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Biking In New York: Trail Guides & Resources For NYC & Beyond


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Deanne Behm



Biking in New York offers a unique and exhilarating way to explore the bustling cityscape and surrounding areas. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cyclist, the Big Apple has something to offer for all levels of adventurers. From the thrill of navigating the streets of Manhattan to the tranquility of biking through picturesque park trails, there’s no shortage of biking opportunities in this vibrant metropolis.


With its well-connected network of bike lanes, paths, and dedicated infrastructure, New York City has become increasingly bike-friendly in recent years. Not only is biking an eco-friendly mode of transportation, but it also allows you to discover hidden gems and experience the city from a different perspective.


But biking in New York City is not without its challenges. The crowded streets and fast-paced traffic can be intimidating for newcomers. That’s why it’s crucial to be well-equipped with knowledge and resources before hitting the streets on two wheels.


In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the benefits of biking in New York, offer tips for navigating the city’s busy streets, highlight some popular bike trails within the city, share resources and organizations to help you make the most of your biking experience, and even suggest some exciting biking adventures beyond the city limits.


So, grab your helmet, hop on your saddle, and get ready for a thrilling biking adventure in the concrete jungle!


Benefits of Biking in New York

Biking in New York City offers a myriad of benefits, making it an appealing mode of transportation and recreation for both residents and visitors alike.


1. Health and Fitness: Cycling is a fantastic way to stay active and improve your cardiovascular health. By incorporating biking into your daily routine, you’ll enjoy the benefits of regular exercise, helping to strengthen your muscles, improve endurance, and burn calories. The diverse terrain of New York City provides ample opportunities for challenging rides and scenic routes, allowing you to tailor your biking experience to your fitness level and preferences.


2. Time and Cost Savings: Biking in the city can often be faster than other forms of transportation, especially during peak hours when traffic congestion is at its height. It’s a cost-effective alternative to driving or relying on public transportation, as there are no transportation fees or fuel expenses. Plus, you’ll save on gym membership fees since cycling doubles as a workout and a means of commuting.


3. Environmental Impact: Choosing to bike instead of driving or taking public transport reduces your carbon footprint and contributes to a cleaner, more sustainable environment. By pedaling your way around the city, you’re actively reducing air pollution, noise, and congestion, thereby making a positive impact on urban mobility and overall environmental well-being.


4. Exploration and Flexibility: Biking allows you to explore the city at your own pace and discover hidden gems that may be missed when using other modes of transport. With bike lanes and paths connecting various neighborhoods, you have the freedom to chart your own course, choosing to take detours, stop at interesting landmarks, or simply soak in the energy of different neighborhoods.


5. Improved Mental Well-being: The act of biking itself can have a positive impact on your mental health. Outdoor exercise, fresh air, and exposure to nature while enjoying the city’s natural beauty can help reduce stress levels, increase mindfulness, and improve overall well-being. Biking also offers a sense of freedom and empowerment, boosting your confidence and mood.


With these benefits in mind, it’s no wonder that the popularity of biking in New York City continues to rise. Whether you’re commuting to work, running errands, or exploring the city’s vibrant streets, hopping on a bike can enhance your overall experience and contribute to a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle.


Tips for Biking in New York City

Biking in New York City can be an exhilarating experience, but it’s important to be prepared and follow some essential tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride:

1. Familiarize Yourself with Bike Lanes and Paths: Before hitting the streets, study the city’s bike map to familiarize yourself with designated bike lanes and paths. Stick to these designated areas whenever possible to stay safe and avoid conflicts with pedestrians and vehicles. 2. Wear Safety Gear: Always wear a properly fitted helmet to protect your head in case of falls or accidents. Additionally, wear bright and reflective clothing to improve your visibility to motorists, especially at night. 3. Follow Traffic Laws: Treat your bike as a vehicle and obey all traffic laws. This includes stopping at red lights, yielding to pedestrians, using hand signals for turns, and riding in the designated direction of traffic. 4. Be Aware of Surroundings: Stay alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Keep an eye out for opening car doors, pedestrians crossing the street, and vehicles making sudden turns. New York City is a bustling city with constant activity, so it’s crucial to be vigilant. 5. Use Lights and Reflectors: If you plan on biking at night or in low-light conditions, make sure your bike is equipped with lights and reflectors. Having a front headlight and rear taillight will increase your visibility and make you more noticeable to motorists. 6. Lock Your Bike Securely: Invest in a sturdy bike lock and use it to secure your bike whenever you need to leave it unattended. Biking is a popular mode of transportation in NYC, making bike theft a common issue. Lock your bike to a secure and immovable object to deter thieves. 7. Plan Your Route: Before embarking on a biking adventure, plan your route in advance. Consider using navigation apps or printing out a map to avoid getting lost and ensure you reach your destination efficiently. 8. Take Breaks and Stay Hydrated: Biking can be physically demanding, so remember to take breaks, especially on longer rides. Find bike-friendly parks or rest areas to stop and rest. Stay hydrated by carrying a water bottle with you and refilling it at water fountains or local shops. 9. Be Courteous to Others: Show respect and courtesy to pedestrians and other cyclists. Give pedestrians the right of way, and always yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Use your bell or horn to signal your presence when passing pedestrians or other cyclists. 10. Maintain Your Bike: Regularly maintain your bike to ensure it is in good working condition. Check the tire pressure, brakes, and gears before every ride. If you’re not familiar with bike maintenance, consider taking your bike to a local bike shop for professional inspection and tune-ups. By following these tips, you can confidently navigate the bustling streets of New York City and enjoy a safe and pleasant biking experience.


