With figures showing that 250,000 more New Yorkers regularly ride a bike versus five years ago and an estimated 450,000+ cycling trips made every day around the city (triple the number 15 years ago), it’s fair to say that the Big Apple has caught the cycling bug. In July 2017, alone, 70,286 trips were made on Citi Bike hires across the city – a new daily record.
It’s one of the most diverse, exciting cities in the world and for more and more people there’s no finer way to explore it. But, if you’ve not tried it before, knowing where to start can be a bit daunting. To help, we have dug out some of the most interesting ways of finding routes across the city, plus tips and secrets of getting on your bike in New York.
First up, you’re obviously going to need a bike, but if you’re not quite ready to invest just yet then Citi Bike is all the craze in New York. The bike share programme’s strap line says it all: ‘Faster than walking, cheaper than a taxi and more fun than the subway’. Choose anything from a day pass for visitors to annual passes for the more committed resident.
Other than your bike, it is worth investing in some good, visible, comfortable, all-weather clothing. If you are just starting out, the two most important items are a well-fitting, visible helmet and a good jacket. Helmets are required by law for children aged 13 but are recommended for cyclists at any age. The Proviz’s Reflect360 Bike Helmet, is both reflective and has integrated lights. For a jacket, consider the Proviz Switch, which is ideal for night and day riding and can be used for walking and other activities, too. The other essential piece of kit is a good lock – Citi Bike provides one if you are hiring through them – and make sure you lock the frame and wheels.
Cycling might be on the up in New York but that doesn’t mean the roads are any less quiet. If you’re hitting the streets for the first time, make sure you are aware of any laws or regulations that you need to follow. New York’s biking laws are as follows:
If you are just starting out, it’s worth following designated bike lanes, which are marked by green tarmac all the way to Manhattan's Central Park, Brooklyn's Prospect Park, Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, or one of the many other city parks that feature bike-friendly, car-free spaces to ride - where ultimately you can enjoy a safer, more relaxing cycle. Manhattan's Waterfront Greenway also boasts stunning views (best enjoyed on foot or by bike).
There are many route finding apps that can help you plan your journey before you head off. It is a good idea to start out cycling in areas that you know well – perhaps you have walked or run them before or are just familiar with each road and route.
Enjoy a social spin with organised group rides from Rapha Clubhouses every week. Credit: Rapha Racing Ltd.
Like many cities, the cycling culture is huge in New York and cafés have become very cycling friendly. New communities have formed as a result, since hanging out in these cafés is a great way to meet likeminded people and get lots of tips on routes and share the general enjoyment of the sport. There are lots to choose from but a couple of our favourites include:
Red lantern Bicycles is a great spot to grab a bite to eat. Credit: Red Lantern Bikes
There are also lots of clubs, websites and organisations that can help you explore further:
Good luck and enjoy!
Image Copyright: Man cycling through New York Copyright: moodboard / 123RF Stock Photo
The reflective capability of our REFLECT360 material helps other road users to identify a runner or cyclist’s position on the road at night.