Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Central Park : Renting a Bike : Bicycling : Rental Bikes

Central Park : Renting a Bike : Bicycling : Rental Bikes

Oct 15th, 2019, 10:52 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 4,181
Central Park : Renting a Bike : Bicycling : Rental Bikes

I'm a trained Central Park volunteer who spends many hours every week walking the park and helping visitors and locals.

99% of the time, it's a mistake for tourists to rent bikes. Why? Oh, let me count the ways.

1. The "loop," that is, the road, is one way, and one way only. You can't backtrack if you miss something (unless you walk your bicycle).
2. It is illegal to ride bikes on the miles and miles of paved pathways. Period.
3. Most everything you want to see is not on the road, so you end up walking your bike just about everywhere.
4. Vaux and Olmstead designed the park for pedestrians, for walking.

Who should rent a bike? Well, if your sole intent is to get some exercise, and you think riding a rental bike will do it, then I guess rent a bike.

Otherwise, walk and enjoy!
Gekko is offline  
Oct 15th, 2019, 12:54 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,787
good info. I've never had the desire to do that, and didn't know it was only one way, so that's a good factoid.
Christina is offline  
Oct 30th, 2019, 12:07 PM
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 8
I've actually been debating renting a bicycle on my upcoming trip to NY but between all the stats I've been reading concerning fatal crashes and your forum post, I'm discouraged. Is it fairly easy to explore the entire park and the rest of the city by foot or do you suggest an alternative way?
v_silva is offline  
Oct 30th, 2019, 12:18 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,392
Personally, I consider using a bike to get around NYC a great way to explore the city. I've never treid to explore Central park by bike and appreciate gekko's post to that effect.
I've used my own bike for longer treks in the & around the city (incl 50 & 100mi organized /supported rides), and rented the Citi bikes you will find all over town. The latter is very easy.

The trails along the Hudson are perfect for getting long distance north/south, and some of the main streets have bike lanes but you need to be careful on city streets. Personally, I am very comfortable riding in traffic but if you're not experienced at doing that it may be another story.

As for exploring the city by foot, my answer is yes. That's the primary way we get around when we visit the city once or twice a year, but we are walkers and will walk up to 15mi per day while doing so in the city. For longer distances the combination of subway/bus and walking will get you to/from anywhere. If needed a taxi/uber at the end of the day to get you back to your hotel also works.
J62 is online now  
Oct 30th, 2019, 12:23 PM
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 8
Yah, I'm not so sure how I feel about riding in too much traffic but the bike lanes sound sweet... Thanks for all your tips!
v_silva is offline  
Oct 30th, 2019, 02:01 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,392
Well, the bike lanes are not necessarily separated from traffic by anything more than a white line. With all the double parking (especially by delivery trucks including all those Amazon prime & grocery deliveries) (1) there are reports that many bike and driving lanes are blocked all over the city.

Check them out for yourself before you commit.

(1) https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/28/n...ivery-nyc.html

This organization (Transportation Alternatives) https://www.transalt.org/ advocates for better/safe shared use access on NYC streets.

Last edited by J62; Oct 30th, 2019 at 02:16 PM.
J62 is online now  
Oct 30th, 2019, 06:48 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,973
We just did this for the first time. The bike company provided locks so whenever we wanted to explore further into the park, we parked the bikes and walked. I enjoyed the bike ride and walking. The only problem was the construction taking place for the marathon this Sunday detoured us from the road for a bit.

We didn’t have enough time to walk everywhere we wanted to go, so for us riding to the places we wanted to explore and then walking around for a while, getting on the bikes and riding to a new place worked well.

We were not brave enough to ride in the city. So we walked most places, and used MTA when we couldn’t or didn’t want to walk.

Gekko, thank you for volunteering at the park. I saw a few volunteers, maybe you?
cgenster is online now  
Oct 31st, 2019, 07:04 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 4,181
Our Central Park is BIG, 843 acres, so it's difficult to see it all in one "sitting," by any means of locomotion. My suggestion is a lame one: Study a map and prioritize what you want to see, then create a route and do it.

For example, you may choose to enter Engineers Gate at E. 90th Street, see the Reservoir there, then work your way south to the Great Lawn, Belvedere Castle, Alice in Wonderland, Strawberry Fields, etc.
Gekko is offline  
Oct 31st, 2019, 07:06 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 4,181
Probably! I'm a "walking greeter" and encounter hundreds of visitors every time I volunteer. (And I'm glad the bikes worked our for you. Like I said, 99% of the time, it's a mistake. You are the 1%.)
Gekko is offline  
Oct 31st, 2019, 07:56 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 13,241
Thanks Gekko, my husband always talks about renting bikes through central park! I will have to tell him about this post.
girlonthego is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2019, 07:19 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,073
GekkoóI got a City Bike from a stand and I loved biking the loop around Central Park. I would not discourage one who wants to from doing so but thank you for mentioning the no-noís and minuses so the buyer beware. My opinion is your 1% that would enjoy doing it is much too low of an estimate. I wanted to get exercise and what better way than the great outdoors, only a few short blocks from my hotel. Perhaps it was nice (not too crowded) as many people arenít thinking of biking on a cool (albeit gorgeous that day) January afternoon. Now, admittedly Iíve been to New York City dozens of times as my aunt lived there and my cousin still lives there, about a block away from Central Park on 97th (who I stay near). So, it is true that Iím not anything close to a first or even several-times visitor when in NY.

Thanks for your post!
Daniel_Williams is online now  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
United States
Sep 10th, 2002 01:49 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:31 PM.