Tag Archives: Central Park

Bike and Roll Fall Hours

Cycling Events

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

fall

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 2012 — Saturday No. 1

Yes, I was one of those New Yorkers who was never around on Saturdays in August.  Then I started working at Bike and Roll and Summer Streets came into my life.

For those of you who don’t know, Summer Streets takes place every year during the first three Saturdays in August.  From 7am to 1pm on each of these days, the city shuts down Park Ave. and Lafayette St. creating a seven-mile car-free haven for pedestrians, bikes, roller skaters, and scooter-ers.  Plus, the southern two lanes of 72nd St. are roped off to create a bike lane into and out of Central Park.  For anyone north of the event and near the park, it’s the perfect car-free conduit to Summer Streets.

Let me reiterate the virtues of doing anything in New York EARLY!  The cops have blocked off the streets by 6:30am and the world is your oyster!  There are some spandex jackrabbits in the park, but peeling off onto 72nd St. means you’ve left it all behind.

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Our Newest . . . Bike (?) and a Cross-Country Hero

Bike and Roll NYC has a new partner . . . ElliptiGO.  These “bikes” (for lack of a better word) are elliptical machines on wheels.  Imagine yourself on a bike, but instead of pedals your feet are moving forward and backward on platforms as they do on an elliptical machine.  You’re standing up, so you’re much higher than you are on a bike, your hands are on handle bars with hand brakes, and you have gears so you can really get moving or up a hill.  Unlike an elliptical machine at a gym, you’re not staring at a wall, a screen, a book, or a magazine, you’re out and about.  It’s surprisingly easy!

Our friend, Emily Banks, on an ElliptiGO for the first time — in 4″ heels. It really is easy!

We had the privilege yesterday of meeting Rick Hermelin, an amazing 71-year-old former Marine  who is going to cross the country on an ElliptiGO to benefit the Semper Fi Fund.  Starting from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, South Carolina on March 23rd, Rick is planning to ride across the southern tier of the US in 100 days and arrive at Camp Pendleton in San Diego.  The Semper Fi Fund gives support to injured Marines and their families during recuperation.  We are still a nation at war with many injured service men and women returning home to the harsh challenge of rehabilitation.  Rick’s journey is an honorable effort put forth by an honorable man.

http://100daysforthecorps.wordpress.com/about/

Rick likes even numbers.  He’s been running for 35 years and has completed 100 marathons, 100 half-marathons, and 100 10K races.  He doesn’t look a day older than 60.  He’s a lifelong athlete who knows how to take care of his body.  He’s one of the most centered people imaginable — caring, easy, gentle.

ElliptiGO is a southern California company trying to get their product better known in the East Coast market.  As part of their efforts, they have asked us to add several ElliptiGOs to our fleet of bikes and make them available for demonstrations and rentals.

So when Rick was asked to appear on Fox & Friends at their New York studio onFriday morning (and by morning, I mean real morning — 6am) to promote his journey for the Semper Fi Fund, we were asked to provide the ElliptiGOs, a couple of people to get the Fox & Friends hosts on and off the bikes, helmets, and general support.

http://video.foxnews.com/v/1496932801001/71-year-old-rides-cross-country-for-wounded-marines

The beautiful weather this winter has meant that our season has started earlier than usual.  Sixty degrees in March isn’t unheard of, but a long stretch of 60-degree days gets everyone thinking about bikes and riding the city’s parks and bike paths.  Translation:  the ElliptiGOs were still in their boxes as we got our other fleet built, tuned, and distributed.  But we jumped to it and got four ElliptiGOs built and ready for Rick’s appearance.

Fox & Friends is incredibly organized.  I got a call at home at 5:30am to be sure that everything was going as planned.  I explained I was only a 10-minute cab ride away and would be there on time (I got there at 5:45).  Rick was already waiting.  Two Bike and Roll assistants were there by 5:50 and the ElliptiGOs were ready to be unloaded from the truck, too.  The plaza next to the studio where we unloaded them was too inviting not to take a test ride.  As the sun came up we were riding and laughing and getting every passersby’s attention.

