New York Bicycle

It’s not the most bike-friendly city, but New Yorkers are getting better at tolerating cyclists, thanks in part to improved road conditions, new bike paths and the efforts of bike clubs. In late 2007, the city transformed Ninth Ave between 16th and 23rd Sts with a Euro-styled separate bike lane separated from traffic by parked cars – hopefully more will follow.

For maps of bike paths and a clearinghouse of tips, check the website of Transportation Alternatives (212-629-8080; www.transalt.org; suite 1002, 127 W 26th St), which sponsors Bike Month NYC every May. Key Manhattan bike lanes are along 8th Ave, Broadway, and 20th, 21st, 9th and 10th Sts.

If you do ride around the city, always wear a helmet, choose a bike with wide tires to help you handle potholes and other bits of street debris and be alert so you don’t get ‘doored’ by a passenger exiting a taxi. Unless your urban skills are well honed, stick to the pastoral paths in Central and Prospect Parks and along the Hudson River. And don’t even think of pedaling on the sidewalks – it’s illegal. If you must lock a bike up somewhere in the city, forgo anything that’s not the most top-of-the-line U-lock you can find – or, better yet, stick to the $100 coated chains that weigh a ton.

You’re allowed to bring your bike onto the subway. Lettered subway lines (eg A, C, E, etc) have bigger stations and subway cars, and are thus easier to manage with a bike.