From MetroFocus

Be a Better Tourist in NYC, Even If You’re a Local

Lindsay Armstrong, Menglin Huang, Christina Mullgan, Esha Ray | June 8, 2012 4:00 AM

On Wheels and Water

Claire Gorayeb

Director of Marketing for Bike and Roll. Bikes can be rented by the hour or for a half or full day at locations around the city including Battery Park, Central Park Columbus Circle, Tavern on the Green, Riverside Park, Battery Park,  Pier 84, and Brooklyn Bridge Park. Other locations (Governors Island, East River Park, and West Harlem Piers) are open on the weekend only. They also offer guided bike tours and itineraries for self-guided tours. Bike and Roll rents bike to about  100,000 people each year.

What do you wish tourists knew?

They don’t realize how much traffic-free biking there is in New York City. Beyond Central Park, you have the Hudson River bike paths, the one on the East River, Brooklyn and Queens. They’re all traffic free. Once someone does it and realizes they can ride for miles and miles uninterrupted, they’re thrilled.

Many New Yorkers don’t know it either, because they don’t live all the way over on the rivers, they might not realize it’s there.

The thing about living in New York is that you always have visitors. People’s guests want to ride. That’s when many New Yorkers come to us.

Lots don’t know how easy it is to ride in the city, either traffic-free or how to ride in traffic safely. For example, our office is on 30th between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, right in the middle of Midtown with all of the tall buildings and traffic, but there’s a bike lane on 29th and one on 30th so it’s really no problem to bike here.

VH1 Meets Bike and Roll

There is a famous quote in my family, “if Lindsay can do it, how hard can it be?” When I was four years old, I used this logic while begging my dad to teach me how to ride a two-wheeler. He had recently taught Lindsay, my older sister, and thus, I was convinced I must learn to ride as well. The next morning, my dad placed one hand on my back and help the handlebars of my magenta bike with silver tassels on the handles and guided me down our driveway as I started to peddle and figure out how to balance.

This morning, sixteen years later, this memory came rushing back to me as I met Mara Wilson, the star of Matilda and little girl in Mrs. Doubtfire. With VH1 camera’s surrounding her for their new series called, “Miss You Much,” Mara endeavored to ride a bicycle for the very first time at Bike and Roll’s location in Central Park’s Tavern on the Green.

This whirlwind started when I spent the first 45 minutes trying to help one of the producers set up a bright pink Big Wheel that he had bought at Toys R Us a matter of hours ago. After completing this relatively demoralizing task, we finished setting up the real bikes, Catherine Reitman (host) and Mara Wilson (child star), came out of make-up and began filming. Take, after take, after take.

Now, I don’t want to give anything away, so you’re going to have to watch the show in early September for a couple reasons. Not only do I know you are curious what Mara has been up to but, see if she actually learned how to ride a bike!

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.

Let’s go . . . bikes!

from Streetsblog . . .

 

U.S. PIRG Report: Young Americans Dump Cars for Bikes, BusesPosted: 05 Apr 2012 11:58 AM PDT

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group has been crunching the numbers on travel preferences among young Americans — and the news is not good for auto makers.

Public transit use increased 100 percent among 16-34-year-olds with household incomes above $70,000, according to a new report from PIRG. Photo: U.S. PIRG

The report — Transportation and the New Generation — is chock-full of nuggets like this:

Driving is down: “From 2001 to 2009, the annual number of vehicle miles traveled by young people (16 to 34-year-olds) decreased from 10,300 miles to 7,900 miles per capita—a drop of 23 percent.”

Biking is up: “In 2009, 16- to 34-year-olds as a whole took 24 percent more bike trips than they took in 2001, despite the age group actually shrinking in size by 2 percent.”

Young people even reported consciously driving less to save the environment. “Sixteen percent of 18- to 34-year-olds polled said they strongly agreed with the statement, ‘I want to protect the environment, so I drive less.’ This is compared to approximately nine percent of older generations.”

