Bike share raises the bar

Chris Wogas of Bike and Roll NYC

by Lisa Fickensher, Crain’s New York Business (June 24, 2012)

The city’s vast bike-share program, launching in July, will join an expanding sea of bike shops and rental businesses taking advantage of the Bloomberg administration’s desire to make New York the best biking city in the country.

Even apartment buildings and hotels are buying bikes to offer as amenities for guests and residents. But while the cycling community expects the bike-share program to be a boon for business by encouraging more people to ride, it is also girding for competition.

“There certainly is going to be some overlap between us and bike share,” said Chris Wogas, president of Bike and Roll New York, the largest rental outfit in the city, which derives most of its business from visitors. “We’ll get people to do the shorter rides, and they will get some tourists.”

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Tis the Season to Give Back

Tis the Season to Give Back

The Bike and Roll NYC staff took a day off from the business of bicycle rentals and tours and began their winter holiday season by assisting at the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen on 9th Avenue in New York City.

This past Monday, Bike and Roll staffers engaged in food and clothing distribution, greeting visitors, making service referrals and cleaning at the soup kitchen. The food serving and clothing distribution lasted from 10:30am and ended at 12:45pm, while serving over 1,000 people. Bike and Roll’s entire full time winter staff participated in the event.

 

Bicycle Tour Guides in New York City

Written By: Darryll White

 

New York City is one of the most visited places on the planet, ranking in some polls as the number five (5) tourist destination worldwide and number one (1) in the US. Due to all the history, diversity, culture, and architecture, along with a massive local retail and service industry, the city is a tremendous destination.

 

With all the city offers, a visit at first glance might seem overwhelming. For many, guided tours offer a way to capture the essence of certain sections and or aspects of the city in an efficient and enjoyable manner. There are many types of tours to choose from, including walking tours, bus tours, boat tours, bike tours, along with nuance tours such as food tours, architecture tours, history tours, neighborhood tours, etc.

 

The city strives to protect the interest of the visitor to NYC so that when purchasing guide services the consumer has some assurance, that those who provide services will be prepared to offer a quality product. While buyer-beware is always good advice, NYC offers a layer of consumer protection by requiring tour guides to obtain a Sightseeing Guide License. Acquisition of the license requires an extensive base of knowledge about the city and the tourism industry.

 

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Persons applying to become guides in NYC must file an application, provide proof of identity, take and pass the guide exam, and pay applicable fees.

 

The exam covers numerous topic areas and requires broad based understanding of the NYC touring industry. One must understand local logistics, history, have knowledge about local neighborhoods and landmarks, understand ethnic culture, including foods and religion and immigration patterns both historical and current; as well as have basic knowledge on local museums, public sculptures, art, culture, including music, theatre, dance and literature. Additionally, knowledge on architecture, city planning, parks, parkways and cemeteries is required.

 

The licensed guide is also required to understand “practicum”, which includes legal routing of passengers, pick up/drop off points for tour busses as well as the requirements surrounding the use of microphones, billing customers and taxes, along with terms specific to travel and tourism.

 

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When selecting a tour in the city, the consumer should qualify the operator by ensuring that they utilize authorized and licensed guides for all of their tours. Most guides will carry their license with them when conducting business and facilitating tours in the city.

 

Wendy Rose from Bike and Roll offers the following in regards to the license test: “The city guide licensing test is impressively rigorous, and I love it! The questions were incredibly involved, so I really had to study all aspects of the city (past, present, food, culture, navigation, etc). It does an excellent job of looking to all the Boroughs of New York. The test for me, took four hours to complete. It was exhaustive, but incredibly rewarding.  While some people likely find the test to be an unnecessary hurdle, I definitely welcomed the challenge and opportunity to immerse myself in as many details on NYC as possible”. 

 

Bike and Roll NYC has been providing bicycle tours in NYC since 2007. With eleven (11) locations in New York City and in Jersey City, NJ, Bike and Roll is the largest bicycle tour operator in the NY Metro area. The company offers several daily tours in Central Park and along the NYC and NJ waterfront. A night tour is available and some tours include packaged deals such as the Bike and Boat tour. Additionally, Bike and Roll NYC offers walking tours and Segway tours.

