When many people think of New York City, they think of Times Square, Broadway shows, shopping on Fifth Avenue and eating in gourmet restaurants. While all of these are popular things to do in New York City, the chance to see some of the classic city sights is an opportunity that should not be passed up. Believe it or not, biking is one of the many great ways to go sightseeing in NYC, and there are places all over the city to rent a bike and take in the scenery.
Biking in Central Park
One of the most popular places for biking in New York City to bike is the famous Central Park. 778 acres of beautiful greenery, serene lakes, a zoo, and more welcome walkers, joggers, bikers and loungers. This is the perfect place to escape the urban jungle for an afternoon, and the best way to cover a lot of ground in a few hours is on a bike. This is a wonderful area for the whole family to bike around together. Central Park is closed to traffic Monday thru Friday from 10am to 3pm, opening the routes to walkers, joggers and bikers exclusively.
There are three paths through Central Park, 6.1 miles long, 5.2 miles, and 1.7 miles, where bikers can take a longer-distance ride and enjoy more of the park’s sights on a beautiful day in New York City. There are also shorter distance routes for those looking for a scenic and leisurely ride.
You’ll find bike rentals at the Loeb Boathouse and Merchants Gate/Columbus Circle, and prices start around $15. In addition to a bike rental, travelers can also rent helmets and other safety equipment, baskets, locks, maps and more. This is a perfect activity for families, who can rent all of the equipment they need for bikers of all ages and experience levels. Children under 14 years old are required to wear a helmet, and there are certain traffic laws to take into account that will keep everyone safe so that you can enjoy the experience to the fullest.
Biking the Brooklyn Bridge
One of the best ways to see New York City’s most beautiful and iconic sights is by taking a ride over the Brooklyn Bridge. This bridge has been open since 1883 and in its building conquered many engineering feats of its time. It remains to this day the primary route between the two major boroughs of New York City. Every day, over 120,000 cars, 4,000 pedestrians, and 2,600 bicyclists cross the Brooklyn Bridge. Those numbers increase and decrease as weather conditions vary, but every season, the bridge remains at the top of many tourist’s list of things to see while they’re here.
Biking the Brooklyn Bridge is easy and safe, as there is a car-free walkway down the center of the bridge, directly above the traffic of the cars and trucks heading each way. Heading over the bridge offers beautiful views of the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn, and the Lower Manhattan Skyline. Ride to the middle of the bridge and back after snapping a few photos or head all the way to Brooklyn and spend a few hours exploring that bike-friendly part of the city along the waterfront or through various neighborhoods. There is a great loop between the Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge that makes it easy to explore the area and get back to where you started.
Bike Tours in NYC
There are bike tours available at both of these popular NYC biking locations. Central Park bike tours are a popular choice for families. The tours usually bike for about 5 miles, past some of the most scenic areas, and will stop for photo ops throughout the ride. These tours easily navigate to all the most popular places in Central Park, including Strawberry Fields, Wollman Rink, Belvedere Castle, Shakespeare Garden and more.
Brooklyn Bridge tours come in all shapes and sizes, so whether you want to ride over the bridge and along the Hudson River, would prefer going deeper into Brooklyn on your tour, or would like the chance to bike the bridge and head back to Manhattan by boat, you can find a fantastic tour to fit you and your family’s needs.
There are many great things to see in New York City, and hopping on a bike to check out these two iconic attractions is a great way to experience the city and get some fresh air on a nice day.
This article was written by Lizz Riggs, editor of NYCTourist.com.