Category Archives: Urban Biking

A Cyclists Field Guide to Biking the Bridges

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by Garrett McMahon

The Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, though they share the same purpose of getting you over the East River, are as different as the two boroughs they’re named after. Being the first major suspension bridge in the city, the Brooklyn was built in an era with no heavy machinery and power tools, and after fourteen years of effort it shows, looking almost like an ancient Roman structure. The Manhattan, built around fifty years after, couldn’t look more different, with steel girders fastened together by rivets and sharp, angular shapes in its design.

Biking across these bridges is just as different an experience as their appearance. Let’s start with the Manhattan Bridge. Say you’re staying in a hotel in Manhattan but someone recommended you check out Williamsburg or DUMBO, and you want to get there with as little fuss as possible. In this case, you’ll want to take the Manhattan Bridge.

Starting out at the entrance on Canal Street, the first thing you’ll notice is how much room there is. The bridge has its own two-directional lane dedicated to biking. This where you’ll find native New Yorkers riding on, most likely people who live in Brooklyn and are either commuting to work or going back home. While there are some great views of the Brooklyn Naval Yard to take in, you’ll want to look both ways before stopping for some photos. Think of this bridge as a highway: it’s speedy and convenient to get to where you need to go, and fun as long as you’re aware that there are people behind you who think you’re going slow, no matter how fast you are!

Also, while the Manhattan Bridge is a major historical landmark in its own right, let’s just say it may not be as well-tended as its next-door neighbor the Brooklyn Bridge. You’ll find a lot of graffiti all around the bridge (some of it even in the subway tunnel right next to you!), and a lot of it quite impressive to see in its own right.

Now let’s head over to the Brooklyn Bridge. If the Manhattan is a fast and breezy highway, then biking across the Brooklyn is a quaint country road. With a lot of other people. If you plan on biking across an icon of New York City and a National Historic Landmark since 1964, let’s charitably say that you should expect to go at a leisurely pace. The fun to be had on this bridge is taking in the spectacular views of the Downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines, and admiring the bridge itself, and the amount of manpower and effort that went into the construction of this Herculean structure—so it’s a good thing you’ll have plenty of time to do it.

The two towers holding up the suspension bridge provide walkways spacious enough to get off and take some snapshots of the skylines. If you bike to the middle of the bridge, you’ll find another nice place to stop, with some benches, some space to move around (since most of the people who start to walk across don’t usually follow through and turn around halfway.)

You can see both magnificent landmarks (and their bike lanes, with all the quirks that come with them) and much more on our Bike the Brooklyn Bridge tour, which leaves daily at 2:00 pm. We’ll see you there!

Biking in Lower Manhattan

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by: Nick Shannon

Lower Manhattan is the heart of NYC. It is where the city began, its financial powerhouse, and the home of many of the most iconic landmarks in the city. Truly a melting pot, Lower Manhattan brings people, ideas, buildings, and public space together in a dense and high energy experience that is easily accessible by bike. The entire neighborhood has been seriously revitalized, after years of slow moving post 9/11 development to accommodate for transportation and commercial spaces. East River Park is the perfect starting point for your next biking trip to see the most vibrant parts of the Big Apple.

 

INTERACTIVE MAP of Lower Manhattan

Explore this wonderful, interactive map provided by the Downtown Alliance. You can explore the restaurants, attractions, shopping, parks, parking, hotels, and nightlife of Lower Manhattan.

http://www.downtownny.com/map

 

East River Park

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Bike and Roll’s new location in East River Park is right next to the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges, and the perfect location to begin your next Lower Manhattan exploration by bike! Pick up a bike rental and begin a relaxing ride with views of the East River and Brooklyn along the East River Promenade.

Chinatown

NYC is home to the second oldest Chinatown in the United States, a must-see if you are biking in Lower Manhattan. Make your way to Canal Street, the main street of Chinatown. Check out this self-guided tour of places you must see while you are there. It includes markets, historic buildings, tea shops, and restaurants that are top-rated. There are countless opportunities to bargain shop, eat, and enjoy the rich culture of the district.

Wall Street

Though it shouldn’t come as a surprise, there really was a wall on Wall Street! The Dutch settlers living in what was called New Amsterdam built it in 1652 to separate themselves from the threat of encroaching nature and the native people inhabiting Manhattan, the Lenapehoking. This is the term traditionally used to describe the tribes of Native Americans who inhabited the region now covered by Delaware, New Jersey and lower New York. In fact, the word Manhattan is a Dutch take on the Lenapeholking word for the island, Manna-Hata, meaning land of many hills. It worked until the British came and threw out the Dutch, renaming the city New York. It is now the epicenter of the city’s financial district.