 

Segway Photo 1

 

Sending out more than eleven (11) daily tours with other tours available on demand takes a reliable and dedicated staff of tour guides and attention to detail at the management level.

 

According to Bob Trenta, Manager of Guides at Bike and Roll, “We have put together a quality team of seventeen [17] licensed tour guides, each having their own perspective of New York City.

 

The range of their experience and backgrounds is truly impressive. Actors, wood worker, Vassar grad, Columbia art history grad from Maui, rock band keyboardist, money manager, photographers, men’s clothing designer, architect, educators, Harvard educated contrarian, film editor, industrial designer and coaches all bring something different, unique and refreshing to each tour. 

 

They have been the backbone of the many four and five star reviews we have received. Most importantly, they are always willing to adjust their schedules anytime we need them for a major touring event”.

 

One key to facilitating a successful tour is to know your group. The development of a relationship adds great value to the tour and also helps the guide understand what the group most wants to see or to gain from their tour experience. From there the guide can tailor the tour by focusing on certain aspects and not others in order to best align with the group’s overall interests.

 

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Bike and Roll NYC tour guide, Dan Golden states: “My favorite part about working for Bike and Roll (aside from being paid to bike) is the flexibility. No two tours are the same, and if I get to make slight variations on the tour stops based on what I think the group will like, everyone is happier. For instance, I just discovered Ladies Pavilion in Central Park. The views of the lake and skyline are incredible, so now I take people there if they’re really into picture-taking”.

 

What I enjoy most about being a NYC tour guide is that I love the city and love America. I’m proud to show this place off to people who have only seen it in movies. I love defying the guide books (Don’t want to wait in a long line for the amazing views on top of the rock? I know a good rooftop bar nearby with incredible views. Want the best Italian American food? Little Italy in Manhattan is great, but I know a place in Brooklyn that makes you feel like you walked into a scene from the Godfather. Like being active? How about getting a $50 day-pass to Chelsea Piers, free kayaking on the Hudson, or a horseback riding tour at Kensington Stables in Prospect Park. I also love hearing from tourists that they thought New Yorkers were supposed to be rude, and they’re actually really friendly. Don’t even get me started on how visiting New York changes their perception of the typical American. 

 

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Damien at Bike and Roll further adds; “My favorite tour that Bike and Roll has to offer is the “Bike and Boat”. Starting out in New Amsterdam right into New York up to a Modern Marvel, the Brooklyn Bridge, then off to the boroughs first neighborhood “Brooklyn Heights”. Next, down to the Portofino of Brooklyn “DUMBO”, then to the hop on – hop off Water Taxi, making you feel like Henry on the Half Moon going up the Hudson. Lastly, hop off and pedal down the Greenway into our newest of land fills (like putting the cherry on top of the cake) Battery Park City! Wow what a tour!!”

 

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Managing a group of people on bicycles in a large urban setting takes attention to detail and strong leadership skills. While fun is the goal, safety is always the top priority.

 

Bike and Roll NYC President, Chris Wogas elaborates, “At Bike and Roll our tours are based on two pillars.  First, show off the greatest the city in the world.  Second, build each tour around knowledgeable guides, well-trained team-members and safety.  We understand that providing a great product must include delivering a safe product.  Whether it be providing helmets, creating first-class tour routes, continual equipment maintenance and upgrades, or ongoing team-member training; everything we do at Bike and Roll always has our guest’s enjoyment and safety top of mind.

 

Seeing New York by bike is an experience like no other – a must do event!  Seeing New York by bike with the best guides in the industry who continually provide a first-class, customer centered and safe product is truly a serendipitous experience and will be a lifelong memory”.

 

Wendy adds, The streets of New York are busy and have their dangers, like anywhere. The key for bike safety in New York is to bike in a predictable manner. That means that you stay in the bike lane, bike in the correct direction, and hold your position in traffic (no swerving!) when there is no bike lane. On Bike and Roll tours, we all wear helmets, always go over safety rules, and encourage our guests to bike in a predictable, self-aware way. One last tip: it is crucial that people do not bike side by side on the Greenway”!

 

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Bike and Roll NYC is a member of the Bike and Roll National Cooperative. Cooperative members have provided bicycle guide services and equipment rentals in five (5) major US cities for the past twenty-one (21) years. As a pioneer and leader in urban bicycle tours, Bike and Roll strives to set the standard nationwide for high quality and safe urban tour experiences.