Popular Bike Trails in New York City

New York City may be known for its towering skyscrapers and bustling streets, but it is also home to several scenic bike trails that offer a refreshing escape from the urban hustle and bustle. Here are some of the popular bike trails in and around the city:

1. Hudson River Greenway: Spanning over 13 miles along the west side of Manhattan, the Hudson River Greenway offers stunning views of the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline. This paved trail takes you through beautiful parks, including Riverside Park and Battery Park City, and provides easy access to attractions like the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum and the High Line. 2. Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway: Explore the vibrant borough of Brooklyn by biking along the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. This 14-mile route takes you through beautiful waterfront parks, including Brooklyn Bridge Park and Red Hook Park, offering breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty. 3. Central Park Loop: A classic and iconic biking route in New York City, the Central Park Loop provides an oasis of nature in the heart of Manhattan. The 6.1-mile loop offers a car-free respite, allowing cyclists to enjoy the park’s stunning landscapes, scenic reservoir, and famous landmarks like Strawberry Fields and Bethesda Terrace. 4. Randall’s Island Loop: Located in the East River, between Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx, Randall’s Island offers a 5-mile loop trail that attracts cyclists of all levels. The loop provides ample space away from traffic and boasts stunning views of the Manhattan and Queens skylines. Plus, with its numerous fields, parks, and waterfront areas, it’s a welcoming destination for picnics and relaxation. 5. Governor’s Island: Accessible by a short ferry ride, Governor’s Island offers a car-free oasis just a stone’s throw away from Manhattan. The island features a 2.2-mile scenic bike path that winds around picturesque landscapes and historic sites. As you bike around the island, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the Statue of Liberty, skyline, and the Statue of Liberty. These are just a few of the many bike trails that offer unforgettable biking experiences within the city limits. They provide a chance to immerse yourself in nature, escape the urban chaos, and discover hidden corners of the city that you may not have seen before. Whether you’re a local looking to spice up your biking routine or a visitor seeking a unique way to explore New York City, these popular bike trails are sure to impress. So, grab your bike, put on your helmet, and get ready to pedal your way through the city’s natural beauty and iconic landmarks.


Bike Resources and Organizations in New York City

New York City is not only a haven for biking enthusiasts but also home to numerous bike resources and organizations that are dedicated to promoting biking culture, safety, and advocacy. Whether you’re looking for bike rentals, repair shops, or a community of fellow cyclists, these resources and organizations are here to support you:

