
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Old 02-08-15, 03:18 PM
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For a NYC cycling tour I'd recommend much of the above. 1st and 2nd Avenues take you through the east Village, Hudson River Greenway on the opposite side is a good place to get a feel for how NY'ers exercise outdoors, Manhattan Bridge is the better crossing. In Brooklyn, go into Williamsburg/Greenpoint and see how the hipsters live, all riding their fixies. Bedford Ave is the heart.

The ride out to Coney Island may not be worth spending the day unless you have your heart set on Nathan's hot dogs. Prospect Park though is my regular ride, at least 4 or 5 times a week I'll be through there on a bike, either commuting or riding hard.

PM me if you want an escorted ride through parts of Brooklyn if I'm available on the day. At least you'll avoid the bad riding spots that way.
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Old 02-11-15, 01:18 PM
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Wow guys! Just the detailed info I was looking for! Thanks I appreciate it. We'll be sure to stop for the lights. We have that same problem here as well and our club tries to enforce that as much as possible.

I do wish I had a longer stay planned but will be on Family vacation the previous week so I could only wrangle a few days off.

Thanks and I may take you up on that offer Zac.

K
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Old 02-12-15, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by KDTX
Wow guys! Just the detailed info I was looking for! Thanks I appreciate it. We'll be sure to stop for the lights. We have that same problem here as well and our club tries to enforce that as much as possible.

I do wish I had a longer stay planned but will be on Family vacation the previous week so I could only wrangle a few days off.

Thanks and I may take you up on that offer Zac.

K
I dunno specifically what bikes you'll be touring around on, but if it's proper racing bikes, and you plan to leave them on the streets to go up to the top of the Empire State Building, either bring secondary beater bikes, avail yourself of bikeshare, or bring locks that weigh significantly more than the race bike itself!

Me, I'd opt to just not leaving the bike, and eat street food!
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Old 02-20-15, 02:37 PM
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My suggestions: Follow along using Google Maps bicycling feature:

Brooklyn: Bike 1/2 the Prospect Park loop counter clockwise. Look for a sign on the right and exit at Park Circle. (Use Google maps) ..to head to Coney Island. Go the long way by entering the bike path at the NW end of Bay Ridge Ave, (bumpy in spots / smooth for a lot of it, has pedestrians, but for over 4 miles there are no cars and you can pick up speed with a decent view).

Ride east out of Coney and bike on Ocean Parkway N. The bike path ends blocks from Prospect Park. Complete the other 1/2 of the Prospect loop. That is apprx. 20 miles.

(If you want another 20 miles: From Coney Island, don't go onto Ocean Parkway. Go eastbound, through Sheepshead Bay and enter the path at the east end of Emmons Ave. Bike along the highway to Howard Beach and do a clockwise loop around Jamaica Bay, returning to Bklyn over the Marine Parkway Bridge.

For a ride to Manhattan, starting in Bklyn:

Scenic & Hipster way: Enter Bklyn Bridge Park at the west end of Atlantic Ave. Follow the bike path north. Take in the sites under the bridges and wiggle your way to Flushing Ave, follow to Kent Ave. to Williamsburg Bridge. Take it to Manhattan. Once there, you can get to 2 Ave. or use E. Houston St. to access the path along the FDR Drive, (but it ends on E.37). Work your way up to Central Park, do a loop. Options: continue north, go over George Washington Bridge into NJ, make a right. ...Or.. if you are skipping NJ, and going back to Bklyn from the park, you can either take the west side bike path, or take the Broadway bike path through Times Square. Work your way to the Brooklyn Bridge or Manhattan Br.

As others said: You can avoid the Bklyn & Williamsburg Bridges, but they are a big part of the 'NYC biking experience', especially BB. I like biking over it. You may want to save that for a family trip. It depends what you are after.

I've done these routes, several times separately and once as part of my own century.

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Old 02-20-15, 02:53 PM
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Yeah, I say go over at least one of the Brooklyn and Williamsburg Bridges. It may be annoying, but it's scenic. Let the commuters use the Manhattan Bridge.
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Old 02-20-15, 03:02 PM
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If you're going to go over the Brooklyn Bridge, do it early morning (before 7am) or late at night (after 11pm). Otherwise the bridge's pedestrian lanes (which are separated from the bike lanes by only a painted line) will be too crowded. Sure, the bridge view is scenic; but you won't be able to enjoy that view because you'll need to keep strict focus ahead in order to watch for pedestrians casually strolling into the bike lane.
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Old 02-20-15, 07:13 PM
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NYC publishes a free bike map. You can pick one up in any bike shop in the City. You can also download it here: NYC DOT - Bicycle Maps

It's been a very bad winter. The salt for melting snow/ice also removes bike lane paint. There will also be a lot of potholes - even in Prospect Park. April will be the beginning of the biking season. The NYPD may be in their annual ticket blitz mode against cyclists.

