City Guide: New York
Here at PDF we are excited to launch a new series called City Guides! One of the best things to do with your bike is travel and explore other places. With the Red Hook Crit this weekend in Brooklyn and so many visitors in in town, we wanted to put out a guide to riding in NYC!
Here are Anna Maria and Tayler's favorite places to ride, drink coffee, and get their bikes tuned!
How long have you have you been riding in New York?
AM- I’ve been riding in NYC for 3 years.
TD- I have been riding in NYC for 2 ½ years
What do you wish people knew about cycling in NYC?
AM- It's easier and safer than it looks! New York streets are so congested with traffic, everything is really happening at pretty slow speeds.
TD- It’s the fastest and most reliable way to get around. Subways are always under construction and buses have to deal with traffic. I always know how long it is going to take me to get somewhere on a bike.
What makes it different than other places you’ve cycled in.
AM- New York is still figuring out its cycling infrastructure, it's a bit wild here. But that's half the fun. I love riding through the city streets at night, it's amazing to find peace in the middle of New York.
TD- The energy. Everything in New York is fast moving, every day is a race. It’s exciting and can breathe life back into the most boring, stressful, or hungover of days.
Whats the best part about riding in New York? What is the worst part?
AM- Cyclists in New York experience a freedom like none other. It’s magical. It’s also the fastest way to travel in the city. No other form of transport comes close. The worst part is the lack of safe cycling infrastructure. Drivers in New York have few if any consequences for injuring or killing cyclists. I think the new mayor’s Vision Zero initiative may change that.
TD- Exploring the city by bike allows me to move my legs and get a bit of exercise without even realizing it. I work at a desk most of the day so I live for the short miles between my apartment and job and the long ones on weekends. It keeps me happier, healthier, and saves me money I would otherwise be spending on metro cards. The worst part is aggressive drivers. People are always in a rush here and cars are always running red lights, driving in the bike lanes to get around other cars. You really have ride with a great sense of awareness.
What is your favorite long distance route?
AM- Up to Nyack on 9-W like everyone else! And once a year I crash the NYC Marathon route in the early morning hours before the race. 4 out of 5 boroughs with no cars, it's the most fun ride you’ll do all year.
TD- Probably a tie between Rockland Lake and Croton Dam. Both have dirt sections and beautiful views. You forget that you are anywhere near the city. After I ride to Croton Dam, I like to stop at Mexi-go for a burrito and then hop on Metro North back to Grand Central. It's the perfect time to reflect on the ride, share photos, and relax.
What is your favorite route for short distance?
AM- From my house it's 11 miles to Fort Tilden Beach. It is the perfect NYC summer escape. Really who needs a summer share when you can get to the beach in the time it takes to get a table for brunch?
TD- Prospect Park. It’s my go to place for short rides when it is too cold out to ride otherwise. It’s also a great place to go for a short spin before hanging out on the grass lawn and reading a book.
What's your favorite bike shop?
AM- I’m partial to King Kog, (full disclosure- it’s my boyfriend’s shop) It’s one of the few shops where the owner is the principal mechanic. From a beautiful set of handbuilt wheels, to custom builds, to tune ups on neglected lock up bikes, the level and quality of service is unmatched.
TD- Silk Road Cycles. Everyone who works there is the sweetest person I have ever met. They also know how to work on everything and are one of the only shops I trust to work on my road bike with Campagnolo. The owner also has a pretty adorable dog named Jack so, if you are lucky, you might get to play with her while your bike is being worked on.
Favorite pre/post ride coffee shop or meet up spot?
AM- Anabel Basin on the Long Island City side of the Queensboro Bridge. You can bring in your bike to this big open air bar on the water. They have cold beers, a tasty grill on the weekend, and the most spectacular view of Manhattan you’ll ever see.
TD- Rapha Cycle Club. It’s located right near the main bike route leading out of the city. They serve breakfast and coffee for pre ride meet ups and sandwiches and beer for post ride celebrations.
What’s the most practical insider tip you’d give anyone visiting and cycling in your city?
You don’t really know New York unless you’ve ridden your bike here. Get a bike by any means necessary, Spinlister is a great resource. And make sure the hit up the ladies of Pretty Damned Fast ;) They are always happy to show you around.