Best Bike Rides New York City  by Mary Staub

Best Bike Rides New York City Guide Book

by Mary Staub (Falcon Guides)
Best Bike Rides New York City  by Mary Staub
This book is geared toward anyone interested in exploring all that the city has to offer via bike. The rides were designed to cover the city’s best cycling spots and to explore distinct neighborhood landscapes. The aim was to cater to recreational riders looking to expand their cycling repertoire and also to serve urban explorers looking to get to hidden corners of New York City. Lovers of green spaces, waterfronts, scenic views, cultural sites, historic roots, and more should all find multiple routes that speak to them in this book. Recreational riders of almost any level can complete these rides, and no high- tech cycling gear is needed, just common sense, sound health, and a properly equipped, well- functioning bicycle.

© 2014 Mary Staub/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Best Bike Rides New York City" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 40.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 40.

This bike route leads you from the pulsating southern Bronx to the calm of the Bronx’s more exclusive northern neighborhoods of Fieldston and Riverdale. You’ll shoot north along multiple miles of on-road bike lanes, through various Bronx communities, past numerous colleges, and alongside striking old stone churches. You’ll then enter the hilly terrain of Fieldston and Riverdale, where winding, tree- lined roads lead past lavish stone residences. Stop off at Wave Hill, a public garden and cultural center, if you wish, for sweeping views of the Hudson River and Palisades. Then return along the Harlem River to your starting point.
Bronx, NY - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 19.6
This great escape from New York City begins with a car- free voyage high above the Hudson River along the George Washington Bridge, where superb views extend far north and south. The ride continues in New Jersey on the other side, where a riverside road undulates high and low along the steep cliffs of the Palisades. You can rest at a riverfront picnic spot mid- journey before scaling the Palisades from bottom to top and returning to the George Washington Bridge via Bike Route 9.
Harlem, NY - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 21.7
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This journey travels along more than 9 miles of the Bronx’s extensive grid of car- free greenways, which connect park spaces throughout the borough. Cutting through Van Cortlandt Park, you’ll cycle past the borough’s largest freshwater lake, the country’s oldest public golf course, and along wooded pathways. A major greenway artery along Mosholu Parkway then leads you south to another major Bronx park, Bronx Park, where you’ll cycle to the borough’s northern border along the Bronx River. On your return journey, stop off at the New York Botanical Garden, if you wish, before returning to Van Cortlandt Park.
Bronx, NY - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 9.7
This route leads past Staten Island’s prime coastal defense bastion of Fort Wadsworth, where fortification remnants stand tall beside the towering Verrazano- Narrows Bridge. You’ll then cycle along the island’s sweeping South Beach coast all the way south to Miller Field, a former Air Force airfield turned recreational spot. Bay views and beach breezes accompany you along most of this ride, making it a great option for anyone in need of a city getaway. It’s also a good option for those less confident with city cycling as most of the journey is on separated greenways.
Staten Island, NY - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 14.4
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This route traverses the East River via its two southernmost bridges and visits the downtown areas of the two boroughs they connect—Manhattan and Brooklyn. You’ll pass Brooklyn’s Fulton Ferry Landing, one of the borough’s most historic spots, where ferries to Manhattan launched in 1642. You’ll then cross the East River via its oldest bridge, cycle down some of Manhattan’s oldest alleés in downtown Manhattan, and return to downtown Brooklyn via the Manhattan Bridge.