The Dutch started by creating dirt paths to get from farm to farm, then the British paved the first roads that are now some of the oldest streets in America. You can now bike on these streets that have added bike lanes and experience one of the densest parts of the city.

Throughout most of lower Manhattan, you will feel the energy of New York City’s financial powerhouse in the financial district. Wall Street draws such a distinct crowd and it is fun to experience this quintessential NYC stereotype of people rushing around the street during lunch. Bike through the madness and see where NYC began.

Zuccotti Park

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Make your way Northwest to one of many Privately Owned Public Spaces in Lower Manhattan, Zuccotti Park- the center of the Occupy Wall Street movement. One of the more controversial public spaces, it is popular with local tourists and financial workers.

+ very shady from the trees and tall buildings, a great place to stop for a snack

 

Map of all NYC Bike Lanes 

Use this Bike Lane Map to plan your route. It shows all of the bike lanes in NYC.

 

Liberty Park

Elevated against the September 11 Memorial, Liberty Park is reminiscent of the High Line, the city’s first elevated park. Be sure to stop here on your way to the World Trade Center to enjoy the view of One World Trade and the complex of skyscrapers that define the area. It is also just nice to get above the ground to obtain a new perspective.

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World Trade Center – 9/11 Memorial

The 9/11 Memorial captures the void of the Twin Towers in a sobering way that honors the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks. A grid of Swamp White Oak trees occupies Ground Zero to create a memorable landscape experience. Today, it is situated in the middle of extensive new construction, with One World Trade Center at the core, holding the record of the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The whole area was heavily affected by the attacks, and has bounced back to create a new, stronger landscape that remembers the past while looking to the future.

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Irish Hunger Memorial

Transport to a rural Irish landscape at this memorial that is a metaphor for the Irish Famine and reminder of the hunger issues we face today. Walk up the abandoned stone cottage to experience the stark contrast between the stone walls and plantings that are so different from the surrounding skyscrapers.

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Brookfield Place

Pick up some chic designer clothes at Brookfield Place, or just do some window shopping and check out the art installation of inflated birds on the ceiling. Air Pressure by Studio F Minus is a flock of floating, moving birds that move their wings in response to the air pressure in the building. From here, you can take the Battery Park City Esplanade up the West Side to Battery Park City and Teardrop Park.

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Battery Park City

Keep making your way Northwest to Battery Park City, a mainly residential neighborhood that is flooded with parks, art, restaurants, playgrounds, and recreational opportunities. Bike along the Battery Park City Esplanade that runs up the Hudson River to visit the attractions. This is a great place to bike at sunset. Ride on the protected bike lanes and enjoy the view of the Hudson river.

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Teardrop Park

Just north from Battery Park City, you will find the robust plantings, engaging topography, and irregular shapes that characterize Teardrop Park and maximize its location between apartment buildings. Walk next to the sweeping rock walls, take a ride down the huge slide, and relax on the lawns surrounded by wooded areas on your bike ride around Battery City. The perfect place to stop to get a glimpse of a designed natural environment.

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IMG_0281Battery Park

Hop back on the Hudson River Greenway and head South to Battery Park, which was rapidly transformed after being hit hard during Hurricane Sandy. There are a lot of new features that have made the park a stronger, more designed landscape. The newly opened Battery Oval is a 90,000 square foot grass expanse that is the perfect place to relax on one of the floral chairs to enjoy the scenery during your bike ride around the area.

Battery Park is also at the perfect location to get out on the water. You can take a ferry to Staten Island, Ellis Island, Governors Island. And when you’re on the water, you get the best view of the Lower Manhattan skyline.

+ Connections to: Hudson River Greenway, East River Bikeway, Battery Park City Esplanade

Take a break on the water and cool off with the invigorating breeze. Watch the boats pass by and appreciate the immense density and human alteration that went into this one-of-a-kind landscape.

+ Get tickets to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

+ Ride the Seaglass Carousel

+ Take the IKEA Water Taxi to Red Hook and get amazing views of the waterfront

[Pier 11 to IKEA. Free on the weekends, $5 Mon-Fri]

+ Ride the Staten Island Ferry for free

+ Sail on the Clipper City, a replica of a historic lumber hauling ship through Manhattan by Sail

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South Street Seaport

Close up your biking loop at the South Street Seaport, an exciting waterfront district that is home to a variety of unique events, like Good Beer 2016 on Thursday, July 28— a walk-around beer tasting and food pairing event from internationally acclaimed craft breweries, chefs and food artisans. Use the promo code, 643FIDIGUEST when purchasing your tickets to enjoy 30% off the price of general admission tickets.

