Leave the pedicabs to the tourists -- here's a chance to see New York with your own pedal power. The city's long-awaited bike share program -- modeled on programs in Montreal, Washington and London -- launches Sunday after a preview week.
Citi Bike puts thousands of sturdy, unisex bikes at hundreds of "stations" in parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Each station has a bike rack with a touch-screen kiosk dispensing 24-hour day passes to riders 16 and older with a credit card. A day pass is $9.95 plus tax.
Riders use a code to unlock a bike and can use it as long as 30 minutes before re-docking at any station. (For the tardy, additional charges apply.) The number of rides is unlimited during the period purchased. More info on the program is available at citibikenyc.com and from the Citi Bike mobile app (available from the App Store or Google play).
Here are two jaunts for adventurous Manhattan daytrippers. Each leg is about 10 to 20 minutes, mostly using the city's bike lanes, many protected from traffic. Bring your own helmet.
From Penn Station, use a bike station on West 33rd Street and Seventh Avenue. Cycle and re-dock at East 58th Street and Third Avenue to explore the galleries for exotic rugs, lighting and other wares lining East 57th, 58th and 59th streets.
Next, grab a bike at East 56th Street and Third Avenue and cycle to Chelsea to re-dock at West 28th Street and 10th Avenue. A dozen popular art galleries await in the 20s between 10th and 11th avenues, including David Zwirner and the Gagosian Gallery.
Then undock a bike at West 22nd Street and 10th Avenue and cycle down to the Lower East Side to land at Allen and Hester streets. After taking in the cutting-edge art galleries along Orchard, Rivington and Ludlow streets, pick up your last bike from Stanton and Chrystie streets for the return to Penn Station.
From Penn Station, cycle to City Hall Park, docking your bike at Spruce and Nassau streets. After exploring the home of New York City government, pick up a bike at Centre and Chambers streets for a trip across the Brooklyn Bridge to re-dock at Old Fulton Street. There you'll find Brooklyn Bridge Park to explore, and the popular Grimaldi's Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria for some nourishment. Pick up a bike at Front and Washington streets and cross over the Manhattan Bridge to re-dock at Bayard and Baxter streets.
Explore Chinatown and Little Italy, and then grab a bike at Howard and Centre streets and cycle over the Williamsburg Bridge, leaving the bike at South Fifth Place and South Fourth Street. After exploring the shops, cafes and hipster hangouts, you're ready for the longest cycle of the trip, at 22 minutes, from Metropolitan and Bedford avenues back to Penn Station.