Tag Archives: Citibike

Bikes on the Sidwalk

Bike Riding Tips for Tourists in NYC

Times have changed. Riding a bike in NYC today is WAY different than it was 20 years ago. So if you are a hesitant tourist desiring a bike ride, hesitate not. As long as you are willing to follow the traffic rules and have some previous bike riding experience in another city, please #DoWhatLocalsDo and join us Big Apple cyclists!

Kid on a bicycle

Getting Ready to Sneak a Slurpee

I’ve been riding a bike for fun since I was a kid – going down a dirt path alongside the ditch that ran for miles in the Colorado suburb of my childhood on hot summer days to sneak off to the 7-11 for a Slurpee. And for a collective 30+ years in my adult life, I’ve used my bike a great deal for commuting. But when I moved to NYC two decades ago, this one-of-a-kind urban jungle presented a huge bike riding learning curve that not only took skill, but a whole lot of nerve!

Bicyclist in Traffic

Who would do that?

Riding in a bicycle lane in the early 90’s was practically unheard of – as there were few, if any to be found in the five boroughs. So, riding down a street, inches away from fast-moving vehicles was par for the course. I was lucky to have a friend who was a bicycle messenger and she showed me how to hold my own in traffic, with it, or against it.

Nowadays, I would never dream of riding against the traffic, nor do I need to as NYC is filled with bicycle lanes, many of which are strictly reserved for cyclists and which have their own unique traffic lights.

Number one tip: Get the Free NYC Bike Map

Free NYC Bike Map

For real, it’s free.

The totally amazing Free NYC Bike Map is available in many locations including nearly every bicycle store and public library in the city. The legend shows you greenways, protected bicycle paths, bicycle lanes, shared lanes and suggested routes (when no bicycle lane is available). You will see from this map you can bike to just about anywhere, including all the way to Coney Island. You can enjoy laps around the enormous (Central and Prospect) parks as well as dozens of little parks found everywhere. You can ride from the southern most tip to the northern most tip of Manhattan along the Hudson River! You can ride all the way out to Corona-Flushing Meadows Park in Queens, and if you wear yourself out, take your bike on the subway to come home.

Need a Bike for Days on End?

If you plan on taking multiple all-day bike rides, having a weekly rental would be ideal. Check out this Yelp page, which lists many rentals in interesting parts of the city beyond the “tourist trap” options.

Bike Sharing
NYC Citibike Map

They’re everywhere.

Looking for something hassle free for quick rides? Try our NYC CitiBike program! This is bike share program has 8,000 bikes available spread out over 500 docking stations across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Jersey City. It’s designed for short trips with convenience and affordability in mind. A one-day pass is $12 and a 3-day pass is $24. If you’ve never used a bike share program before, take our Local Expeditions Citibike DUMBO tour where we walk you through the Citibike process, lead you on an amazing ride over NYC’s TWO greatest bridges (Manhattan and Brooklyn) AND give you a walking tour in DUMBO, Brooklyn. (Check out a short video about Citibike DUMBO from our Local Expeditions founder, Nancy Blaine.)

Mainstream Touristy Convenience

Tourists on Bikes

Traveling in a Pack.

Pinched for time? You will find at Columbus Circle several businesses renting bikes by the hour that you can take for a spin in Central Park. And, the Central Park Conservancy recommends BikeRent NYC, which operates locations at the southwest and southeast corners of Central Park.

Infamous Do’s and Don’t’s

 

Green Light and Red Light

DO

~Wear a helmet.

~Follow the traffic laws and rules.

~Beware of pedestrians around Macy’s, Times Square and Columbus Circle who cavalierly walk in the bike lanes – despite the sidewalk available for their use! (Most bike rentals, including Citibikes have bells so you can ding them a warning.)

~Beware of car and cabs that are pulled over to let a passenger out – sometimes people will open their door right into the bike lane without looking.

~Lock up your bike if you are walking away from it, even for a few minutes. (And if you have a long-term rental, it’s best practice to bring it inside with you overnight.)

~Be aware of your surroundings and you will have fun!