I second the advice about avoiding the Brooklyn Bridge. Your choice of Manhattan or Williamsburg Bridge alternate will depend on where you are staying in Brooklyn.

You can take your bike on the subway at any time. It's best to have a Metrocard in hand. Go up to the station agent and show your card. You will then go to a turnstile, swipe the Metrocard and turn the turnstile. The station agent will then open the exit gate. It helps to know which stations are handicapped accessible. You won't have to carry your bike up or down stairs.
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Old 02-21-15, 04:02 AM
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I've done the brooklyn bridge on bike (real hell, to much tourists and the bike path is to small), manhattan bridge: okay, no problems, Williamsburg bridge: okay, no problems, ed koch queensboro bridgekay, nice view.
Other parts and bridges: george washington bridge, cross bay boulevard to rockaway park.
Not shure about the Bayonne bridge on Jersey side, on my schedule for June this year.
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Old 02-21-15, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by stevevdb
Not shure about the Bayonne bridge on Jersey side, on my schedule for June this year.
The Bayonne Bridge bike path is closed until 2017.
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Old 02-22-15, 03:02 PM
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What's this "bike lane/path" on the Brooklyn Bridge that everyone keeps referring to? The Brooklyn Bridge only has two lanes, none of which allow the free movement of bicycles (hence cannot be called a "bike lane"). One is for very slow moving pedestrian traffic (0.1 mph) and the other is for stopping and taking selfies. The selfie lane has paint markings that from afar may resemble a bicycle, but closer inspection will reveal that it is actually a selfie stick with an iphone 6! Those two big circles that look like bicycle wheels are actually meant to represent people's heads! In terms of actually riding the bike, its probably easier to pedal your bike across the river than it is to pedal across the Brooklyn bridge.

Manhattan Bridge certainly has substantially less pedestrian traffic, but don't be fooled by the separate paths for pedestrians and cyclists; most people here are commuters who ride their bike across the bridge during rush hour. During midday and sometimes on weekend, you'll encounter quite a few pedestrians walking on the Manhattan Bike path. Even in this cold weather I regularly encounter them.

If you want scenic riding definitely ride the Queensboro and Williamsburg bridges. Once you get off the Queensboro bridge you'll be a couple blocks away from central park. The only issue with getting to the Queensboro bridge from Brooklyn is that you'll have to ride across (or possibly dismount and walk) the Pulaski bridge. Its very short with a negligible gradient but the crossing is a very narrow shared path that can barely accommodate one lane of traffic, but somehow they managed to squeeze two (opposite direction) lanes in there. It can get very tight especially if you're riding in one direction and a cyclist is coming at you in from the other direction; best case scenario you rub shoulders, but equally likely one of you will have to dismount to allow the other to pass.

One more thing...loud...audible...BELL! Get one of those...

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Old 02-22-15, 04:12 PM
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Stop whining.

Space on bridges is limited and precious. We fought very hard for these 30-40 years ago, and are happy to have them.

Are they ideal? Of course not, but they're very serviceable, and those of us who remember having to cross the Queensboro, Williamsburg and Manhattan bridges on the roadway deck are very happy to have these shared paths.

Yes, you'll have to maneuver around pedestrians, and tourists standing around looking at the sky, but that's life in the big city.

So please stop griping about what isn't and appreciate what is.

BTW- despite what may seem as a critical tone, my post isn't intended as such. It's just some perspective from someone with a long history of riding in NYC, and a reminder that things are actually pretty decent. NYC is a crowded place, and you have to accept that life in crowded places isn't like life in Big Sky Country.

(I'm sympathetic to the congestion and slow moving people issue, which is why I avoid NYC's bike lanes and prefer avenues without bike lanes where I can share the road with vehicles moving at speeds more similar to my own) OTOH - I prefer riding the pedestrian minefield at 3mph to swimming.
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Old 02-23-15, 12:56 PM
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Great Suggestions! Exactly what I was looking for.

