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10 Best Bike Paths in New York City

10 Best Bike Paths in New York City

Picture of Laura Farrell
Updated: 12 December 2015
Counteracting the mass amount of concrete, New Yorkers love to spend their time outdoors. Nothing excites us more than the break of spring when we flock to the nearest park to snuggle up with books, dine al fresco and enjoy outdoor activities while the warm weather lasts. In an effort to fuel an active lifestyle, New York City has some of the most picturesque cityscape bike paths. With a handful of options to choose from, the urban biker can indulge in multiple rides throughout the city. Here are ten bike-riding routes to try in New York City.

Carroll Gardens to Coney Island

While some of the original path was lost in the 1970s to make room for the Prospect Expressway, this tree-lined path remains intact from Prospect Park to Coney Island. The path begins at the Cobble Hill-Carroll Gardens for a quiet brownstone tour until you hit Broardwalk mainstay Ruby’s Bar & Grill. The Ocean Parkway path runs from Ocean Parkway and East 8th Street in Kensington, Brooklyn all the way down to Surf Avenue in Coney Island. The nation’s first bike path constructed in 1894, this route stretches across Brooklyn for over five miles.

Hudson River Greenway

Spanning 11 continuous miles from Battery Park City to the George Washington Bridge, the Hudson River Greenway is a long strip of smoothly paved bike path that offers stunning views of the Hudson River. The route is also shared with joggers and pedestrians strolling towards the Intrepid Museum, the Midtown-based Manhattan Cruise Terminal and the picturesque West 79th Street Boat Basin Café, but it opens up near Chelsea. The ride offers scenic views all the way up to The Cloisters and Fort Tryon Park – the perfect place for a peaceful rest. This path is the longest in New York City, starting at Dyckman Street and running to meet Battery Park. It is also the busiest bike path in the nation

Governors Island

Aside from the dozens of arts and culture events offered during the warmer months on Governors Island, this park is one of the best car-free places to bike ride. Although the path doesn’t loop around the entire island, riders can still find tree-lined trails, pretentious mansions and sensational views of Lower Manhattan and the New York Harbor. Both the East River Ferry and the Governors Island Ferry are bike friendly. If you don’t own a bike, bike kiosks are available on the island for one-hour rentals. Governors Island is open on Saturdays, Sundays and holiday Mondays during the summer. The entrance is located at 100th Street with a 4.5-mile bike path exclusive for pedestrians and cyclists.

Bronx River Path

Adjacent to the Bronx River Parkway, this natural, woodsy ride runs from the city’s northern borders into Westchester. The path begins at Oak Street in Mount Vernon, running through bridges and along the riverbank. The path includes a one-mile loop near Oak Street in Mount Vernon, a 3.6-mile ride from Bronxville to Scarsdale, and five-mile ride form Hartsdale to the Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla.

Pulaski to Williamsburg Bridge

Riding through North Brooklyn all the way to Long Island City and then into the Lower East Side, the Pulaski to Williamsburg Bridge path begins down commercial Manhattan Avenue until Noble Street. From here the ride can go to Lorimer to head to McCarren Park for a loop before Driggs Ave, or riders have the options to bypass the park and ride the Kent Ave bike path all the way to the Williamsburg Bridge at South 5th Street over into the Lower East Side. All directions boast spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline.

Rockaways Ride

The less strenuous Rockaway ride begins at the B/Q stop at Sheepshead Bay/East 16 Street or at the Howard Beach A stop. The ride is about seven miles through quiet residential street and continues on a bike path along the beaches until it hits the Marine Parkway Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge. Riders can head left after the bridge to Jacob Riis.

Central Park Loop

One of New York City’s biggest attractions also offers riders three bike paths: a 6.1-mile ride, a 5.2-mile ride, and 1.7-mile ride. All paths are car free during weekends, leaving the path open for horse carriages, runners, and cyclists to enjoy. The park also offers bike rental services.

Prospect Park Path

The Prospect Park path is a 3.35-mile terrain suitable for all levels of cyclists. The path also hosts annual events such as the NYC Spring Bicycle Racing Series, and hours when motorcars are not permitted.

Wards Island Bike Path

Situated between the north end of the east river between Manhattan and Queens, Ward’s Island is a 255-acre island park that offers a path for pedestrians and cyclists starting at East 103rd open exclusively in the spring and summer season. The view along the path offers a scenic look to New York City Rivers and sky scrape scenery.

Pier 84 to City Island

Hudson River bike path. For a less touristy path take the ride north from Manhattan into the Bronx. Cross the Harlem River as the path turns east through the Bronx Park, along Pelham Parkway, and finally over a small series of bridges that bring riders to City Island in the Long Island Sound. City Island is a sleepy fishing village with a mix of antique shops, a nautical museum, Victorian mansions, and a bird population in urban Bronx. The island has 30 restaurants and is a short ride to the 6 subway line, which can bring riders back into Manhattan.