[July 28 from 6-9 pm at 180 Maiden Lane]

After your day of exploring, drop your rental back off at East River Park and get a bite to eat with a discount from:

Get Low – Food Discounts

After biking all day, you will have worked up an appetite. Take advantage of the Get Low promotion through the Downtown Alliance to explore the delicious food offerings in the area. Sign up for GET LOW to get 20% off, a free appetizer or desert, or bogo drinks at participating restaurants in Lower Manhattan! This is the best way to try new food.

[after 4pm on Tuesdays between June 21-August 30, 2016]

+ eat delicious food with a discount

Why Bike Lower Manhattan?

Biking is a rapid, non-aggravating way to travel. You will often find yourself arriving at a destination faster than a car, or the subway, especially if it is a shorter distance. It is also enjoyable and one of the best ways to explore Lower Manhattan. In an area that is constantly changing with new construction, get here while you can to experience the excitement and bike your way through the vibrant street life.

Why You Need to Bike Across the Williamsburg Bridge

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By: Nick Shannon

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New York City is an amazing place to bike. Not only is it thrilling, but it gets you outside to enjoy the great views, parks, water, and array of recreational opportunities available (especially during the summer!). If you are biking in the city, you will want to go across its bridges to soak in as much of the culture of the outer boroughs as possible. Here are 6 reasons why you should add the Williamsburg Bridge to your next biking adventure.

6. Bike the bridge for a workout, or just enjoy a leisurely ride with a great view

It will only take you around 15 minutes, depending on your ability. Get in your workout and don’t let the incline stop you – you and your legs will thank you later! The gradual slope will give you cardio, build muscles, and increase your endurance all in one activity. You will also be flowing above the cars and past any traffic. Biking is the perfect way to avoid road congestion and unnecessary delays.

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5. Explore Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn for the day on a bike loop

It is the perfect bridge to bike as part of a loop. If you pick up a rental bike at Bike and Roll’s Battery Park location, you can go straight over the Brooklyn Bridge, explore Brooklyn Heights, then make your way north up the Kent Ave Greenway to Williamsburg. Enjoy an afternoon of delicious food and quirky shops, then cross the Williamsburg Bridge back to Manhattan to see more of the Lower East Side. The Williamsburg Bridge offers a utilitarian ride that is quick and enjoyable – something that New York commuters definitely appreciate. Pedestrians have a separate walk on the south side of the bridge and the path for bikes is on the north side

Link to map: https://goo.gl/maps/St5hQ791NAw

 

4. SMORGASBURG – the Brooklyn Flea Food Market

One of the coolest food events in the city on a Saturday is Smorgasburg in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Over 100 local vendors sell their creative concoctions in what becomes a local food paradise. Try something you never thought you would, such as a ramen burger, truffle fries, a hibiscus doughnut, or mango on a stick with chili powder. You could go every weekend and still find something new.

TIMES: Every Saturdays from 11 am – 6 pm
East River State Park: 90 Kent Ave. (at N. 7th)

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3. ARTISTS AND FLEAS – Artist, Designer and Vintage Market

Just a block away from Smorgasburg, you will find the Artists and Fleas market where local artisans and designers sell their products. You will find one-of-a kind trinkets, jewelry, crafts, fashion and vintage- the perfect opportunity to get a gift for that special someone and it may be hard to not pick up something for yourself. You will feel good about supporting small business and makers, which is a great way to engage with the community. Enjoy just browsing the crafts, and get some time in with the dogs out front.

TIMES: Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am – 7 pm
70 North 7th Brooklyn
Williamsburg, NY

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2. YOGA ON THE FARM – evening yoga at North Brooklyn Farms

If you end up keeping a bike overnight and find yourself in Williamsburg in the evening, the perfect way to end your ride is with Yoga on the Farm. Stretch the muscles you just workout out on the bike and enjoy a little meditative practice to calm your mind in this big, bustling city. The view of the sun setting against the Manhattan skyline is the perfect excuse to stop and just breathe.

TIMES: Tuesdays from 6:45 pm – 7:45 pm
North Brooklyn Farms
320 Kent Avenue (@ S. 4th Street)
Brooklyn, NY

1. New York City is a great place to explore by bike. It is a great way to visit a lot of places, but still have the on-the-ground experience you miss from being in a car or on a train. There are so many bike lanes to take advantage of to get you from point A to B, or just to explore the boroughs. If you are just visiting, or don’t own a bike and want a weekend adventure, a bike rental is the perfect thing for you.

