Thanks to its intricate subway and train system, NYC has always been a commuter city. But between its beautiful weather and the underground system’s tendency for delays and cancellations, many New Yorkers have turned to bikes to get to work, school or play. Responding to that trend, the city government has amped up your ride by creating a number of protected bike paths through all of NYC’s most popular boroughs and sites. To get a firsthand experience, grab your bike and your Closca Helmet, and explore the New York bike paths listed below. Trust us: They’re fan favorites.
Central Park—A Must-See
Central Park has long been a coveted destination in The Big Apple for tourists and locals alike, and lucky for cyclists, there are already existing routes to explore it by bike. If you’re craving a shorter ride, opt for either the Central Park Southern Loop or Lower Loop. The first of these New York bike paths is only 1.7 miles long and usually free of cars on the weekends, and the latter goes past some of the park’s quintessential sites: like the Central Park zoo, the boathouse, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Reservoir, Tavern on the Green and more. For the full monty, bike the Central Park Full Loop. It’s a picturesque 6.1 miles, and runs through the interior perimeter of the park, past every body of water, field and iconic statue that calls the park home.
Hudson River Greenway
With its unbeatable Hudson River views and dedicated bike trail (which runs parallel to the river the whole time), the Hudson River Greenway is route riders should not miss. Running along the West Side of Manhattan, this 11-mile path has two lanes just for cyclists, is free from cars, and is bordered by Battery Park on its south end and Riverside Park on its north end. If you’re riding towards Battery Park, hop off right before you get to the end of the route and walk on foot to see the One World Observatory or the 9/11 Memorial & Museum a few blocks away. They’re both worth a visit!
East River Greenway
If you want New York bike paths with great views of city icons, hit the East River Greenway path, which has breathtaking vistas of both the Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge. Running along the East River, this is a trail for bikers, runners and walkers alike. It runs around the United Nations building, through beautiful downtown Manhattan, and even past the South Street Seaport. The route takes about a half-hour, and for added safety, it is entirely car-free the whole time.
Prospect Park Loop
Also in Brooklyn, Prospect Park is the flagship of the borough, and it’s a place where you can do everything from boating, basketball, baseball and ice skating, to visiting a zoo, seeing a show, throwing a BBQ or even riding a carousel. For cyclists, there’s a 3.5-mile dedicated bike loop that runs along the interior perimeter, giving you full access to explore all that this 585-acre green space has to offer. Prospect Park is also home to Brooklyn’s only lake, so when you hop on New York bike paths like this, you’ll get beautiful fall views.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Brooklyn! Stretching 1.3 miles in length, from Pier 1 to Pier 6, the Brooklyn Bridge Park route is known as one of the best places to see the Manhattan skyline. Sitting right along the river, NYC bike routes like this will have you riding through rolling hills, riverfront promenades and lush, colorful gardens, all free from cars, so you won’t have to worry about traffic. To keep it lively, this greenway path is wide enough to accommodate families, couples and avid runners alike, all of whom are often buzzing through it. For a change of scene, hop just outside the park and bike trail and you’ll find some of Brooklyn’s most well-known food spots: like the Brooklyn Ice Cream factory or Grimaldi’s.
Only open to the public during summer, and always closed to cars, Governors Island is the perfect place to go for a bike ride. A rather small island, it sits right in the middle of New York Harbor and is only 2.5 miles in circumference. While you ride, take stops to enjoy an afternoon picnic, taste local food and brews (like the Governors Island Beer Company!), explore Fort Jay and Castle Williams, relax in a hammock, try your hand at gardening, get one of the best views of the Statue of Liberty and more.
Jersey City Waterfront
Want to see a different side of NYC? Head down this route, which will take you right through Jersey City, across the pond. Here, you can pedal along the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway to Paulus Hook, a historic neighborhood that was once a major battleground in the Revolutionary War. While there, be sure to hop off your bike and try the food—Paulus Hook is known for its restaurants. On the other side of that is Liberty State Park, where you’ll ride parallel to Ellis Island towards the Empty Sky Memorial, a 9/11 monument in New Jersey.