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Best Places To Ride Your Road Bike In New York

Best Places To Ride Your Road Bike In New York

While traffic can be overwhelming for road cyclists during rush hours and in certain densely populated areas, New York State, our fourth most populated state, offers many famously fabulous road cycling routes with open roads and wide bicycle lanes for your road riding pleasure. Many lesser known road cycling routes in New York offer plenty of calm, beautiful, and solitary road cycling, whereas riding with or in traffic involves an intricate balance requiring a fair amount of cycling skill and road riding awareness. 

Let’s take a look at a couple quicker routes tucked away in the middle of NYC:

Counterclockwise Laps Cycling in Central Park

Just beyond the sprawling urban metropolis strewn with seemingly endless towering skyscrapers, multiple massive bridges, nonstop buzzing of motorized traffic, thunderous trains, roaring planes, and flashing brilliant bright lights in the bustling and concrete jungle of New York City, the forested jungles of Central Park roadways offer spectacular road cycling. While enjoying the park’s scenery for a relaxing ride or to get your challenging road ride in for the day, you can ride the three main routes in Central Park of 6.1 miles, 5.2 miles, or 1.7 miles. Racing road bikes in the park is very popular as well, with more than 15 racing events held year round.

As with most populated parks, there are rules cyclists need to follow and are required to follow for everyone’s safety. Wearing a helmet is one park rule that, as most would agree, is a good idea regardless of the rule. Riding counterclockwise keeps everyone in flow and squashes the chance of cyclists riding head-on into one another. Exceeding the park’s 20 mph speed limit, especially when there are only other riders anywhere nearby, all riding in the same direction, can be a bit of a temptation, especially when descending the two main climbs called Harlem Hill and Cat’s Paw. It’s smart to know the rules before you begin riding in Central Park.

City Slickers Urban Cruise

Beginning at Central Park, Rubber N’ Road, a high-end cycling store next to the park, offers several routes, including the City Slickers Urban Cruise, a flat, 20-mile road cycling cruise that meanders through the hum of the city yet is somewhat of a hidden bike path gem that travels north through the city to the High Bridge. This 60- to 90-minute cycling cruise then heads west to Inspiration Point before heading south back toward Midtown on the West Side Greenway Bike Path, where there are plenty of ideal places to stop and catch your breath and even grab a tasty sandwich by the Little Red Lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge. Palisades Park’s River Road

If a bit of rolling hills climbing and descending on a 2.5 hour road ride interests you, Henry Hudson Drive, leaving from just south of the George Washington Bridge, which is also known as River Road, travels about 8 miles heading north with a mile-long climb on Alpine alongside the "great wall" up to the ranger station. At that point, most riders head north and take Route 9W and head back toward Midtown Manhattan on this heavenly slice of New York. Plenty of other cyclists will also be out riding this route at all times of the day, though the sunset is surely a show-stopper.

Peekskill’s Storm King

This hilly 60-miler begins in Peekskill, which is a one-hour train ride from Grand Central Terminal, and heads up to 1300 feet elevation in the Hudson Highlands up toward Storm King Mountain on the Storm King Highway, offering stunning views and fresh air along the Hudson River, connecting Cornwall, New York, to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Most riders turn back at Storm Mountain, although plenty of additional climbing is there for those with the legs and lungs to get it done. 

Finish this spectacular road cycling route after descending Bear Mountain on an easy 5% grade and rolling in to the Peekskill Brewery by accessing the Bear Mountain Bridge. Expect an all-day ride (80 miles) and 6,000 feet of climbing.

Harriman State Park

Scenic Harriman State Park, with its many campgrounds and open roads, offers one of New York’s longer road riding challenges for those seeking outdoor adventure included with this great ride. There are many beautiful lakes for warmer-weather swimming and beach life, as well as trail hiking and trail running. 

It is a good idea to pack extra food for fuel and extra gear, such as a few spare tubes and needed cycling gear or extra clothing. You are able to either take the North Metro train or, if you’ve got the chops, you can ride from New York City for a solid 100-mile century ride.

Honorable Mentions

    • The Lake Tiorati Loop in Harriman State Park starts at the base of Harriman, then travels through West Point, Cold Springs, Woodbury, and back.

    • Seven Lakes is a 33-mile road ride in Highland Falls, New York, United States. This road ride’s total ascent is 2134 feet, with a maximum elevation of 1183 feet.

New York State does not hold back when it comes to offering superb road riding. The lovely scenery, the surprising elevation, and the presence of plenty of cyclists everywhere keep your eyes and ears busy while you take in the memories this great region will dish out to fulfill your road cycling desires. 

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