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The Williamsburg Bridge may just be the one thing that will spark your next NYC adventure. It is the perfect excuse to explore Brooklyn and lower Manhattan on your next day off. Its location and character make it an enjoyable place to bike, so go out there and start exploring!

 

 

 

 

 

Things to Do in New York

Rent a bike at New York City's Riverside Park

The question we hear most often is “What are some things to do in New York, and what is the best way to do them?” Visitors want to see and learn about Central Park and all the numerous sightseeing locations around NYC. Well, Bike and Roll NYC has the perfect solution … why not try one of our top-rated bike tours around the city? We offer tours of Central Park, Waterfront Greenway, Brooklyn Bridge, downtown, and we even have a combination bike and water taxi tour you can try. You’ll be accompanied by one of our expert tour guides, so not only will you get some great exercise, but you’ll experience the city in a whole new way, and you will learn something too. If you prefer to tour the city by yourself, we also have many bike rental locations scattered about Manhattan and New Jersey. You can choose from a wide assortment of bikes, including performance bikes, race bikes, tandem bikes and even quadcycles. We even cater to kids too, so you can be assured of getting the proper equipment for the entire family.

So, if you and your family or group are looking for things to do in New York, you can get more information on the bike tours and bike rentals offered by Bike and Roll NYC on our website at http://bikenewyorkcity.com.

Bicycle Tours, the best way to travel!

Guide stories

When you travel, consider bicycle tours as a way to maximize your experience! A bicycle tour is the single best means to explore a travel destination. More efficient and covering more ground and material than walking while providing a much more intimate experience than a mass transit solution like a bus or a boat tour. A bicycle tour also does not include the challenges faced by auto drivers such as parking issues; traffic and the constant need to pay attention to the road.

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Travel by Tandem

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A tandem bicycle rental is a terrific way for a couple to explore a travel destination. While bikes in general are more efficient than walking and much more fun than being confined in a motor vehicle, the tandem adds a special dynamic.

The tandem experience eliminates the worry of separating or losing your partner. Also, ongoing conversation is much easier than if attempting to travel together on separate bicycles. You can share the workload as well but beware, tandems are a little more challenging when navigating hills.

There has been some discussion about tandem bikes and relationships. According to Angela Hill of the Oakland Tribune, “They’ve been called everything from love machines to divorce accelerators”. As a rental operator, I recall the first tandem rental I ever facilitated was to a newlywed couple in San Francisco. Upon return from their ride I was apprised of some conflict along the way relating to the pecking order of operator management. The biggest issue seemed to be the lack of advance warning to the rider in back about forthcoming bumps. In the end, we all had a good laugh and the relationship did not seem any worse for the wear.

Tandems are a great product to rent as they tend to be more economical than renting two separate bikes. Additionally, most people do not own a tandem, so renting one is a means to try something new. They are not difficult to ride, but a few important rules apply. The rider in front always mounts the bike first and the first one on is always the last one off. The front rider always stabilizes the bike for the back rider when mounting and dismounting the bike. Communication is also very important. Advising when brakes will be applied or when shifting greatly improves riding efficiency. Advising on forthcoming points of interest also makes for a better experience for the rider in back. And yes, the front rider should alway advise when there are bumps in the road.

Bike and Roll NYC recommends a tandem bicycle rental experience for those who enjoy adventurous travel and sharing experiences with others. See bikenewyorkcity.com/rental/tandem-bike/ for more information on renting a tandem in New York City.

Credits

Byline: Darryll White

Photo by: kohlmann.sascha via flickr

Bike share raises the bar

Chris Wogas of Bike and Roll NYC

by Lisa Fickensher, Crain’s New York Business (June 24, 2012)

The city’s vast bike-share program, launching in July, will join an expanding sea of bike shops and rental businesses taking advantage of the Bloomberg administration’s desire to make New York the best biking city in the country.

Even apartment buildings and hotels are buying bikes to offer as amenities for guests and residents. But while the cycling community expects the bike-share program to be a boon for business by encouraging more people to ride, it is also girding for competition.

“There certainly is going to be some overlap between us and bike share,” said Chris Wogas, president of Bike and Roll New York, the largest rental outfit in the city, which derives most of its business from visitors. “We’ll get people to do the shorter rides, and they will get some tourists.”