The trend toward non-automobile transportation options was even more pronounced among higher-income Americans, notable because this group is less likely to be motivated by economic concerns. “From 2001 to 2009, young people (16- to 34-year-olds) who lived in households with annual incomes of over $70,000 increased their use of public transit by 100 percent, biking by 122 percent, and walking by 37 percent.”

A number of factors are thought to be contributing to the trend. Some states now require “graduated” driver’s licensing, making young people pass multiple driving tests and hold learner’s permits longer before they earn full privileges. Higher gas prices, obviously, help put owning a car out of reach for many younger Americans, especially as the age group struggles in a less-favorable job market. Finally, technology, specifically smartphones, and their incompatibility with (safe) driving, help make alternatives that much more inviting.

The pervasiveness of the data suggests a larger cultural shift away from automobile use and sprawling communities among younger generations, the report concludes.

Of course, the American political system has yet to catch up to, or even fully comprehend, this sea change.

“Policy-makers and the public need to be aware that America’s current transportation policy—dominated by road building—is fundamentally out-of-step with the transportation patterns and expressed preferences of growing numbers of Americans,” the authors write. ”Federal and local governments have historically made massive investments in new highway capacity on the assumption that driving will continue to increase at a rapid and steady pace. The changing transportation preferences of young people — and Americans overall — throw those assumptions into doubt.”

Data was obtained from the National Household Travel Survey and surveys by Zipcar and the National Association for Realtors.

Passport to Green New York: A Five Borough Eco-Treasure Hunt

 

You could win a flat-screen television just for supporting eco-friendly businesses.

This spring, Earth Day New York is sponsoring a green-themed scavenger hunt throughout the five boroughs.

Earth Day New York has signed on 24 specific Earth-friendly businesses – including Bike and Roll New York City – and New Yorkers that swing by can enter to win a cash prize or electronics — such as a laptop or flat-screen TV.

People that visit 12 or  more “green” destinations can win prizes including $500 cash, a Toshiba flat-screen television or a Toshiba laptop.

People that go to at least five destinations can win gifts such as $250 in gift cards.

Participants must collect stamps at each destination on their “Passport to Green,” which can be downloaded at www.earthdayny.org.

Earth Day New York hopes to raise awareness of the green places in the city and support environment-friendly   businesses.

The contest runs from March 20 to April 21.

The following are participating businesses:

Bareburger
Bike & Roll NYC
Dos Toros Taqueria
Green Fitness Studio
Sustainable NYC
New York Botanical Garden
Bronx Zoo
Bicycle Habitat
Gobo
Haus 96
Juice Generation
Land Yoga
Organique
Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanic Garden
‘Wichcraft

My Experience as a Bike and Roll NYC Language Liaison/Marketing Assistant Intern

By Courtney Laird

With a degree in Spanish from Colby College, I hoped to find a summer job or internship that allowed me to utilize my Spanish language skills daily. With the help of Colby’s Career Center, I stumbled upon the Language Liaison/Marketing Assistant Intern position at Bike and Roll New York City and became immediately interested upon seeing that the main responsibilities of the job focused around language skills and international business.

courtney-lairdI knew from the first week that I would enjoy myself during this internship—from taking two tours to acclimate myself to the product, I realized that the culture of Bike and Roll is one steeped in fun and innovation and that their products are something you should definitely try!

The internship is comprised of three main segments: marketing with ALON Marketing Group, public relations with Nicholas and Lence and translating Bike and Roll’s brand literature and promotional material. All three segments work in harmony to increase Bike and Roll’s presence in international markets relative to your language focus—since I speak Spanish, I translated the promotional material into Spanish and contacted Spanish-speaking countries that provide the most tourism in America.

Using an online database full of travel agencies and Tour Operators, I located and contacted (in Spanish!) companies that spanned 10 countries in order to introduce them to the rentals and tours Bike and Roll offers here in NYC. Creating direct dialogue with international companies in their native language helped Bike and Roll enter a whole new business market—many of the companies I contacted responded that they would promote our services on their websites. I liked this process best—it was a great way to hone my Spanish skills in professional correspondences, to learn more about how sales and marketing function when pitching products and to create connections with people in various countries like Spain, Argentina, Guatemala and Peru.

