Category Archives: Summer Cycling

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 https://bikeandrollnyc.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 bikeandrollnyc.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

Summer Streets 2012 — Saturday No. 1

Yes, I was one of those New Yorkers who was never around on Saturdays in August.  Then I started working at Bike and Roll and Summer Streets came into my life.

For those of you who don’t know, Summer Streets takes place every year during the first three Saturdays in August.  From 7am to 1pm on each of these days, the city shuts down Park Ave. and Lafayette St. creating a seven-mile car-free haven for pedestrians, bikes, roller skaters, and scooter-ers.  Plus, the southern two lanes of 72nd St. are roped off to create a bike lane into and out of Central Park.  For anyone north of the event and near the park, it’s the perfect car-free conduit to Summer Streets.

Let me reiterate the virtues of doing anything in New York EARLY!  The cops have blocked off the streets by 6:30am and the world is your oyster!  There are some spandex jackrabbits in the park, but peeling off onto 72nd St. means you’ve left it all behind.

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A Summer Day on Governors Island

We were looking for something special to do.  My kids are leaving for camp on Sunday, so we want to do something special and memorable on Saturday.  Since several weeks of separation are looming, my children are being very nice to me and agree to get up early to go to Governors Island.

I am one of those New Yorkers who doesn’t like crowds.  There are lots of us on this island of more than eight million and we use tricks to feel like there are far fewer people than those who actually share our space.

The first trick is to go wherever you are going early!  Visit any location that tourists and locals like to visit and you’ll notice that they are empty until noon or so on weekends.  The kids and I are up, dressed, breakfasted, and out the door by 8am Saturday morning.  We catch the subway down to South Ferry and were at the GI ferry terminal by 8:40am.

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Hudson River Park: Manhattan waterside destination

BETH J. HARPAZ | July 12, 2012 11:07 AM EST | AP


NEW YORK — In the last decade, the decrepit piers and industrial zones along five miles of the Hudson River on Manhattan’s West Side have been utterly transformed. Hudson River Park is now a destination that gets 17 million visits annually, with a bike path, green spaces, playgrounds and recreation ranging from mini-golf and skateboarding to kayaking and even stand-up paddleboarding.

Melissa Lopez rented a bike a few weeks ago from Bike and Roll at Pier 84, near 44th Street and 12th Avenue, and was amazed at what she saw as she rode downtown through the park.

“It was gorgeous, like a little nature haven, beautiful flowers, trees, and only when you looked over to your left (at the buildings), did you realize you were in between a concrete jungle and this beautiful river,” said Lopez, 29, who came in from her home in suburban Westchester for the day. “Everyone was doing something active – sunbathing, rollerblading, bike riding. There was one pier with a volleyball court with sand. I kept telling my boyfriend, `Are we really in New York City?'”

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You have to see it to believe it (Governors Island)

Picture this. A beautiful park, complete with lush grass and foliage as well as a historic buildings, completely surrounded by water, with a view of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the Manhattan skyline.  If didn’t hate using clichés so much this would be where I started to call it one of New York’s “best kept secrets,” a real “diamond in the rough.”

In all reality though, I was shocked while biking around Governors Island. It is a tiny little island only 800 feet of the coast of Manhattan. Yet, somehow, there is almost no noise, no cars, and no people. Rather than weaving in and out of people and cars, overwhelmed by horns and chatter, I got to ride completely uninhibited by others.

 

Ever since the day I interviewed at Bike and Roll, I have been hearing about this amazing island. Even still, I must say, the promotional material certainly does not do it justice. You will have to experience the beautiful serenity of Governors Island first hand to truly understand that this rant isn’t even an exaggeration!

Summer Streets NYC (August 2nd, 9th, and 16th, 2014)

On three consecutive Saturdays in August, nearly seven miles of New York City’s streets are opened to the public to play, run, walk and bike.

Summer Streets is an annual celebration of New York City’s most valuable public space—our streets. Summer Streets provides space for healthy recreation and encourages New Yorkers to use more sustainable forms of transportation. In 2013, more than 300,000 people took advantage of the open streets.

Summer Streets is modeled on other events from around the world including Ciclovía in Bogotá, Colombia and the Paris Plage in France. The event is part bike tour, part walking tour, part block party—a great time for exercise, people watching, or just enjoying summer mornings. Passersby are weclome to participate in arts and crafts workshops, listen to musical performances, learn to salsa dance, eat healthy snacks, climb a 25′ climbing wall, soar through the sky on a 160′ zipline and explore a 179 years voice tunnel.

map_800w-1Held between 7:00 am to 1:00 pm, Summer Streets extends from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park, along Park Avenue and connecting streets, with easy access from all points in New York City, allowing participants to plan a trip as long or short as they wish. All activities at Summer Streets are free of charge, and designed for people of all ages and ability levels to share the streets respectfully.

Summer Streets is a project of the New York City Department of Transportation. With nearly 7 miles of open streets, 5 rest stops and a seven-block-long art installation in the Park Avenue Tunnel – there is plenty to explore at Summer Streets. And remember, everything at Summer Streets is free!

Bike and Roll New York City is a proud Local Programming Partner of Summer Streets. Even if you don’t have a bicycle of your own, get out and enjoy the festivities by renting a bike from any one of our numerous city-wide locations.