Williamsburg, NY - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 13
This route leads through Brooklyn Bridge Park to the waterfront neighborhood of Red Hook, surrounded by water on three sides. Bustling with longshoremen and dockworkers from the 1850s to 1950s, the neighborhood today maintains a relaxed, maritime vibe. This leisurely ride affords waterfront views, leads along cobblestone roads, brushes past homes and businesses with seaside decor, and abuts Civil War–era warehouses- turned- artist- galleries. It then offers ample opportunity to enjoy the sculpted piers and parks of Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Williamsburg, NY - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 7.5
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From Central Park’s bustling main gateway at Grand Army Plaza, this tranquil ride leads along car- free park drives through the 840 acres that make up Central Park, the city’s fifth- largest park system. En route, you can stop off at numerous major park landmarks—from the ancient Obelisk near the Metropolitan Museum of Art to Bethesda Terrace; from the sprawling Sheep Meadow at the park’s southern end to the tranquil Conservatory Garden in the north. Explore Belvedere Castle, Strawberry Fields, or the park’s grand Mall along the way, and circumnavigate the park once more at the end of your journey because there’s always more to see.
Manhattan, NY - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 7.1
This ride journeys along the nation’s oldest bike path, leading you from the greens of Prospect Park to the blues of the Atlantic Ocean at Coney Island. The protected greenway passes through the diverse neighborhoods of Kensington, Midwood, and Gravesend, where you’re as likely to see a hijab as a tichel. The beach boardwalk then leads you past Coney Island’s century- old rides and Brighton Beach’s Little Odessa.
Brooklyn, NY - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 18.7
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Several days a week, Union Square, at the starting point of your journey, hosts one of the city’s largest farmers’ markets, where regional farmers peddle produce much like earlier settlers did via pushcart on the streets of the Lower East Side in the nineteenth century. Some of these early pushcart enterprises grew into thriving businesses that continue to serve the community today. This ride tours through the vibrant neighborhoods of the East Village, the Lower East Side, Chinatown, and Little Italy, passing several such longstanding establishments—cafes, eateries, bars, and merchants— along the way. It’s a great ride for anyone interested in the city’s early ethnic enclaves, a taste for Old World specialty foods, and some urban cycling savvy.
Manhattan, NY - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 7.3
This route leads you from Brooklyn College via Marine Park to historic Floyd Bennett Field, the city’s first municipal airport. Today, the decommissioned airport serves as helicopter base and an array of other purposes—model airplane gliding, nature excursions, and bike racing, to name a few. The wide-open runways and winds from Jamaica Bay make for an exhilarating cycling experience. The ride is adaptable to distinct levels of cycling comfort, with an alternate starting point at Floyd Bennett Field itself, bypassing the road portion of this route.
New York City, NY - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 16.4
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Flushing Meadows Corona Park encompasses almost 900 acres of sprawling lawns, ball fields, a placid lake, and more. This leisurely route leads along tree-covered park alleés and lakeside paths and passes innumerable recreational spots and relics from two twentieth- century World’s Fairs. Just north of the park, the route leads to Flushing Bay Promenade, a 1.5-mile greenway with bay views and sea breezes. This park journey is great for anyone looking for a relaxing break from city streets.
Queens, NY - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 10.1
This route leads from Fort Greene Park through the historic neighborhood of Fort Greene, known for being more diverse than most New York communities. One of Fort Greene’s most celebrated cultural icons, the author Richard Wright, was an early harbinger of this trend. Following in his footsteps, you’ll cycle past elegant brownstones into the historic parts of the neighboring communities of Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, and Bedford- Stuyvesant before returning to Fort Greene Park, where Wright’s bench at the park’s summit forms an ideal spot for a post- ride picnic.
Williamsburg, NY - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 7.5
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Forest Park comprises 540 acres of woodlands, wetlands, and outdoor recreational terrain. This route leads through the park’s peaceful pine grove, amongst majestic oaks, and over softly rolling forest terrain. On weekends, the park attracts cyclists, joggers, families, and other outdoor enthusiasts, but rarely gets overly crowded.
Queens, NY - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 8
This tranquil ride on car-free Governors Island takes you past historic forts, nineteenth- century buildings, arts enclaves, and sprawling lawns that offer a welcome respite from the hectic nature of city life. A half-day on the island will carry you back to the nineteenth century, when most of the redbrick buildings here served as officer housing units. Bring food, water, and a picnic blanket, and enjoy some time away from urban life. It’s a great ride for families, too.