I also really enjoyed translating the promotional documents. It was a great way to keep my brain alert, to learn new words and phrases and to practice the sometimes complicated process of translating. It was really rewarding to know that my work would be published for customers to use! It was also fulfilling to be able to incorporate and improve upon my existing writing skills in both English and Spanish—drafting emails, crafting a research project and writing blog entries allowed for ample opportunities to enhance valuable communication skills.

The interactive and direct experience of marketing and public relations (two fields in which I had limited experience) definitely enabled me to learn a whole new set of skills that prepare me well for a career in these interrelated fields. The opportunity to learn more about sales and marketing, coupled with the opportunity to use and improve my Spanish skills, made this internship invaluable. From working with a small company of friendly and knowledgeable people to expanding my professional network into Latin America, my internship at Bike and Roll NYC helped me locate my career interests and provided me the necessary skills sets for jumpstarting my career.

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.

My Experience as an Intern for Bike and Roll NYC This Summer

By Henry Nalle

I heard about Bike and Roll NYC’s Marketing Assistant/Language Liaison internship through the career center at my college. The internship was advertised as a great way to put foreign language proficiency to work while gaining experience in marketing, public relations, and international business—and that is exactly what it was! As a French major interested all of these fields, this internship seemed like the perfect intersection of my academic interests and professional pursuits.

henry-nalleWhat made this internship so unique was the fact that it was truly a learning experience. I was also able to work and interact with so many different people over the course of the summer. It’s as if this experience was three internships in one. In addition to working directly with Bike and Roll NYC, I also worked in conjunction with Alon Marketing Group and Nicholas and Lence Communications to make Bike and Roll’s products more accessible to foreign markets.

The work I did directly for Bike and Roll NYC consisted of translating all of Bike and Roll’s promotional material (websites, brochures, tour documents, etc) into French. Translating this material early in the program really helped me to familiarize myself with Bike and Roll NYC’s products and mission. What’s more, during my first week I was given the opportunity to go on two of Bike and Roll’s tours: the Inside Central Park tour and the Bike and Boat tour. I thoroughly enjoyed both these tours and they really got me excited about working for a company with first-rate products and superior customer service. I was always encouraged to give constant feedback on my experiences over the course of the summer. I even had the opportunity to collaborate with my fellow intern, Courtney, to draft part a manual that will serve as a training guide for future Bike and Roll interns.

One of the key components of my internship was my work in conjunction with Alon Marketing Group. Alon puts Bike and Roll into contact with hundreds of tour operators who put together tour packages and sell them to travel agents, who then sell them to tourists. As a French-speaking intern, I researched Francophone tour operators that offer tours to New York City. I also did substantial research on the French biking culture and how it would translate to an interest in biking in New York City. After completing this research, I drafted an email (in French) selling Bike and Roll NYC’s tour and rental offerings. I reached out to tour operators by tailoring this email to each operator’s interests as expressed on their website. Reaching out in French helped to break down the language barrier that may have previously prevented contact with these buyers. I also felt that I was actually doing something to help Bike and Roll while learning a great deal about the travel and tourism industry.

I also had the opportunity to work with Nicholas and Lence Communications, the firm that manages Bike and Roll’s PR. During my days at NLC, I made press lists of Francophone journalists and posted Bike and Roll tours to NYC event websites to help advertise and sell our product. I also drafted sales pitches and translated press releases in an effort to reach out to French-speaking tourists in NYC. My work with NLC exposed me to the world of Public Relations and served as an amazing opportunity to work with some real experts in the field.

Interning for Bike and Roll NYC was an amazing learning experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone with foreign language proficiency interested in marketing, PR, and international business!

Do you have an internship experience you’d like to share with us? 

