New Yorkers can easily justify wanting to spend their day outdoors this spring, especially after this absurd winter. Here’s yet another reason to add to the already long list: conquer a Citibike. Ever since New York City’s first bike-share program launched two years ago this month, Citibikes have been a force to reckon with. The programs intention to relieve traffic and commuter stress has been met time and again with New Yorkers’ innate fear of psychotic taxi drivers and oblivious pedestrians. Who can blame them? While New Yorkers’ fears are very much legit, some of us think that this spring might be a good time to finally conquer them. Below, we’ve put together a list of three routes to finally give that questionable Citibike a run for its money.
Central Park: The “I’ve Never Biked In A City” Beginners Route
Pick up: Grand Army Plaza (West 59th Street) & Central Park South
Drop off: Corner of Central Park South (West 59th Street) & Sixth Avenue
Embark on your first Citibike excursion at Central Park. Start your journey by heading north through the East Drive entrance. Continue biking along this route, passing the Central Park Zoo and quintessential Central Park views. After passing The Loeb Boathouse, hook a left on 79th St. Transverse, then take another left onto West Drive. Cruise along down past Strawberry Fields and Sheep Meadow until you arrive at your end destination by the Central Park South entrance of West 59th Street and Seventh Avenue. Here, make a left to your end station. Whew! First ride, done.
Midtown to Chelsea: The “I Can’t Deal With Taxi Drivers” Intermediate Route
Pick up: 59th Street at Eleventh Avenue
Drop off: 16th Street at Tenth Avenue
The Hudson River Greenway bike path is the second best way to get a sense of what it’s like to cruise around in a cityscape. The entire bike path runs 11 miles continuously, beginning at Battery Park City and ending at the George Washington Bridge. If you’re in need of a great work out, then by all means, give the entire length of the coastline a try. We’ve suggested the route between Midtown and Chelsea for a few reasons: it’s a relatively short ride, offers beautiful views of the Hudson River and NYC landmarks, and it can be very crowded. This specific strip of the 11-mile run tends to be regularly congested with joggers and pedestrians. While this might not sound ideal, it’s perfect for getting a sense of what it’s like to bike like a commuter. It will prepare you for the distractions you will encounter once you hit the real streets, like a pedestrian texting while walking and paying zero attention to you riding alongside.
Union Square to Bryant Park: The “I’m A Real, Seriously Crazy NYC Commuter” Advanced Route
Pick up: University Place & East 14th Street
Drop off: East 40th Street and Fifth Avenue
Ready to take your newly acquired city biking skills to the streets? See if you’re cut out to be NYC’s newest Citibike commuter and take the Fifth Avenue route all the way down to Union Square. Begin at Bryant Park’s East 40th Street pick up location and head south down Fifth Avenue. Whizz by a stampede of taxicabs, hundreds of shoppers, and landmarks, like the beautiful Empire State Building (but DO NOT look up at it). As you begin to approach Union Square, hook a right onto University Place and East 14th Street. Here you can return your bike, head over to Park Bar for a well-deserved drink, and finally asses your riding skills.
So, are you ready to conquer your Citibike fears? Try out one of these routes, and then head back here to tell us the verdict. Is the title “Citibike Commuter” in your near future LinkedIn updates? Happy Trails!