Rick was called into make-up at about 7:15, then mic’ed up at 7:20.  At 7:25 he was asked to go out to the plaza for a “teaser.”  He was joined by Brian Kilmeade who hopped on an ElliptiGO and rode like a pro.

Brian Kilmeade on his first ride on an ElliptiGO.

Anchors being anchors, no helmet was used, but we always recommend the use of a helmet . . . on a bike, on an ElliptiGO.  It’s just a wise habit to have.

After the teaser came the actual interview.  Rick was fantastic.  He’s a natural on camera.  What was a bit unexpected, though, was that Steve Doocy immediately joined Rick and Brian on an ElliptiGO.  The producer got on one, too.  The newbies were all immediate experts.  And the plenty-big plaza wasn’t big enough — suddenly they were going around to the 6th Avenue side of the building, out on the sidewalk, anywhere they could get some speed going.  I was glad it was still early and pedestrians were few and far between.  There was one near-collision by the corner of the building where there was no visibility, but no crashes.

Rick Hermelin being interviewed by Kilmeade and Doocy for Fox & Friends

Okay, so the coverage of Bike and Roll didn’t happen, but it did make it clear to us that the interest in the ElliptiGO is huge.

We packed up the bikes and helmets and headed off to our next stop — a media event for Rick at our Bike and Roll location at Tavern on the Green.  It was still quite early and no media reps were expected before 10am, so we got to spend some time with Rick in a nearby cafe and hear about his life and his journey to this incredible trek across the country.

Born in Mexico City, Rick moved to the US with his family when he was 7.  He grew up in Texas, then served a four-year stint in the Marine Corps after Korea and before Viet Nam.  He served in Laos.  As an athlete he became interested in physiology, which led to a degree in massage therapy.

“I’ve never felt pain,” he told us.  “It was only after I started to study massage therapy that I understood what other athletes felt.  The ElliptiGO has no pressure points, so it’s great for everyone.  If you can walk, you can ride one.”

Rick Hermelin at Tavern on the Green with the ElliptiGO bikes.

After we set up at Tavern on the Green, several people came over to try out an ElliptiGO.  One gentleman said, “I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but there’s just something really sexy about them.”

Once at Tavern on the Green, media reps from MSNBC and Fox News interviewed Rick.  It was fun to see them courteously stay out of each other’s shots.  When it comes to bikes, there is no politics.

http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/10/10626237-sort-of-a-really-long-one-man-parade-for-injured-troops

After the interviews (where Rick was charming and informative — a natural), a man on an ElliptiGo road up.  Richard, also 71, and Rick struck up an immediate friendship and talked for about an hour.  Richard was looking for some advice on hills and Rick had it for him.  As they were chatting, another man on an ElliptiGO road past on the park drive.  I’ve seen an ElliptiGO twice in the past year, so seeing several independently seemed to imply some sort of harmonic ElliptiGO convergence.

The ElliptiGOs got so much attention that we left all four at Bike and Roll at Tavern on the Green.  If you want to try one, take one for a ride, or rent one for the day, come to our Tavern on the Green location, open every day from 9am to 5pm.  The weather is supposed to be in the 60s and even hit 70 next week, perfect for riding any bike:  Comfort, Performance, Race, tandem, or ElliptiGO!

Weird, yet wonderful

I like to walk/bike to work in my shirtsleeves as much as the next person.  But each of the three people I ran into on my way to work this morning (see . . . New York is just a small town) declared that our lovely, 60-degree weather is “weird.”

I made it just four blocks before I needed to stop to take my jacket off.  Granted, I lug a laptop with a large glass screen and all sorts of miscellaneous items in my backpack, but it was too warm for anything other than a shirt.

