Biking the streets of New York requires a bit of nerve, but it’s a heck of a lot easier biking in Brooklyn than in Manhattan, and more cycling lanes have been popping up each year, making the activity a far safer proposition. (Check out this handy map to find bike-friendly routes near where you’re staying.)
If you want to avoid sharing the road with speeding cars altogether, you’ve got plenty of options in the borough. Point your wheels toward Prospect Park, where you can zoom around a 3.35-mile loop around the green space’s 585 acres. (Remember to mind the pedestrians, of course.) If you’re up for a longer ride, hop on the tree-lined Ocean Parkway Bike Path, which travels five miles south from Prospect Park to Coney Island. You’ll hit stoplights along the way, but there’s a dedicated bike path separate from the pedestrian walkway—and at the end of your journey, you can cool off with a dip in the Atlantic.
Shore Parkway Greenway | NYC Parks
In the Bay Ridge neighborhood of southwest Brooklyn, bike along the bayside on the Shore Parkway Greenway, which offers views of the majestic (but sadly unbikeable) Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to Staten Island.
Brooklyn Bridge Greenway | Daniel via Flickr
And finally, on the northwestern tip of the borough, cycle the Brooklyn Bridge Park Greenway, with a vista of lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge to the west.
Get Up and Ride crew
One of the best ways to see the city is by bike—you can cover more ground than walking, but you aren’t cut off from the world around you like you would be on a bus. Savvy locals lead small group tours at Get Up and Ride. The company has a variety of offerings for those who want to go beyond the tourist sites for a deeper exploration of the borough. Try the Brooklyn Pulse Street Art and Culture Tour, which brings you to some of the best graffiti and underground-art spots in Bushwick and Williamsburg ($65/person). Bikes are provided. There’s also Brooklyn Bike Tours, founded by longtime resident Tony Mantione, for excursions of a more old-school variety. If you want a side of sugar rush with your exercise, try the Desserts & Sweets Tour ($75/person), which travels all along the borough’s waterfront with stops for cannolis, egg creams and more on the way.
Citi Bikes in Dumbo
The city’s cycle-share program, Citi Bike, has self-serve bike-rental stations that are chiefly located in Manhattan ($9.95 for a 24-hour pass). But if you stay north of Atlantic Avenue and west of the Brooklyn-Queen Expressway, you can find a decent amount in Brooklyn too. Bikes are available year round at any time of day or night, but keep an eye on the clock—you can only ride for 30-minute intervals before checking the bike in at another station.
If you want to head further afield, rent a ride from Ride Brooklyn, which has locations in Park Slope and Williamsburg. It’s $45 for a 24-hour rental, which allows you to travel as far as you want and also includes a lock and helmet.