Home » 3 Smart Tips for Exploring New York City by Bike 

3 Smart Tips for Exploring New York City by Bike 

If there’s a city that will mesmerize you with all it’s got to offer, it’s definitely New York. The city that never sleeps is a travelers’ Mecca and no matter how long you decide to stick around, you’ll have something new to see and do each day. From its museums, theaters and art galleries to legendary clubs and restaurants to some of the most amazing parks and botanical gardens, New York certainly won’t disappoint, whatever it is you expect from it. When it comes to moving around the Big Apple, many people choose bikes as their means of transport, mainly because it’s a practical way to get from one spot to another and because it allows you to see more in the time you have there. In case you’re also keen on riding a bike across NYC, here are three basic tips every tourist should take into account.

Plan Your Route

The first thing to do is decide on the places you want to see and then plan a route accordingly. It’s essential that you’re organized, as you don’t want to waste your precious time returning to the same parts of the city on more than one occasion, unless that’s truly necessary. The best way to do this is by doing your homework, which means that you should do online research of the places you’re interested in visiting, find them on the map and mark them. Next, you can break the city up into smaller parts, neighborhoods or areas you want to visit, after which you should decide on what order you want to do it in. Your goal is to be as efficient as you can, but you should also keep in mind that you’re on vacation and you don’t want to rush unnecessarily. When making your sightseeing schedule, remember that your bike will get you from one place to another faster than your feet would, but expect that you’ll find some or most these places fascinating and that you might get sidetracked by the things you see there or on your way there. It’s for this reason you shouldn’t try to see too many sights in one day, since you might not be able to enjoy any of them properly if you’re in a hurry.

Choose the Right Bike

When you know you’ll spend your day on two wheels, cycling your legs off, you should do it on the kind of bike that suits you best. If you want to take on NYC on a bike and you don’t even have one, you should know that you’re neither the first nor the only one with that problem. Fortunately, so many tourists find themselves in this situation, that you can now find great bike rentals in New York, where you’ll be able to find precisely what you need and when you need it. You can rent anything from standard aluminum or carbon road bikes, to comfort hybrid bikes for both men and women, to electric bikes. For those who want to enjoy their bike ride with their significant other, there are tandem bikes available, and for those with little ones, there are tag-along bikes or burley trailers to rent. If you prefer rollerblades, you can rent those as well. You can pick your bike up from a location that’s closest to where you’re staying and drop it off at another, more convenient location, so that you don’t have to cycle back at the end of the day. The best companies will kindly provide you with free helmets, locks, baskets and maps and they’ll have teams standing by if there’s an issue with your bike equipment throughout your ride.

Stick to Bike Lanes

In the past, New York was a car-dominated city and riding a bike amongst all of those speeding cars was often distressing and sometimes traumatic to the point that only the most persistent bike riders would do it over and over again. However, things have changed drastically and by the end of 2020, bike lanes in NYC were 1375 miles in added length, with over 500 miles of protected bike lanes, with the city determined to build more in the future. This, along with the existence of accurate NYC bike maps, makes the bike-riding experience in the Big Apple much more enjoyable, but also immeasurably safer. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to stay aware of the fact that bike lanes are just as much traffic lanes as the city roads. They require you to pay attention and abide by the rules at all times, so that nobody gets hurt due to a bad decision you make during your ride. While not all of the city is covered with these lanes, a huge part of it is and the smartest move on your behalf will be sticking to the bike lanes where they exist. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should give up on the idea of riding a bike just because there isn’t an adequate lane for it where you want to go. With the exception of several high-speed roads, cyclists are free to use whichever NYC road they want, but you should be particularly vigilant in the parts of the city that isn’t covered in bike lanes. Furthermore, whether on a bike lane or not, be attentive at intersections, respect all traffic signals and always ride in the same direction as those around you, since going against the flow can put you and others in serious danger.

Knowing the rules and having all the relevant information with regards to cycling can make your stay in NYC a much more pleasant one. Now’s the time to make up your mind, spend some time in the Big City and explore it the best way possible, on two wheels, with sun on your skin and fresh air in your face.