Each one of these incredible days begs for a bike ride.  On Saturday we rode up to the Little Red Lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge.  We headed out around 11:30am, road over to the bike path, and enjoyed the lack of wind and small number of riders.  The Spandex-clad were out, but the rest of the world one normally finds on the Hudson River bike path seemed to remain unaware of the incredible opportunity for an incredible ride.  The clay tennis courts were filled; the asphalt ones further uptown were also in use.

At the lighthouse we stopped and enjoyed the view of the bridge and the palisades across the Hudson River.  What a cozy place to chat.  It’s hard to remember the millions of people living and working behind you, especially if you don’t turn your head.  The fury of the Hudson’s current moved a massive tree trunk downstream.  I’m always amazed by the power such a wide river can exert.

Heading back downtown we stopped at the Fairway just south of our location on the bike path at 135th St.  We picked up lunch and sat on a bench to picnic by the river and take in the sun and the view.  Seagulls moved in for our crumbs as soon as we were done.

By the time we headed back down the bike path, there was a lot more traffic.  In NYC, the cut-off for uncrowded activity seems to be noon.  Do anything before noon and you’re reasonably sure to find a location reasonably empty; after noon is a different story, though, because that’s when the crowds arrive.  We were home by 3

Sunday was another incredible day and this time we headed into Central Park for a few loops.  The way to do Central Park is to stay north.  Below 72nd St. you’ll find lots of pedicabs and pedestrians.  For cyclists, though, this southern loop is flat and easy to ride.  Kids who would rather avoid hills love it.  But we were happier away from crowds and continued north after the southern loop, up the hill behind the Met, and down the hill by North Meadow.  There are still plenty of leaves on the trees.  In fact, it looks like some of them are starting to bud.  With December right around the corner, where is winter?

But winter will come in some form sooner or later.  In the meantime, enjoy these days of unseasonable warmth.  And, just as a reminder, all four of our end-of-season locations (Central Park: Columbus Circle, Central Park: Tavern on the Green, Pier 84, Battery Park) are open today and will stay open for as long as the weather allows.  If you can hop on two wheels today, enjoy.

Discover the North Fork

When I woke up on Sunday the sky was iron.  Clouds were everywhere, waves of gray and white, not a speck of blue to be seen.

“Oh no,” I thought to myself.  I was accompanying our North Fork tour, a 23-mile ride designed to introduce bicyclists to the scenic North Fork of Long Island.  One of the riders had sent me an email earlier in the week asking if the ride was rain or shine.  “It’s supposed to be a beautiful day,” I wrote back.  Confident in the predictions made by NY1 and weather.com, I refused to admit the possibility of rain and continued prepping for the ride.

Although I had ridden the route three times before (twice engineering the ride and once with a group), I was looking forward to this last tour of the season.  It was going to be a big group and everyone had been incredibly accepting of LIRR’s cancellation of its Mattituck train and were flexible about having to take the jitney or drive out.  A nice ride with a nice group . . . what could be nicer?

We were all on bikes and ready to go by 12:15 on Sunday.  One of our guests told me that her iPhone predicted sun by 1pm.

Making our way out of Mattituck, across 48 and onto Oregon Rd. was much easier than I had expected with a group this size.  Everyone was about the same skill level and all were attentive and cooperative.  We didn’t have any spandex jackrabbits who were more interested in clocking mileage than seeing the sites we’d selected.

We stopped at Sherwood House Winery first, handed out our locavore picnics, and settled at the tables scattered around the fire pit.  The merlot grapes hadn’t been harvested yet, so the vines still looked full and robust.  I’ll admit I’m a little bit of a wine snob.  I lived in northern California where the quality of wines one finds in the supermarket is better than the what one usually finds on the North Fork.  But I had tried Sherwood House’s cabernet franc, liked it, and given the delightful atmosphere of the French-style outdoor tasting room, it earned a place on our tour.

Leaving Sherwood House Winery after lunch on the North Fork tour.

