Tips for Biking in Manhattan NYC

Monday, June 24, 2013
By steven
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  1. You can bike over any of the borough bridges except the Verrazano. The Williamsburg Bridge has the steepest incline and is the toughest to get used to. The Manhattan Bridge and Queensborough bridge are fairly easy. The Brooklyn Bridge is super scenic, but not well designed and labeled and very narrow so you will be biking over wooden planks shouting at tourists to move.
  2. Taking your bike on the subway is easy. Before going through the turnstile, get the subway attendant’s attention to disable the emergency door fire alarm. They will wave at you to confirm YES go ahead. SAFEST METHOD: Place your bike by the emergency door. Swipe and go through the turnstile, push the emergency door open, and bring your bike in. (Alt: if attendant is really paying attention, you can turn the turnstile without going through, and simply open the door and push your bike through).      Next, when you get onto a train car, you want to be in the middle of the train car so you can wrap your bike around the center pole and keep it steady with one of your pedals wrapped around it. Just hold onto your front wheel brake so the bike doesnt slide and you’re good to go.
  3. If you make eye contact with drivers, you will be fine. That is my number one rule for safety that seems to work for me. If you can lock eyes, then they are aware of you and you are also humanized instead of being ‘that annoying bicyclist that won’t get out of my way’
  4. Bikes CAN OCCUPY A FULL LANE. A bicycle qualifies as a vehicle which must obey traffic laws and also qualifies to occupy a lane just as any other vehicle does. Just be sure you can bike at the speed of traffic, and cars will tolerate you. Also, use your hands to signal as much as possible
  5. ALWAYS HAVE YOUR HANDS ON YOUR BRAKES. This is NYC, not a walk in the park…
  6. People respond to bike bells much better than shouting “behind you!” “move over!”
  7. Be careful when biking over the sewer grates, or your wheel will go straight in and you will go a flying! For some reason the metal grates run parallel instead of perpendicular which would make much more sense. The worst example of this is a huge sewer grating in the bike lane on Bleecker St at Lafayette St.  (**this gets super tricky in the winter with snowfall. I’ve biked down a street and suddenly dropped 1 foot lower and found myself in the snow)
  8. Bike lanes are bikeable only 75% of the time. The other 25% you will encounter minivans, people standing and chatting in the bike lane, police cars as they go to grab food, police cars, more police cars in the bike lane. And lastly, you will encounter Kamikazi suicidal delivery men on motorized bikes with their legs extended horse-riding style flying at you almost always going down the wrong way of the street. Don’t get scared, scream at them and don’t let them push you into dangerous street traffic just to avoid them. You have the right of way.
  9. CITIBIKES. The day and week memberships are actually pretty expensive relative to other countries bikeshare programs, but annual membership (you get a key card) is cheap! Use any bike up to 29 minutes, then return it/switch it for another for another 29 minutes.. so commuting from Downtown Brooklyn to Manhattan could look like this: (Bike 1: Downtown Brooklyn to Manhattan. Once cross bridge and at the base on other side, switch. Bike 2: Base of bridge in Manhattan to Manhattan destination). They have adjustable seats, and come with a bag basket in front to carry anything large you have!

Check out my post of these bike tips on QUORA:

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