Bicycle Tour Guides in New York City

Written By: Darryll White

 

New York City is one of the most visited places on the planet, ranking in some polls as the number five (5) tourist destination worldwide and number one (1) in the US. Due to all the history, diversity, culture, and architecture, along with a massive local retail and service industry, the city is a tremendous destination.

 

With all the city offers, a visit at first glance might seem overwhelming. For many, guided tours offer a way to capture the essence of certain sections and or aspects of the city in an efficient and enjoyable manner. There are many types of tours to choose from, including walking tours, bus tours, boat tours, bike tours, along with nuance tours such as food tours, architecture tours, history tours, neighborhood tours, etc.

 

The city strives to protect the interest of the visitor to NYC so that when purchasing guide services the consumer has some assurance, that those who provide services will be prepared to offer a quality product. While buyer-beware is always good advice, NYC offers a layer of consumer protection by requiring tour guides to obtain a Sightseeing Guide License. Acquisition of the license requires an extensive base of knowledge about the city and the tourism industry.

 

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Persons applying to become guides in NYC must file an application, provide proof of identity, take and pass the guide exam, and pay applicable fees.

 

The exam covers numerous topic areas and requires broad based understanding of the NYC touring industry. One must understand local logistics, history, have knowledge about local neighborhoods and landmarks, understand ethnic culture, including foods and religion and immigration patterns both historical and current; as well as have basic knowledge on local museums, public sculptures, art, culture, including music, theatre, dance and literature. Additionally, knowledge on architecture, city planning, parks, parkways and cemeteries is required.

 

The licensed guide is also required to understand “practicum”, which includes legal routing of passengers, pick up/drop off points for tour busses as well as the requirements surrounding the use of microphones, billing customers and taxes, along with terms specific to travel and tourism.

 

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When selecting a tour in the city, the consumer should qualify the operator by ensuring that they utilize authorized and licensed guides for all of their tours. Most guides will carry their license with them when conducting business and facilitating tours in the city.

 

Wendy Rose from Bike and Roll offers the following in regards to the license test: “The city guide licensing test is impressively rigorous, and I love it! The questions were incredibly involved, so I really had to study all aspects of the city (past, present, food, culture, navigation, etc). It does an excellent job of looking to all the Boroughs of New York. The test for me, took four hours to complete. It was exhaustive, but incredibly rewarding.  While some people likely find the test to be an unnecessary hurdle, I definitely welcomed the challenge and opportunity to immerse myself in as many details on NYC as possible”. 

 

Bike and Roll NYC has been providing bicycle tours in NYC since 2007. With eleven (11) locations in New York City and in Jersey City, NJ, Bike and Roll is the largest bicycle tour operator in the NY Metro area. The company offers several daily tours in Central Park and along the NYC and NJ waterfront. A night tour is available and some tours include packaged deals such as the Bike and Boat tour. Additionally, Bike and Roll NYC offers walking tours and Segway tours.

 

Segway Photo 1

 

Sending out more than eleven (11) daily tours with other tours available on demand takes a reliable and dedicated staff of tour guides and attention to detail at the management level.

 

According to Bob Trenta, Manager of Guides at Bike and Roll, “We have put together a quality team of seventeen [17] licensed tour guides, each having their own perspective of New York City.

 

The range of their experience and backgrounds is truly impressive. Actors, wood worker, Vassar grad, Columbia art history grad from Maui, rock band keyboardist, money manager, photographers, men’s clothing designer, architect, educators, Harvard educated contrarian, film editor, industrial designer and coaches all bring something different, unique and refreshing to each tour. 

 

They have been the backbone of the many four and five star reviews we have received. Most importantly, they are always willing to adjust their schedules anytime we need them for a major touring event”.

 

One key to facilitating a successful tour is to know your group. The development of a relationship adds great value to the tour and also helps the guide understand what the group most wants to see or to gain from their tour experience. From there the guide can tailor the tour by focusing on certain aspects and not others in order to best align with the group’s overall interests.

