With new bike paths being developed in New York City, it’s time to ditch the Ubers and the ever-frustrating MTA and take the scenic route. We’ve rounded up our top recommendations of bike trips in and near NYC for all types of riders. And even if you don’t own a bike or are just visiting sans bike, don’t worry! We have a recommendation for you, too.
Prospect Park to Coney Island
Distance: 7.5 miles
Duration: 45 minutes to 1 hour
Contrary to popular belief, Brooklyn is more than Williamsburg. Explore the city’s coolest borough with a bike ride starting at Grand Army Plaza in Prospect Park and ending at the Coney Island Boardwalk. You’ll make good use of Frank Olmsted’s designs (who also designed Central Park) and experience a bit of history as you bike down Ocean Parkway for most of the ride. Dating back to 1894, Ocean Parkway is the nation’s first bike lane—but beware some parts of the bike path are in a state of disrepair.
This is a perfect ride during the summer (if it’s not excessively hot). Once you make it to Coney Island, take part in a piece of Brooklyn nostalgia at the amusement park. Ride the Cyclone, eat a hot dog at Nathan’s or people watch on the boardwalk. If you’re feeling up for it, keep the ride going and head over to Brighton Beach—aka Little Odessa. But if you’re feeling wiped out, hop on the Q train.
Distance: 7 miles
Duration: At your own pace
For a bike ride that the whole family can enjoy, hop on the ferry from Manhattan and make your way to Governors Island. Being on Governors Island feels like you’re on an oasis in the middle of the concrete jungle. Weather permitting, it’s a great destination year-round. There are bike rentals on the island, and Blazing Saddles offers free one-hour rentals Monday through Friday, 10am to 12pm. Did we mention that it’s free? So this is a great option if you don’t have a bike or didn’t bring your bike with you while visiting NYC. For the young and the young at heart, slide down three stories at the city's longest slide, Slide Hill. And since the island is car free, you can bike around at your own pace and spend the afternoon or even the whole day until the last ferry leaves.
Brooklyn Bridge to Fort Tryon Park
Distance: 14 miles
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
If you’re looking for a longer ride within the city, start at the iconic Brooklyn Bridge (don’t forget to catch views of the Statue of Liberty) and ride towards Manhattan—just be sure to stay alert since the bike path is shared with pedestrians. Once you get to the Manhattan side of the bridge, head over to the Henry Hudson Greenway where you’ll be biking for most of the ride. This journey will definitely test your endurance if you’re a leisurely biker because once you get to Fort Tryon, you’ll have to bike up a huge hill. But it’s worth the effort once you find the hidden gems of another one of Olmsted’s designs. For Insta-worthy pictures, visit the Billings Arcade, a remnant of an early 1900s mansion that burned down in the 1920s. Or visit the the Met Cloisters for medieval art. If you’re feeling up for it, hang out to see the sunset along the Hudson River and then take the 1 train back downtown.
Hudson Valley: Shawangunk Mountains
Distance: 2.5 to 8.5 miles
This one’s for the mountain bikers...and those with cars. Drive 90 minutes out of NYC and you’ll finally remember what fresh air smells like. Welcome to Shawangunk Mountain, aka "the Gunks." This is a great destination to both hike and bike. The Gunks are known for some of the best hiking in the Hudson Valley, Mohonk Mountain House and Gertrude’s Nose, one of the most scenic cliff drops in the Hudson Valley (and also very Insta-worthy if you’re not afraid of heights).
The difficulty levels vary; there are easier bike routes for the leisurely rider and more difficult bike routes for the experienced rider. But no matter your skill level, the multicolor fall foliage make the Gunks a great biking destination once the weather starts to cool down.
Jones Beach to Tobay Beach
Distance: 9.2 miles
Duration: 45 minutes to 1 hour
If you don’t have a car and want a bike trip out of the city, don’t fret. Hop on the LIRR either at Penn Station or Atlantic Terminal (where you’ll also need to purchase a bike permit) and head east to Wantagh. Find the Jones Beach Bikeway starting at Cedar Creek Park in Seaford. Once you hit Jones Beach, take a break or keep going along the newly constructed bike path that leads to Tobay Beach. On your way back to the Wantagh LIRR station get some shrimp scampi or some of the best lobster rolls on the island at DJ’s Clam Shack.
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