DON’T

~Ever ride the wrong way on a one-way bike lane.

~Ever ignore any of the traffic rules. Just because you are on a bike doesn’t mean you can run stop signs or red lights. (I’ve had a bicycle accident two times in 20 years – and it was with another cyclist crossing against a red light. Luckily no one was hurt!)

~Ride at night without lights – a white one on the front and a red one on the back. (Citibikes have built in back lights!)

FINALLY

While you are riding a bike in NYC, please enjoy the green, growing and sustainable bike friendly culture we developed with an environmental conscious in mind. And visit us again on our Local Expeditions blog for ongoing tips for visitors and local alike!

Anatomy of a Citibike DUMBO Tour

This Mother’s Day, May 8, 2016, we had a small group of folks on our CitiBike DUMBO tour. The description of the tour on our website gives the basics, but I want to share what happens from the POV of someone who has done the tour from beginning till end! Here are some of the highlights from this recent expedition.

While I was headed to our meet-up spot, I was surprised to find Marge Simpson hanging out in Chinatown:

Maggie Simpson sitting on Marge's lap in Chinatown

Marge with Maggie Simpson on her lap in Chinatown

I joined the others at our meet-up spot, the Confucius Square CitiBike dock and kiosk where we were greeted by our guide and founder of Local Expeditions, Nancy Blaine.

Statue of Confucius

Statue of Confucius in Confucius Plaza, Chinatown, NYC

It’s $10 for a CitiBike Day Pass. This cost is not included in our tour price, but it is a real bargain especially because a day pass lasts 24-hours and you can ride around NYC long after the tour ends! All you need to get the pass is a VISA/Mastercard credit or debit card. (And if you love bike riding, I suggest you go ahead and get a 3-day pass for $24, which gets you unlimited 30-minute rides in a 72-hour period. It’s a great alternative to taking the subway.)

Citibike Dock and Kiosk

Fleet of Citibikes in Confucius Square

Nancy walked us through the process securing our day pass at the Kiosk and we un-docked our bikes and headed over to the Manhattan Bridge. If you’re from out of town, you may be asking yourself “What about the cars?” Both the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges have bike and pedestrian paths separated from the traffic. And, Nancy escorted us the entire way onto and over the bridge.

Resting spot on Manhattan Bridge

Resting spot on Manhattan Bridge

Riding over the bridge, we saw some infamous NYC graffiti!

Graffiti on Manhattan Bridge

Manhattan Bridge Graffiti

When we arrived in DUMBO, we docked our bikes at the Citibike kiosk (they are everywhere) and went on a walking tour, which led us by the most Instagrammed spot in NYC on Washington Street; many cool stores; and the Brooklyn Flea, an outdoor market offering unique food, clothes, art, furniture and more!

Flea Market in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Flea in DUMBO

We sat down for coffee and pastries at the excellent Almondine Bakery to have a rest, regroup and trade tourism stories. We all agreed Almondine serves, without a question, the best croissants in NYC.

Croissants at Almondine Bakery

There they are!

Later, Nancy told us about the major engineering feats of the amazing Brooklyn Bridge along with other history about DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) and how it has become one of the hottest neighborhoods in all of NYC.

History of DUMBO BK

Urban history of DUMBO

We toured more of the neighborhood and went to St. Ann’s Warehouse. St. Ann’s Warehouse is one of the most unique live performance theatre spaces, on the East Coast. (They are currently showing the BIANCO no-fit state circus and “A Streetcar Named Desire” starring Gillian Anderson.)

Tennessee Williams

“…After all, a woman’s charm is fifty percent illusion…”

Here’s our intrepid guide in front of the NY Ferry landing:

NY Ferry landing

Nancy Blaine

To end the tour, we picked up another CitiBike and rode back to Manhattan via the glorious Brooklyn Bridge.

NYC Bridges

See the Manhattan Bridge behind us from the Brooklyn Bridge!

I had such a great day on this exciting tour. And, getting to meet the other tour participants was fun, especially with our instant camaraderie!

By Local Expeditions team member Lisa Haas