 

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Bike and Roll Fall Hours

Cycling Events

September is here!  Starting September 2nd, our Fall operating hours will go in to effect.

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Open 7 Days a Week

Central Park at Columbus Circle West: 8AM – 10PM

Central Park at Columbus Circle South: 8AM – 10PM

Central Park at Tavern on the Green: 9AM – 7PM

Pier 84: 9AM – 7PM

Battery Park: 9AM – 7PM

 

Open Weekends ONLY 

Brooklyn Bridge Park: 11AM – 7PM

Riverside Park: 11AM – 7PM

Liberty State Park: 10AM – 5PM

 

East River Park and West Harlem Piers Park are CLOSED for the 2014 season.

 

New York City in the Fall is a beautiful time of year!  Hop on a bike and take in the beauty of Autumn in NYC!

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Summer Streets 2014

NY slider greenway

Bike and Roll celebrates the completion of its 6th season as a supporter and integral member of the NYC Summer Streets program. Serving as a bicycle outfitter for the event, Bike and Roll NYC has provided free 1 hour rentals to Summer Streets participants at each annual program since the first Summer Streets in 2008. This past season Bike and Roll provided between 800 and 900 free rentals over the 3 day event period.

“Summer Streets has become a part of the fabric of NYC and is a highly anticipated event by residents and visitors alike”, says Bike and Roll New York City President, Chris Wogas.  “As a leader in our community, Bike and Roll is pleased to promote cycling as a fun and healthy activity, as well as a means of transportation.  Over the past several years, our donation of free bike usage for each Summer Streets event has allowed Bike and Roll to connect with the community and is one of the reasons why we are New York City’s largest bike tour and rental company.  From my standpoint, giving back to the community is simply a must for any company actively involved in their community and I will ensure that Bike and Roll continues to create memories and smiles every chance we get.”

According to NYC.Gov, “Summer Streets is an annual celebration of New York City’s most valuable public space—our streets. Summer Streets provides space for healthy recreation and encourages New Yorkers to use more sustainable forms of transportation. In 2013, more than 300,000 people took advantage of the open streets”. The 2014 event saw over 400,000 participants, continuing the growth trend since the inaugural program in 2008. For more information on Summer Streets, please go to http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/summerstreets/html/about/about.shtml

As a follow up to Summer Streets and continuing its theme of bicycle promotion and free incentives, Bike and Roll just launched a 2014 end of summer and fall program for free bicycle rentals on Governors Island. If you purchase a Bike and Roll bicycle or Segway tour, you will receive a separate free rental of a bicycle, helmet and lock for use on the island. For more information on this program please follow this link http://bit.ly/BNRGIPass

Bike Smart: The Official Guide to Cycling in New York City

Bike Smart: The Offical Guide to Cycling in New York City, is a helpful handbook with information on making your cycling safer and easier, including tips on using newer bike facilities such as protected lanes and bike boxes. And it’s free!

NYC Biking Laws

Cyclists have all the rights and are subject to all of the duties and regulations applicable to drivers of motor vehicles. Download a complete list of New York City bicycle rules

  • Ride in the street, not on the sidewalks (unless rider is age 12 or younger and the bicycle’s wheels are less than 26 inches in diameter).
  • Ride with traffic, not against it.
  • Stop at red lights and stop signs. Obey all traffic signals, signs and pavement markings, and exercise due care to avoid colliding with pedestrians, motor vehicles or other cyclists.
  • Use marked bike lanes or paths when available, except when making turns or when it is unsafe to do so. If the road is too narrow for a bicycle and a car to travel safely side by side, you have the right to ride in the middle of the travel lane. Bicycling is permitted on all main and local streets throughout the City, even when no designated route exists.
  • Use a white headlight and a red taillight, as well as a bell or horn and reflectors.