1. Transportation Alternatives: As one of the leading transportation advocacy organizations in New York City, Transportation Alternatives is committed to making the city’s streets safer and more accessible for cyclists and pedestrians. They offer resources, including bike safety classes, educational materials, and advocacy campaigns focusing on expanding bike infrastructure and improving cycling conditions. 2. Bike New York: Bike New York is a non-profit organization that seeks to promote and encourage cycling in NYC. They offer various programs and initiatives, such as free bike education classes, community rides, and the renowned TD Five Boro Bike Tour—an annual event attracting thousands of cyclists from around the world. 3. Citi Bike: Citi Bike is an extremely popular bike-sharing program in New York City, providing a convenient and affordable option for residents and visitors to explore the city. With thousands of bikes stationed at dock stations throughout the city, Citi Bike is a great resource for short trips or leisurely rides. 4. Bike Repair Shops and Rentals: If you’re in need of bike repairs or rentals, there are numerous shops in the city catering to cyclists. Bike shops like Red Lantern Bicycles in Brooklyn, NYC Velo in Manhattan, and Bike Slug in Queens offer expert repairs, bike fittings, and a wide selection of bikes for sale or rent. 5. NYC Department of Transportation (DOT): The NYC DOT plays a crucial role in developing and implementing bike infrastructure and policies to make the city safer for cyclists. Their website offers maps of bike lanes, bike safety tips, and updates on ongoing projects aimed at improving biking conditions throughout the city. 6. Bike Maps and Apps: There are several bike-specific maps and mobile apps available to help cyclists navigate the city’s bike lanes and paths. Apps like Google Maps, Ride with GPS, and BikeMap provide detailed directions, real-time updates, and even suggested scenic routes for an enhanced biking experience. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or just starting out, these resources and organizations can provide the support and information you need to make the most of your biking adventures in New York City. From educational programs and advocacy efforts to bike rentals and repair shops, the city offers a wealth of opportunities to ensure your biking experience is safe, enjoyable, and memorable. So, take advantage of these resources, connect with the biking community, and pedal your way through the streets of the Big Apple.


Exploring Bike Trails Beyond New York City

While New York City offers a plethora of scenic bike trails within its boundaries, there are also fantastic options for cycling enthusiasts looking to venture beyond the city limits. Here are some exhilarating bike trails in the surrounding areas of New York:

1. North County Trailway: Located just north of New York City, the North County Trailway stretches for approximately 25 miles through Westchester County. Bikers can enjoy a peaceful journey through forests, wetlands, and charming towns. The trail is paved and mostly flat, making it suitable for cyclists of all skill levels. 2. Old Croton Aqueduct Trail: Following the path of a historic aqueduct, the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail provides a scenic and historic biking experience. Stretching for 26 miles from Yonkers to Croton-on-Hudson, the trail winds through wooded areas, picturesque communities, and offers beautiful views of the Hudson River. 3. Staten Island Greenbelt: If you’re looking for a mix of nature and urban exploration, the Staten Island Greenbelt is a must-visit. This lush green space covers over 2,800 acres and features a network of trails suitable for biking. Cyclists can explore forests, ponds, and open meadows while enjoying the tranquility of this hidden gem. 4. Shawangunk Ridge Trail: For those seeking a more challenging biking adventure, the Shawangunk Ridge Trail is a fantastic option. Located in the Hudson Valley, this 55-mile trail offers breathtaking views of cliffs, forests, and sparkling lakes. The trail is mostly unpaved and features varying terrains, making it ideal for experienced off-road cyclists. 5. Walkway Over the Hudson: Combining biking with a magnificent view, the Walkway Over the Hudson is a converted railroad bridge that offers a unique biking experience. Stretching over the Hudson River, the bridge connects Poughkeepsie to Highland and provides panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. 6. Bethpage State Park: Located on Long Island, Bethpage State Park features a variety of biking trails suitable for all levels of cyclists. With over 12 miles of paved paths, riders can explore the park’s beautiful greenery, ponds, and golf courses. These bike trails beyond New York City allow cyclists to escape the urban environment and embrace nature’s beauty. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely ride through picturesque towns or a thrilling off-road adventure, these trails offer a diverse range of experiences for biking enthusiasts. So, pack your gear, load up your bike, and hit the road to discover the breathtaking trails that await just beyond the city limits.



Biking in New York City and its surrounding areas is an incredible way to experience the vibrant energy and diverse landscapes of this iconic region. From the bustling streets of Manhattan to the tranquil trails of the Hudson Valley, there are bike routes to suit every taste and skill level. Not only does biking provide numerous physical and mental health benefits, but it also offers a sustainable and eco-friendly way to explore the city and its surroundings.


By following the tips and resources provided, you can confidently navigate the streets of New York City, ensuring your safety and enjoyment throughout your biking adventures. Remember to embrace the bike trails within the city, such as the Hudson River Greenway and Central Park Loop, which offer stunning views and a welcome escape from the urban chaos.


But don’t forget about the exciting opportunities that await beyond the city limits. Explore the North County Trailway or the Shawangunk Ridge Trail for a change of scenery and a chance to immerse yourself in nature.


Whether you choose to bike for leisure, commute to work, or embark on an adventurous journey, biking in New York City allows you to connect with the vibrant neighborhoods, explore hidden gems, and witness breathtaking sights along the way. It’s a unique and exhilarating experience that will leave you with lasting memories.


So, grab your helmet, hop on your bike, and prepare to discover the beauty and excitement that awaits you on the bike trails of New York City and beyond.