The guests tried a steel-aged chardonnay and a merlot.  A few bought wine, which was carefully tucked into the bed of our sag truck.  Now that everyone had eaten, drank a little, and enjoyed the view over the vines, it was time to move on.  Plus, the sun was starting to peek out.  The iPhone weather app was on the money.

The next part of our route led past bucolic farms, potato fields, even a vast expanse of sunflowers.  Hurricane Irene had taken her toll on the sunflowers.  All their giant heads were bowed, but their faded beauty was still recognizable.  We crossed 48 again (at that point a divided highway) and rode along the wide shoulder at a healthy clip everyone could manage.

Catapano’s Goat Farm was our second stop.  I remember when Catapano’s was a tiny place with just a few goats.  I watched it grow until it outgrew it’s first location and relocated to where it is now.

There is a small shop with a large selection of goat milk products and a vast array of flavored (and plain) goat cheeses.  My favorite is the lemon-pepper (which gets consistent raves from our guests) and I never leave there without a chunk or two of the goat fudge, the taste of which falls somewhere between chocolate and dulce de leche.  Yum.    

We bought a couple of different cheeses as a snack for later, let everyone who wanted to say “hi” to the goats, got back on our bikes, and moved on.

The North Fork of Long Island, unlike the South Fork, was carved out by a glacier during the last ice age.  The North Fork is undulating and rocky, with lots of inlets and covers.  The South Fork, in contrast, is sandy and flat.

We rode for a few miles on these gently undulating hills until we reach Horton’s Lighthouse.  The lighthouse sits back from a cliff facing Long Island Sound and the southern shore of Connecticut.  The views are beautiful.  There’s a long staircase that goes down to a lovely beach full of pebbles and giant boulders that I’ve been climbing since I was a kid.  Several guests went down the long wooden staircase, enjoyed the view, collected some rocks, and headed back up when they were ready.

Horton's Lighthouse overlooking Long Island Sound

A few wandered over to the lighthouse, closed for the season, but beautiful in the way all lighthouses are beautiful.  A beacon shows one where to go (or not to go) and therefore offers reassurance.  Maybe that’s what makes them all beautiful; maybe it’s their proximity to water.  In any event, this lighthouse, too, is beautiful.

Mounted up again, we started going south, crossing the fork.  It was autumn, after all, so we stopped at Krupski’s farmstand, which was so loaded with pumpkins it looked like an orange wonderland.  It was the perfect photo op and we took lots of pictures of guests with pumpkins, gourds, and squashes.

A little further down the road we stopped at Pugliese Vineyards.  We pulled out the goat cheese and the extra baguettes from our picnic supplier.  Everyone was ready for a snack and the goat cheese was so delicious that it disappeared remarkably quickly.  Those guests who wanted to tasted a few more wines and purchased a few more bottles.  We sat at tables next to a pond occupied by giant koi with a great blue heron posing at its edge.

I liked that this particular tour group was interested in the history behind the Cutchogue Historic Buildings, our next stop.  The fact that Parker Wickham, the first large landowner in the area in the 17th century and whose house stands to this day in the common, still has descendants in the area fascinates me.  The North Fork feels more like New England than New York.  Peter Wickham’s house would fit in perfectly in Salem, Mass.

An autumn Sunday at Kimogener Point.

The next part of our ride took us to Peconic Bay, the south side of the North Fork.  We stopped at a spot overlooking Robin’s Island, with beaches in front of us, salt marsh behind us.  It was the golden hour and everything was bathed in beautiful light.  Everyone just sort of stood, chatting, enjoying the view, the weather, the fact that this was the perfect way to spend an autumn Sunday.

On our way again, we continued along Peconic Bay, passing one field filled with more Canada geese than I’d ever seen before.  We made our way to the Mattituck train station, and suggested to our guests that they take a stroll along quaint Love Lane before biking the last mile or so to where the jitney would pick up those who were riding it and where the others had left their cars.  It would be a few hours until they got back to the city.  Having a snack in hand seemed like a good idea.

