New York City is an intimidating place. Its bustling traffic and massive skyscrapers don’t exactly invite bikers to make use of its roads. There are, however, plenty of ways to safely get around in the city. Ideal bikes for New York City have a few characteristics that make them suitable for city riding. Once you and your family have equipped yourselves properly, knowing how and where to ride is the rest of the battle.

Buying the Right Bike

The traits you look for in a city bike should reflect your intended purposes. While it is possible to simply use any bike, riding one with the wrong features can be frustrating and even dangerous. Generally, the best rides for the busiest areas of the city are cruisers and hybrid bicycles that allow riders to remain relatively upright and therefore alert to dangers on the road.

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Riding perpendicularly to the ground can also ease strain on joints during longer rides. These bikes are also useful if you intend to carry groceries or work items, as they are easily fitted with pannier bags and cargo baskets.

Finding Gear

When riding with your family, safety should be your number one concern. Each of the five boroughs is riddled with potholes that can throw riders off their balance. This is why everyone needs a helmet.

Even if you plan to avoid riding at night, look for quality LED night lights. Night lights can dramatically increase your visibility at dawn and dusk, so these are absolutely essential. Unfortunately, more people means more potential thieves. To best protect your belongings, buy a U-lock that can fit around your frame and rear wheel assembly.

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Biking in the City

Learning to bike in the Big Apple takes a little practice. Before you take your family out, make sure to go over safety rules first. Always use hand signals, brake at stop signs, and follow the rules of the road.

Generally, it is best to avoid peak activity hours on the road, which predictably occur during the two or so hours around rush hour during the week. In places where traffic is too heavy, it can be wise to dismount and walk alongside your bike on the sidewalk.

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Knowing Where To Go

New York is one of the most densely populated urban areas in the world. Though you may find the sheer volume of motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists to be daunting, consider that a large number of residents regularly commute and recreate on bikes. Familiarize yourself with dedicated bike paths, such as the Williamsburg bike path that runs from Greenpoint to Manhattan.

For leisurely rides, areas like Prospect park feature bike loops that can help you get away from traffic. For rides that cross multiple areas, such as that from Brooklyn to the Rockaways, make sure to plan your route carefully before leaving.

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Because New York City is so full of attractions, sights, and sounds, it can be one of the most rewarding places on the east coast to bike. As city biking can be tricky for beginners, equip each of your family members with the appropriate kids’, men’s, or women’s bike with suitable features. Remember, be safe and have fun!


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