As a beginning rider in New York City, you probably have many questions about biking through the city.
Seeing the city by bicycle is a wonderful way to get out and see the sites while also getting exercise and fresh air. However, cycling comes with some rules and tips that you should follow to make the experience safe, fun, and memorable (in a good way).
From explaining cycling laws to bike clothes, Bike Rental Central Park answers the five most common questions that newbie cyclists have.
What Kind Of Bike Should I Ride?
The answer is that it really comes down to personal choice. First, think about what you’ll be using your bicycle for, and whether you’ll be riding on roads or on unpaved trails. If you’re planning to use your bike for longer rides strictly on the streets, a road bike is a good choice. Road bikes are thin, lightweight and nimble.
For more leisurely riding, a hybrid bike is a popular option. Hybrids have a more upright position. They also have wider tires and cushioned seats, which makes it easier to ride longer without getting sore.
For trail and off-road riding, a mountain bike is a good choice. Keep in mind, though, that you won’t be able to cover as much distance on a mountain bike as a road bike, so they’re best for shorter rides.
Is There a “Safe” Place To Start?
Yes – even in fast-paced New York City, there are quiet places to ride! Parks and bike paths are a perfect place to begin. The Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, Prospect Park, and Central Park are all safe and car-free places to ride. If you want to ride in Central Park but don’t yet own a bike, consider joining a tour at Bike Rental Central Park. Group rides are fun, relaxed, and casual, and they’re a perfect way to practice riding safely and confidently.
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How Do I Deal With Cars?
A timeless question. Riding with traffic may seem intimidating at first, but by making your presence known, you’ll be fine.
One of the best things you can do is learn turn signals. This is quite simple – all you have to do is point in the direction that you want to go. If you want to turn left, for example, extend your left arm and point left with that hand. The same applies for turning right.
If you’re coming to a stop, hold up a fist to show you’re stopping. Always look behind you before turning at an intersection to make sure you’re not about to get cut off, and try to leave as much room as (safely) possible near parked cars. Car occupants can, and do, fling open car doors without checking for bikes.
Are There Bike Laws?
Cyclists, like cars, have to abide by laws on the streets. An important thing to remember is that bikes are considered cars in the eyes of the law.
That means you must follow the same rules that you would driving, like stopping at stop signs and red lights, following lane turn signals, and not going the wrong way on one-way streets. If you’ll be riding when dark you must make yourself visible with both a front and back light.
Regardless of lighting condition, your bike must have a bell.
Riding a bike on sidewalks is prohibited, but it is okay to get off and walk next to your bike. If you’re planning to listen to music on the ride, you can only have one earbud in at a time.
What Should I Wear?
Like any sport, cycling has its own special attire.
Cycling clothing, such as jerseys, shorts, socks, and gloves, are designed for comfort and safety. In the summertime, short-sleeve jerseys are a popular choice. Jerseys are made with special form-fitting material that wicks away moisture. Many have deep back pockets where you can keep maps, food, directions, and other items.
Cycling shorts are made of stretchy, flexible material like spandex. They have padding in the saddle area to reduce friction and painful chafing. Gloves, which are either fingerless or full-length, have padding in the palm area to prevent fatigue. In cooler or rainy weather, cyclists ride with a windproof or waterproof rain jacket. When in doubt, dress in layers, since you can always remove extra clothing. Wearing protective eyewear is a good idea too, and always wear a helmet!
Hopefully now you’re ready to take on riding in the city. Have fun!