Safety Tips

  • Ride in a straight line, obey traffic signs and signals, and do not weave in and out of traffic. Riding predictably reduces your chances of a crash with a motor vehicle.
  • Look, signal and look again before changing lanes or making a turn. Establish eye contact with drivers. Seeing a driver is often not enough. Make sure drivers see you before executing a turn or riding in front of a turning car.
  • Watch out for car doors. Be prepared for the possibility that a car door may be opened in your path. When possible, leave room between yourself and parked cars (3 feet is generally recommended) so that you can avoid a door that opens unexpectedly.
  • Stay visible. Wear brightly colored clothing for daytime riding. At night, use reflective materials and lights.
  • Use your bell. Your bell alerts drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists to your presence, it is required by law.
  • Don’t wear earphones. By law you may wear one earbud, but keeping your ears clear is a much safer choice.
  • Wear a helmet. Helmets are required by law for children age 13 or younger and working cyclists, helmets are a good idea for cyclists of all ages.

For Children on Bicycles

  • Children under age one cannot be carried on a bicycle.
  • Children must be carried in a properly affixed child carrier.
  • Cyclists under age 13 must wear an approved helmet.

Helmets

Everyone should wear a helmet while riding. DOT fits and gives away the official New York City bicycle helmet at events throughout the city. Call 311 to schedule a fitting. In order to receive a helmet you must: be present, learn how to properly fit and wear a helmet, and sign a waiver (a parent or legal guardian must sign for children under 18).Find the next helmet fitting on the DOT Events Calendar

Don’t Be a Jerk

DOT’s Don’t Be A Jerk bike safety campaign humorously highlights the essential dos and don’ts of safe, responsible biking. According to DOT’s 2010 Sustainable Streets Index, commuter cycling increased 262% in New York City from 2000 to 2010. With more bikes on the road, smart cycling is even more crucial to making New York City’s streets safer for everyone using them. Learn more.

25th New York City Century Bike Tour 2014 (September 7, 2014)

It’s a Ride of Passage

The NYC Century Bike Tour is your ride — as challenging or relaxing as you choose, but always fun and rewarding. All routes have been carefully designed with your safety and enjoyment in mind. No matter which route you choose, you will be fully supported by experienced marshals and mechanics along the route with plentiful food available at scenic rest stops. Plus, all riders will receive a commemorative t-shirt and water bottle on ride day. Choose from 35, 55, 75 and 100-mile rides.

The NYC Century Bike Tour is unlike any other bike tour you’ll find. That’s because the routes are designed to show riders the diversity of New York’s neighborhoods and how to navigate them safely. To illustrate bicyclists’ right to the streets, there are no street closings on the NYC Century — bicyclists ride with traffic and obey all traffic laws.

The tour is on September 7th, 2014. As always, you can rent your performance bike from Bike and Roll New York City. Stay tuned for more information on how to reserve your bike for this event. You can register for the 25th NYC Century Tour at their website.

Summer Streets NYC (August 2nd, 9th, and 16th, 2014)

On three consecutive Saturdays in August, nearly seven miles of New York City’s streets are opened to the public to play, run, walk and bike.

Summer Streets is an annual celebration of New York City’s most valuable public space—our streets. Summer Streets provides space for healthy recreation and encourages New Yorkers to use more sustainable forms of transportation. In 2013, more than 300,000 people took advantage of the open streets.

Summer Streets is modeled on other events from around the world including Ciclovía in Bogotá, Colombia and the Paris Plage in France. The event is part bike tour, part walking tour, part block party—a great time for exercise, people watching, or just enjoying summer mornings. Passersby are weclome to participate in arts and crafts workshops, listen to musical performances, learn to salsa dance, eat healthy snacks, climb a 25′ climbing wall, soar through the sky on a 160′ zipline and explore a 179 years voice tunnel.

map_800w-1Held between 7:00 am to 1:00 pm, Summer Streets extends from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park, along Park Avenue and connecting streets, with easy access from all points in New York City, allowing participants to plan a trip as long or short as they wish. All activities at Summer Streets are free of charge, and designed for people of all ages and ability levels to share the streets respectfully.

Summer Streets is a project of the New York City Department of Transportation. With nearly 7 miles of open streets, 5 rest stops and a seven-block-long art installation in the Park Avenue Tunnel – there is plenty to explore at Summer Streets. And remember, everything at Summer Streets is free!

Bike and Roll New York City is a proud Local Programming Partner of Summer Streets. Even if you don’t have a bicycle of your own, get out and enjoy the festivities by renting a bike from any one of our numerous city-wide locations.

 

Bike and Hike the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge (August 10, 2014)

Ride with the NYC DOT to the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge!