Everyone said they’d had a wonderful time.  Several wanted to try our tours in New York City.  As always, our tour of Central Park seemed to have the greatest appeal, but many were intrigued by the idea of riding across the Brooklyn Bridge and exploring Brooklyn’s neighborhoods.

As far as the North Fork tour goes, we may be done for this season, but we’ve got April and May dates already loaded for next spring and even have a few bookings for them.  Spring will be a different experience, but it will be just as wonderful.

Autumn in New York

There are days when having to hop on a bike for work is an incomparable perk.  I got to do it yesterday and I get to do it again today.

Let’s back up a little.  It’s mid-October, the midst of Autumn, we’re in the Northeast, and there have been years when searching for gloves before leaving the house is part of this time of the season.

But I’m looking out at a clear blue sky with temperatures nudging 70.  Yes, I am worried about climate change, but today I’m focusing on a ride through Central Park and upper Manhattan as the leaves start to change.

There’s something about exploring the city on a bike.  We’re looking for something special to offer our customers this fall — something that will let them take advantage of the weather, the smaller number of tourists, and all the bike paths and bike lanes at our disposal.

First Central Park . . .  The big loop in Central Park takes you all the way north past the Conservatory Gardens and the Haarlem Meer, then up the big hill past the North Woods (where a search for screech owls at dusk can end with threatening growls from raccoons).  I stop at the Conservatory Gardens (still lovely despite the fact that their spring and summer blooms are gone) and walk my bike past the Haarlem Meer where a flock of Canada geese are resting on their migration south.

Then on to St. John the Divine.  I lock my bike up and go inside.  The soaring space never fails to amaze me.  I could be in any of the great cathedrals of Europe, but instead I’m here in New York.

It’s just a short hop to Columbia where I wander into the quad, find a bench, and watch the students hurrying to and fro as I perform a quick electronic check of emails, texts, and messages.  It’s a beautiful scene of very formal architecture with lots of columns set against so many young people dressed in casual clothes and enjoying casual conversation.

The bike lanes take me over to Riverside Park and Grant’s Tomb, another imposing edifice with columns and a dome.  It’s open to the public most days and I go inside.  Although this native New Yorker has actually been to the Empire State Building (when visiting friends insist) and the Statue of Liberty (via a field trip), I’ve never been inside Grant’s Tomb.  The mosaics are beautiful and there’s a sense of timelessness appropriate to the memory of a war hero and president.  A park ranger is giving a talk and I listen in for a while.

Familiarity with the soccer fields in the area (I am an American with kids, after all) means I know how easy it is to get to the Greenway bike path.  The sky is still blue, the water is still warm, and the slight headwind is refreshing rather than forcing me to shift down.

There are sailboats with their shrouds clanging against their metal masts, one of my favorite sounds in the world.  I’m in the middle of New York City, but I can hear it.  Ships are heading up the Hudson; a barge is heading down.  Most of the bike traffic seems to be heading in the opposite direction from me and the riders are aware and polite.

Oops.  Got to run.  I’m off to meet a co-worker in Central Park.  Another ride awaits.

 

The Manhattan Commute . . . on a Bike!