Williamsburg, NY - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 4
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This ride leads through residential neighborhoods with a suburban feeling to the Staten Island Greenbelt, 2,800 acres of interconnected natural and sculpted green spaces. Along the way, stop off at the College of Staten Island’s parklike campus, skirt the edge of Freshkills Park, and explore LaTourette Park’s woodlands and wetlands. Cycle through the historic seventeenth- century parish of Richmond Town, test your uphill biking powers on Lighthouse Hill, and dig deeper into Staten Island’s flora and fauna at the Greenbelt Nature Center. Return to your starting point via railway or beachfront bikeway.
Staten Island, NY - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 23.9
This tour gives you unique perspectives of the city’s harbor life—first from afar and then from up close. You’ll cycle through the southwest Brooklyn communities of Sunset Park and Bay Ridge to visit two tucked- away neighborhood parks on hills—Owl’s Head Park and Sunset Park—each offering unobstructed views of the harbor below. Then bike along 9 miles (out and back) of waterfront greenway, flanking those same New York waters. Sunset Park and Owl’s Head Park are two out-of- the - way parks that both offer far-reaching views of New York’s harbor life and Manhattan’s jagged skyline. Bike lanes connect them both to Prospect Park, making them great to reach by bike. From Prospect Park, catch the bike lane along Fort Hamilton Parkway, heading southwest.
Brooklyn, NY - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 19.3
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Founded in the seventeenth century by Dutch farmers, Harlem became a nexus of cultural awakening during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s. From the Apollo Theater and Sugar Hill, to Striver’s Row and the Abyssinian Baptist Church, this ride takes you past innumerable spots that hark back to Harlem’s cultural heyday and continue to define the neighborhood today.
Harlem, NY - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 11.1
Jamaica Bay is part of the 26,000-acre Gateway National Recreation Area and one of the most important wildlife refuges in the country, encompassing natural habitats that range from bay waters to salt marsh to upland fields. Taking in an area that’s larger than Manhattan, it harbors more than 330 species of migratory birds. This ride circumnavigates the bay along 20 miles of bikeways, crossing creeks and estuaries along the way, and brushing through a range of eco- systems. From the bridgeway peaks you’ll catch some singular views of the diminutive skyline and Verrazano- Narrows Bridge in the distance and a stretch of boardwalk biking brings you to the ocean.
Brooklyn, NY - Road Biking - Trail Length: 20.7
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This ride travels along riverfront promenades in Manhattan and New Jersey, offering splendid views of the water and the city skyline along the way. It leads to Liberty State Park, south of Jersey City, and returns to Manhattan via tranquil ferry ride. (There’s also a return option via PATH train.) The journey can be adapted to suit distinct levels of cycling comfort. The long version of the route crosses the Hudson River from Manhattan via the George Washington Bridge and returns via ferry to the World Financial Center in Lower Manhattan.
Harlem, NY - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 28.7
This route runs through iconic Brooklyn historic districts, framed by tree- lined roads and stately brownstones, making it a pleasing ride even if you don’t marvel at the (past) presence of the writerly crowd. In Brooklyn Heights, the route passes the former brownstone homes of many a mid- twentieth- century writer. The trail is paved throughout except for approximately 0.3 mile on Front and York Streets, which are cobbled. There’s one steep descent from Columbia Heights to Fulton Ferry Landing and a subtle ascent back to Brooklyn Heights. Then there’s one gentle, steady ascent through Park Slope toward Prospect Park. From there it’s downhill back to Brooklyn Heights. Otherwise the route is flat. The route runs mainly along residential streets with light traffic and roads with bike lanes. Streets are mostly narrow, so cars you encounter should be traveling slowly. Old Fulton Street has moderate traffic, but a bike lane along the border gives cyclists ample space. The trek into Carroll Gardens and Park Slope leads mainly along relatively narrow roads. Stay alert of parked cars to avoid getting doored.
Williamsburg, NY - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 12.8
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