Now an interesting bike question: Ok....I will be bringing just one bike. It's a SS/Fixie track bike. An older Aluminum Colnago with aluminum wheels; It's nice but not new by any means (about $1,000 used/retail as is). So I don't plan on leaving it on the street for any length of time but I do plan on chaining it up to get some lunch, pee breaks, take pictures, etc. I figure an hour tops when it's locked up. I don't plan on doing anything touristy like an extended 4 hour Empire State Building tour, etc. It will come into the hotel room at night.

Is this just too risky? I will have 2 u-locks and will lock up frame and wheels. I'm not worried about hauling around the locks.

I actually thought of bring a few random stickers and putting them over the name decals just to keep quick passer-by folks from noticing it. I figure I could peel them off when I got home.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-23-15, 01:19 PM
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[MENTION=158672]FBinNY[/MENTION] I get you. Its definitely better than nothing, but I can't help but envy European bike infrastructure.
[MENTION=153747]KDTX[/MENTION] If you don't have quick release skewers then you'll be fine with just a U-lock through the frame. AFAIK most of the bike thefts in NYC happen overnight or due to a rather poor lock job.
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Old 02-23-15, 04:31 PM
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DO lock your wheels up. You should be fine.
[MENTION=158672]FBinNY[/MENTION], I lived in Manhattan when I went to high school, and I often rode to Queens to visit my best friend. I remember the Queensboro Bridge before the bike lane. Oy, just thinking about it gives me shivers. And I still feel an emotional twinge when I ride on it, because I associate that bridge with danger.
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Old 02-23-15, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
DO lock your wheels up. You should be fine.
@FBinNY, I lived in Manhattan when I went to high school, and I often rode to Queens to visit my best friend. I remember the Queensboro Bridge before the bike lane. Oy, just thinking about it gives me shivers. And I still feel an emotional twinge when I ride on it, because I associate that bridge with danger.
IME, while the bridges were tough for a number or reasons, the expansion joints on the roadway deck of the Manhattan bridge were something truly special, especially for the uninitiated. I grew p in the northwest corner of the Bronx, and learned to master expansion joints on the Broadway Bridge at 225th street (or so). For such a short span, it had massive joints with wide slots. Who needs dangerous sewer gratings or trolly tracks when we get to ride these daily.
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Old 02-23-15, 04:54 PM
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Old 02-23-15, 08:51 PM
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I ride the Broadway Brisge to work. The expansion joints are better now. They look scary, but they're not dangerous.

I've tried reporting bike-tire-eating sewer grates on the city web site, but it says they're not taking these requests any more. WTF?!
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Old 02-24-15, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
I remember the Queensboro Bridge before the bike lane. Oy, just thinking about it gives me shivers. And I still feel an emotional twinge when I ride on it, because I associate that bridge with danger.
I remember the first time I rode over the Queensboro Bridge. It was 1981, long before the dedicated bike/pedestrian path on the north side-road.

At that time, both side-roads were in use for auto traffic for much of the day; and there were signs at the bridge's Queens entry that directed bicyclists to use the south side-road (on the Queens-bound side) during some hours and the north side-road (on the Manhattan-bound side) during some hours -- and even to forget about riding over the bridge and to take the subway during other hours.

My friend and I approached the bridge and looked at the signs. I remember that the signs were not clear, or perhaps contradictory. I also remember that neither side-road seemed to be in use at that moment. So, in order to be sure how to proceed, we approached a traffic cop who was on duty there and asked him what we should do. He instructed us to use the south side-road.

So off we went. And then, when we were part of the way through, that roadway was opened to cars from the Manhattan side. Queens-bound cars started coming towards us and then speeding past us with inches to spare, as we carefully continued our ride towards Manhattan.

There would have been no point in our getting off our bikes and walking; that would have made things worse, as we would then have taken up even more width. And there would have been no point in stopping, as the unbroken flow of cars was going to go on for many hours. We had no choice but to continue.

That was a bad fright; but luckily we made it without incident. But even on those occasions when I successfly worked out on which side-road I should be riding, the Queensboro Bridge had another psychological torture in store: the surface of the side-roads was unpaved grating. So a cyclist would look straight down and see water.

I am not normally afraid of heights; open windows, even high up, do not scare me. But looking straight down over water really bothered me. I would go through a cycle of 1) avoiding the Queensboro Bridge for long periods; 2) feeling ashamed of myself for giving in to such an irrational fear; 3) forcing myself to return to the bridge; 4) getting back on there and feeling a kind of inexplicable primal terror, resulting in my pedalling desperately to get off. Then back to Step 1 again.

So what we have now on that bridge seems luxurious to me.
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