I admit it. I was a chicken. The guys in the warehouse tuned up my bike over the summer while my kids were at camp. When my bike was ready, it was the perfect opportunity to start riding to work, but I took the less-than-courageous route. From the Upper West Side I rode to the bike path on the Hudson River Greenway, then rode down to 34th St. and then up to the office at 36th between 7th and Broadway. What would have been a 50+-block ride on Manhattan’s streets became a breeze along the river with just a few blocks of streets to get to and from it.
Then the kids came home from camp and school started. While my older daughter takes the bus to middle school, my younger one needs to be taken to her school situated a bit more than a mile from our home. She wanted to scooter; I wanted to ride. We had to figure out how to do this.
Thanks to the good works of the current NYC administration, there is a nearby bike lane that dumps us into Central Park. My little one scooters on the sidewalk as I slowly bike next to her on the bike lane. Once we’re in the park, we travel together on the runners/bike lane down to the lake and up the hill. One small path through the edge of the park and school is right across the street. I drop her on the steps and then I’m back on my bicycle and off to work.
At that point, riding all the way over to the river would be silly, time-consuming and extremely inefficient, so I take the bike lane on Broadway. At 8:30 in the morning the pedestrians are reasonably awake and aware and Times Square’s quotient of tourists is few. It’s easy enough to weave among them, use a loud voice to remind several that they’re blocking/crossing/walking-in-the-middle-of a bike lane, and get to the office in just a few minutes.
Let me confess that I hate the subway during rush hour. I’ll do anything to avoid it. When I don’t ride, I walk all the way to work from home (more than three miles) just to miss the crush of commuters. I can’t stand that descent into stinky hell. (Who exactly is peeing in the subway?) So the morning ride is a wonderful start to my work day.
It was much harder for me to get used to the ride home. I tried using the Greenway bike path for a while, but it felt very out-of-the-way at the end of a workday and was over-populated by Spandex-clad speedsters who got out of work much earlier than I and were intent on getting their workout in regardless of who else was on the bike path.
I view 8th Ave. as the price I have to pay to get to the bike lane on Central Park West. I work at a bike company, so everyone rides in this office and everyone has an opinion about 8th Ave. around the Port Authority: they all abhor it. It is a little spooky and I did find that the adrenaline rush from the fear I felt riding those blocks up to Columbus Circle the first few times was enough to keep me up for hours past my bedtime.
But if I ride slowly and don’t let the pedestrians using the bike lane as an extra sidewalk and forcing me into lanes of traffic get to me, it’s not bad. And once I get to Central Park West, it’s a breeze . . . the trucks up there are mostly for movies, the pedestrians seem to be more aware, and the car doors don’t open as much. Of course this is my perception and could just be because I’m close to home, I’m about to see my kids, and I’m next to Central Park.
It was cold this morning as I rode and I didn’t have a jacket, much less gloves. By the time I got to the office I realized that my biking days for the season were numbered (snow, salt, and sand are not in my cycling vocabulary). And even now as I look at the darkening sky, I just want the rain to hold off long enough so that I can ride home. Who knew I’d ever look forward to biking on the streets of New York?

22nd Annual New York City Century Bike Tour – September 18, 2011


The nation’s only all-urban 100-mile bike tour. Be a part of it!

There are three great reasons to ride the NYC Century Bike Tour:

With five different routes, there’s a ride for everyone!

Choose between 15-, 35-, 55-, 75- and 100-mile route options, with fully stocked rest stops and safety marshals throughout the course. Convenient starting locations in Manhattan’s Central Park and Brooklyn’s Prospect Park make it easier to finish.

See New York City like you’ve never seen it before!

Every route on the NYC Century tours amazing views of all the sights. See the world’s greatest city from the world’s greatest vantage point, your bike saddle.

The tour links NYC’s historic bridges and rollicking parks to its unique neighborhoods and idyllic waterfronts.

Bike for Better Biking!

When you ride the NYC Century, you’re supporting Transportation Alternatives’ work for better biking in New York City. As you ride, you are the face of the New York City cyclist, showing the world that biking New York is a blast!

Participating in the Event

Two convenient starting locations: In Manhattan (Central Park) or Brooklyn (Prospect Park) mean an easier start to your day. Want to participate in the New York City Century but don’t have a bike or want the convenience of a custom, on-location rental? Rent your bike from Bike and Roll NYC. We’ll have your bike waiting for you at the starting point of your choice (Central Park or Prospect Park), pick it up at the end point, provide you with a helmet, and have mechanic support on hand, should you need it.

Pricing

Comfort Bike: $69.00*

Performance Bike: $79.00*

Road Bike: $89.00*

* plus tax

Price includes bike pickup at starting location of your choice, drop-off at end point, helmet, and mechanic support, if needed. With a Bike and Roll Rental, all you need to do is pick your route and show up!