 

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Bike and Roll NYC tour guide, Dan Golden states: “My favorite part about working for Bike and Roll (aside from being paid to bike) is the flexibility. No two tours are the same, and if I get to make slight variations on the tour stops based on what I think the group will like, everyone is happier. For instance, I just discovered Ladies Pavilion in Central Park. The views of the lake and skyline are incredible, so now I take people there if they’re really into picture-taking”.

 

What I enjoy most about being a NYC tour guide is that I love the city and love America. I’m proud to show this place off to people who have only seen it in movies. I love defying the guide books (Don’t want to wait in a long line for the amazing views on top of the rock? I know a good rooftop bar nearby with incredible views. Want the best Italian American food? Little Italy in Manhattan is great, but I know a place in Brooklyn that makes you feel like you walked into a scene from the Godfather. Like being active? How about getting a $50 day-pass to Chelsea Piers, free kayaking on the Hudson, or a horseback riding tour at Kensington Stables in Prospect Park. I also love hearing from tourists that they thought New Yorkers were supposed to be rude, and they’re actually really friendly. Don’t even get me started on how visiting New York changes their perception of the typical American. 

 

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Damien at Bike and Roll further adds; “My favorite tour that Bike and Roll has to offer is the “Bike and Boat”. Starting out in New Amsterdam right into New York up to a Modern Marvel, the Brooklyn Bridge, then off to the boroughs first neighborhood “Brooklyn Heights”. Next, down to the Portofino of Brooklyn “DUMBO”, then to the hop on – hop off Water Taxi, making you feel like Henry on the Half Moon going up the Hudson. Lastly, hop off and pedal down the Greenway into our newest of land fills (like putting the cherry on top of the cake) Battery Park City! Wow what a tour!!”

 

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Managing a group of people on bicycles in a large urban setting takes attention to detail and strong leadership skills. While fun is the goal, safety is always the top priority.

 

Bike and Roll NYC President, Chris Wogas elaborates, “At Bike and Roll our tours are based on two pillars.  First, show off the greatest the city in the world.  Second, build each tour around knowledgeable guides, well-trained team-members and safety.  We understand that providing a great product must include delivering a safe product.  Whether it be providing helmets, creating first-class tour routes, continual equipment maintenance and upgrades, or ongoing team-member training; everything we do at Bike and Roll always has our guest’s enjoyment and safety top of mind.

 

Seeing New York by bike is an experience like no other – a must do event!  Seeing New York by bike with the best guides in the industry who continually provide a first-class, customer centered and safe product is truly a serendipitous experience and will be a lifelong memory”.

 

Wendy adds, The streets of New York are busy and have their dangers, like anywhere. The key for bike safety in New York is to bike in a predictable manner. That means that you stay in the bike lane, bike in the correct direction, and hold your position in traffic (no swerving!) when there is no bike lane. On Bike and Roll tours, we all wear helmets, always go over safety rules, and encourage our guests to bike in a predictable, self-aware way. One last tip: it is crucial that people do not bike side by side on the Greenway”!

 

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Bike and Roll NYC is a member of the Bike and Roll National Cooperative. Cooperative members have provided bicycle guide services and equipment rentals in five (5) major US cities for the past twenty-one (21) years. As a pioneer and leader in urban bicycle tours, Bike and Roll strives to set the standard nationwide for high quality and safe urban tour experiences.

 

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Bike and Roll Fall Hours

Cycling Events

September is here!  Starting September 2nd, our Fall operating hours will go in to effect.

fall

Open 7 Days a Week

Central Park at Columbus Circle West: 8AM – 10PM

Central Park at Columbus Circle South: 8AM – 10PM

Central Park at Tavern on the Green: 9AM – 7PM

Pier 84: 9AM – 7PM

Battery Park: 9AM – 7PM

 

Open Weekends ONLY 

Brooklyn Bridge Park: 11AM – 7PM

Riverside Park: 11AM – 7PM

Liberty State Park: 10AM – 5PM

 

East River Park and West Harlem Piers Park are CLOSED for the 2014 season.

 

New York City in the Fall is a beautiful time of year!  Hop on a bike and take in the beauty of Autumn in NYC!

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