Sponsored by the NYC Department of Transportation

What to bring: Bike, lock, MetroCard (if taking the train back), sun block, snacks, and water.

What to expect: We will ride on a combination of bike lanes, city streets, and off-street paths (including the Jamaica Bay Greenway) to the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. At the Refuge, the American Littoral Society will provide a -FREE- guided tour, lasting about an hour. After the ride, bike home on your own, or follow a ride marshal to the Broad Channel A train. Children welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult.

Where to go: Take the L to 105th St and exit on the J street side (or ride your bike!)

RSVP  |  Add to Calendar cal

About the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge—part of Gateway National Recreation Area—is one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the Northeastern United States and one of the best places in New York City to observe migrating species. With more than 330 bird species—nearly half the species in the Northeast—sighted at the refuge over the last 25 years, it is a must-see for avian enthusiasts. Jamaica Bay also has miles of bike paths that connect you to beaches, historic sites, and natural areas. Learn more.

Our Top 10 Favorite Summer Activities in NYC

Summer is in full swing and we love all that New York City has to offer during these gorgeous summer days! We’ve rounded up our top 10 favorite activities for you to enjoy during your summer in NYC!

1. Shakespeare in the Park

This free annual event is held at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park and is one of New York City’s most popular summer traditions.  Take advantage of free Shakespeare and enjoy performances of Much Ado About Nothing and King Lear this summer.

 

 

2. Visit Bryant Park

This 9.603 acre park located between 5th and 6th avenues  at West 40th Street is full of fun summertime activities.  Bryant Park offers everything from a great lawn perfect for sunning to a reading room with hundreds of books.  Enjoy outdoor activities such as ping-pong, chess and backgammon as well as great eats from Bryant Park Grill and Bryant Park Cafe.

 

 

Free Movie Night in NYC Parks (Photo Credit: nycgo.com)

Free Movie Night in NYC Parks (Photo Credit: nycgo.com)

3. Watch Free Outdoor Movies

Many New York City parks offer free outdoor movies at night during the week showing recent hits such as American Hustle and classics like Jurrasic Park.  So bring a blanket, some snacks and enjoy your favorite films outside.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Have Fun at the Today Show Concerts

TODAY brings the most popular musical artists to Rockefeller Plaza for the Toyota Concert Series every summer.  Artists include Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, Maroon 5, and more!

 

 

 

 

Central Park Zoo (Photo Credit: nycgo.com)

Central Park Zoo (Photo Credit: nycgo.com)

5. Visit the Central Park Zoo

The Central Park Zoo is a 6.5 acre zoo located in New York City’s most famous park! You’ll find 130 different species living in the zoo from Snow Leopards to Tropical Birds.

 

 

 

 

 

Coney Island (Photo Credit: nycgo.com)

Coney Island (Photo Credit: nycgo.com)

6. Visit Coney Island

The Coney Island neighborhood in Brooklyn is full of fun!  From amusement parks and games to great food, Coney Island is a great place to visit for an exciting summer day!  Not to mention that Coney Island is the birthplace of the hotdog!

 

 

 

 

 

7. Take a Circle Line boat ride around Manhattan

With plenty of cruise options to choose from, Circle Line is the only cruise line dedicated specifically to sightseeing.  Spend a sunny day viewing the NYC skyline by boat!

 

8. Have a laugh at Comedy Nite at Splitty

Thursday night is Comedy Nite at Splitty! Known as a “moveable feast”, visiting Splitty’s makes you feel like you’re in the “camper of your dreams”. Click here for the comedian line up for the week.

 

9. Take in the views at a Rooftop Bar

There’s nothing like enjoying a refreshing cocktail and gorgeous Manhattan views after a long day of sightseeing.   Check out this list of the top 80 Rooftop Bars in NYC!

 

 

 

Bike the Brooklyn Bridge and Waterfront (Photo Credit: Bike and Roll NYC)

Bike the Brooklyn Bridge and Waterfront (Photo Credit: Bike and Roll NYC)

10. And last but not least, take a guided tour with Bike and Roll NYC!

Bike along the NYC Waterfront and head uptown to Central Park or downtown to the Brooklyn Bridge. Explore the wonders of Central Park or take in the amazing views from the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges.  All tours are lead by licensed tour guides.

 

 

What are your favorite summer activities in the city?