Reserve a bike now!

About the Routes

  • 15-Mile — Park to Park: Escorted by TA (Transportation Alternatives) Marshals, this route is meant for first-time riders and families. Riders travel around historic Washington Square Park, roll through the hip scene in SoHo, then proceed over the Brooklyn Bridge. The tour officially finishes in Prospect Park, where riders can collect their tee-shirts and water bottles. Additionally, the Prospect Park Zoo will be waiving admission to anyone with a NYC Century ride bib! Just be sure to bring a bike lock to secure your bike outside of the Zoo. Route begins at 8:00 am. Finish between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm. This route must start in Central Park.
  • 35-Mile — East River Loop: This route is ideal for riders looking for more than a Sunday stroll. The route travels through historic downtown Brooklyn, around the idyllic Prospect Park and continues through the artistic enclave of Williamsburg, all the way to Astoria Park in Queens. Route begins in Central Park at 7:30 am or in Prospect Park at 8:00 am. Finish between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm.
  • 55-Mile — The Waterfront: This route increases the mileage, but with New York’s relatively flat terrain, it is a manageable route for a rider looking to challenge themself. This route takes riders through waterfront views along the Brooklyn greenway, including the majestic Verrazano Bridge and the famous amusements at Coney Island. The route eventually connects with the 35-mile route to finish. Route begins in Central Park at 7:00 am or in Prospect Park at 7:30 am. Finish between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm.
  • 75-Mile — The Rockaways: This route is not for amateurs. Riders travel out to Far Rockaway, Queens and beautiful Fort Tilden Beach. The route takes riders through the serene, car-free Forest Park and up to Kissena Park. Route begins in Central Park at 6:30 am or in Prospect Park at 7:00 am. Finish between 12:00 and 4:00 pm.
  • 100-Mile – The NYC Century: Experienced Cyclists Only. Cyclists swing through eastern Queens before looping back west to Astoria Park along the 75-mile route. The route progresses into the Bronx. This part of the ride is the most challenging because the hills have been saved for the end. The route winds down through northern Manhattan and through historic Harlem neighborhoods. Route begins in Central Park at 6:00 am or in Prospect Park at 6:30 am. Finish between 12:00 and 6:00 pm.

Hop On, Hop Off Bike Rentals Roll Into City Parks

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, second from left, joins Bike and Roll executives on some Bike and Roll bicycles. (Photo credit DNAinfo/Leslie Albrecht)

by Leslie Albrecht, DNAinfo.com

UPPER WEST SIDE — Just in time for the summer cycling season, bike rental outfit Bike and Roll unveiled a new “hop on, hop off” service in which riders will be able to return rented bikes at any of the company’s locations around the city.

Bike and Roll has a contract with the Parks Department to rent bikes at 11 locations, including the Tavern on the Green parking lot in Central Park, Riverside Park South and West Harlem Piers Park.

Starting Tuesday, the company will allow riders to “hop on” their bikes at one location, and “hop off” of them at any other Bike and Roll locations throughout the city, including Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and Governor’s Island. The company had previously required that riders return their bikes to the same place they were rented.

“It allows every person to personalize Manhattan and see it the way they want to see it,” Bike and Roll NYC president Chris Wogas said at the announcement event on Tuesday at Tavern on the Green.

Bike and Roll’s rental prices range from $12 an hour for a beach cruiser to $69 for a day for a Trek racing bike.

Aside from renting bikes, Bike and Roll runs community programs, including free riding lessons for kids and a good neighbor initiative that fixes flat tires for any cyclist who stops at a Bike and Roll location.

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe encouraged the public to jump on a bike this summer, saying that the city is becoming increasingly bike-friendly, with new bike lanes and six miles of bike paths in Central Park.

Plans to add even more cycling to Central Park by letting cyclists to share crosstown paths with pedestrians this summer have drawn praise from bike riders, and criticism from an Upper East Side community board.