How to Bike NYC in a Day

bike nyc

Biking is one of the best time saver hacks in the city because it allows you to see more of the city in less time.

Though the city isn’t as bike friendly as cities like Amsterdam or Seattle, it has been making great strides to get the streets retrofitted for cyclists.

There are plenty of ways to rent bikes in New York, which makes it a reliable form of transportation.


Bike Rentals


There are plenty of bike rental shops located throughout the city, though most are near Central Park or Brooklyn Bridge. You can rent bikes by the hour or day here. They also offer helmets, water, and a bathroom at pick-up and drop-off points. Most bike shops also offer bike tours throughout the city.


Citi Bike


Citi Bike, NYC’s first bike share system was introduced in 2013. It allows locals and visitors to rent a bike through an automated kiosk, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

All riders must be aged 16 or over and need to have an access membership. Memberships can be obtained through Citi Bike NYC’s website.

Single rides cost $4; day passes cost $12; 3-day passes cost $24; and annual memberships cost $163. All prices are for 30-minute rides (except for annual riders, who get 45-minute rides). You must return your Citi Bike within 30 minutes or pay a $2.50 fee per each additional 15 minutes.


Bike Share


Splinlister is a bike share app that allows you to rent bikes from locals around the city when they’re not using their bikes. Just download the app, and look for an available bike on the map.

Rentals start at $5 an hour, $25 a day, and $125 a week.

You need to request to reserve a bike in advance, so plan wisely.


Bike Tours


If you want to get the most out of your cycling journey, you might want to consider a bike tour. You’ll be able to see iconic or themed sites while getting some background information and local history. Tours are great for riders who are less experience because they often travel at slower paces and offer guided instruction.


Central Park


Considering this 843-acre park’s vast size, a bike ride is one of the best ways to see as much as possible. Try to bike the park as early or late as possible to avoid the hoard of tourists that had the same idea as you. In the summer months, the park gets extremely crowded with bike traffic from 10 AM to 6 PM, so try to avoid these times.


Brooklyn Bridge


As lovely as a bike ride across the Brooklyn Bridge sounds, you should consider a few factors before heading across on two wheels.

  • The Brooklyn Bridge gets ridiculously crowded; this means you’ll need to yield for pedestrians every few feet.
  • Cyclists and bike messengers can get extremely aggressive with sightseeing cyclists on the bridge; if you plan on stopping for photos, consider walking instead.


Governors Island


Governor’s Island is open to the public May through September each year. You can rent Citi Bikes on the island or from Blazing Saddles, which offers a free hour of biking from 10 AM to 12 PM every morning. You’re free to bring your own bike, but there’s often limited space on the ferry for bikes to Governor’s Island.


Bike + Subway + Ferry


One of the best ways to take full advantage of the city and see the most sites is to use a combination of biking, subways, and ferries. Bikes are allowed on all subways and most ferries.

Avoid taking bikes onto subways during rush hour when trains are full and rarely have room for bikes.


Safety First


Biking NYC can be as safe, but you still need to take precautions.

Bike lanes have been added to many streets, though plenty of cars still cross into them. Many automobiles don’t pay attention to pedestrians or cyclists, so you need to be diligent about avoiding traffic.

The city is covered in cobblestoned streets in some neighborhoods—great if you want a quaint ambiance, not so great if you don’t want a bruised tush.

It’s illegal to ride bikes on the sidewalks (though the cops often look the other way to this infraction), so you might not be able to avoid cobblestones in areas like SoHo, Greenwich Village, DUMBO, TriBeCa, and Stone Street.

Helmets are mandatory for riders 14 years of age and under; though, it’s heavily encouraged for all riders to don a protective gear.

E-bikes and bikes fitted with lawnmower motors are illegal in the city, though the police often look the other way regarding these vehicles. Many of these franken-bikes can drive faster than manual bikes, and drivers have been known to collide with a pedestrian, cyclist, or two.

If you’re an unexperienced rider, stick to bike-only paths and parks to avoid city traffic.

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