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Tips to Store Bikes in a City Apartment

(By Marjorie Cohen, AM New York, January 16, 2013)

You’ve got a bike, maybe more than one, and can’t figure out where to put it in your city-sized apartment. You are not alone.

Although the city Department of Transportation’s 2012 figures on bike ridership aren’t out yet, Jill Guidera, campaign and organizing coordinator for Transportation Alternatives, predicts a “tremendous increase over last year. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, there was a 200% increase in riders and we think that a lot of those folks have decided to stick with it.”

There’s plenty of indoor bike parking for Transportation Alternatives employees, but when Guidera gets home, she parks her bike outside her building.

“My fourth floor walk-up apartment is the size of a pencil box, so this makes the most sense,” she explained. “I rely on the know-your-neighbors security plan.”

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City Biking Trumps Suburbia

As a girl who grew up in the suburbs of Boston, I was allotted a luxury that many New Yorkers might find hard to fathom: a backyard and a quiet neighborhood street where I could learn to ride my bike. Unsurprisingly, on my many trips to the city the idea of taking a bike ride never crossed my mind. However, when Bike and Roll hired me as a marketing intern this summer I needed to see what all the fuss was about.
Filled with doubt and a little scared for my life, I hopped on my bike at our Pier 84 location and rode uptown on the Hudson River Greenway. Immediately, I was shocked. There was not a car in sight. I was completely isolated from all NYC commotion. There were kids playing basketball, parents walking with their children and even students stealing a quiet moment looking out at the river or reading a book.
This experience was further enhanced by the plethora of tall ships, battle cruisers, and tugboats spraying water on the Hudson River signifying the start of Fleet Week. Boats filled with members of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard sailed along beside me as I pedaled by the Intrepid Museum and up the Greenway.
Later I made my way over to world-renowned Central Park. This is one area of New York that I thought I knew relatively well. Every time I visited my grandparents in the city while I was growing up, we would go for a walk through the park, play in a playground or at least eat a giant pretzel. However, when I left Tavern on the Green my perception was forever changed. I whizzed by the soft pretzel stand and weaved through the traffic-free park streets (most of the park drives are closed to cars during the day) leaving every concern behind me.
At this point you are probably curious as to how an intern who is living in a dorm room in New York managed to attain her very own bike to ride around the city. Well, it all started when my boss said something along the lines of, “why don’t you walk over to the warehouse, I’ll meet you there in an hour.”
I fought the foot traffic uptown for a few blocks until I saw a garage entrance with our logo proudly adorning the doorway. I walked in to a large room filled with rows of hundreds of bikes with royal blue Bike and Roll bags strapped to the handlebars. Wide-eyed and slightly overwhelmed, I looked over at the eclectic gr

oup of five mechanics building and fixing bikes in the corner. To my relief, the lead mechanic, Kate, who I had previously met in the office, hopped up to greet me. She expertly navigated through the myriad bikes and within seconds was tuning and cleaning up a bike that was my size.

After Kate’s expert hands had checked the gears, cleaned the chain, and performed a few other tests my fear had nearly dissipated. When my boss arrived a few minutes later, we buckled our helmets and were off. Without waiting for the subway or sitting in traffic, we spent the afternoon traversing the city. Plus, as an added bonus, I have never fallen asleep faster or slept so soundly in my life.

It’s Game Time for the New York City Metro Area

 

(by Andrea Doyle, Successful Meetings, February 25, 2013)

The spotlight is about to shine brighter than ever on the New York metropolitan area as it prepares to host Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2, 2014. The stakes are high as this is the first time the game is being held in the Northeast, in an open-air stadium, in a cold-weather city.
This Super Bowl will also be like no other as it going to be a trans-Hudson celebration. The game is being played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ but the events surrounding the game will be split between both New Jersey and New York. A “Super Bowl Boulevard” will transform a portion of Broadway in midtown Manhattan into a massive fan event. It will begin on 44th Street, in the middle of Times Square, and stretch down Broadway to 34th Street from January 29 to February 1.
“For the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl, we’ve embraced the opportunity to create plans that are as big, bold, and unique as New York City and the surrounding region itself,” says National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell. “While we can only fit 80,000 fans into MetLife Stadium for the game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, we look forward to hosting hundreds of thousands of people at different attractions and events during Super Bowl Week, throughout all parts of the area.” All the facets that make the New York area so special will be highlighted including culture, shopping, museums, restaurants, and theater. Plus, hotels have been renovated, roads widened, and airports upgraded in anticipation of America’s biggest sports tournament.