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The best bike rides in NYC

New York City has become something of a bike-mecca. More than 250 miles of bike lanes have been added since 2006, resulting in more and more people strapping on helmets and taking to two wheels. Whether a casual rider or a commuter, biking in NYC has never been easier.

We've picked our favorite, most accessible bike rides in the city. So get riding!

Ocean Parkway

Ocean Parkway, the five-mile route from near Prospect
Photo Credit: <a href="http://bit.ly/1Xx1wrM" target="_blank">Josh S. Jackson via Flickr (CC-BY-SA)</a>

Ocean Parkway, the five-mile route from near Prospect Park to Brighton Beach, was built in 1894. The first bike path in the United States, the ride is both historic and beautiful. It runs through many neighborhoods including Kensington, Midwood and Gravesend. Much of the bike path is shaded by trees, making the ride pleasant. While bikers must make many stops at busy intersections, the ride is generally easygoing and flat. Pay attention to the surface, which can be bumpy, but do also try and take in the architecture along the Parkway, which includes mansions and luxurious apartment buildings.

Ocean Parkway is one of the most direct and convenient routes to NYC's beaches, too. Take it to end, make a left onto Emmons Avenue and then merge onto the Belt Parkway Bike Path, which runs along the Belt Parkway and beaches. At Flatbush, take a right, continue over the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge and then go straight for Jacob Riis park, right for Fort Tilden or left for the Rockaways.

Belt Parkway Bike Path

The Belt Parkway Bike Path runs along the
Photo Credit: <a href="http://bit.ly/1ThYPoB" target="_blank">Ken Ficara via Flickr (CC-BY-SA)</a>

The Belt Parkway Bike Path runs along the highway, but on the right is Sheepshead Bay and then the open Atlantic Ocean. It extends from Sheepshead Bay to Flatbush Avenue. At Flatbush, take a right and continue over the Marine Highway - Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge if you want to hit up some of the city's beaches. Go straight for Jacob Riis, right for Fort Tilden or left for the Rockaways.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk

Take your bike on the Staten Island Ferry,
Photo Credit: <a href="http://bit.ly/1NwREfz" target="_blank">Shannon McGee via Flickr (CC-BY-SA)</a>

Take your bike on the Staten Island Ferry, ride a few miles on roads and roads with bike lanes and voila, you arrive at the beautiful Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk, which runs along the Island's Eastern Shoreline. Take in the water views and breezes and bring your towel if you want to go for a dip. The 2.5-mile boardwalk begins at Fort Wadsworth and extends to Miller Field's Gateway Recreation Area. For more info visit, nycparks.org.

Hudson River Greenway

The Hudson River Greenway is part of the
Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

The Hudson River Greenway is part of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, a 32-mile route that extends all the way around the island of Manhattan. We love the ride from around Battery Park and up through Hell's Kitchen and Riverside Park. With the river breezes, you might not even feel the heat of the ride! The ride is flat most of the way and beautiful plantings and views abound for the entire ride. More info: nyc.gov

Governors Island

Biking on Governor's Island is the best because
Photo Credit: <a href="http://bit.ly/1suXiWi" target="_blank">Chris Goldberg via Flickr (CC-BY-SA)</a>

Biking on Governor's Island is the best because no cars or motorized vehicles are permitted. A cycling path circles practically the entire perimeter and you can ride through other parts of the island too. Bike rentals are available or you can bring your own bike on the ferry. (We love this option because you get to load the ferry separately and much more quickly.) Governors Island is a great place for a day trip, because it truly has it all: green space, history, views of the city and harbor and oh yes, food vedors. More info at govisland.com.

Eastern Parkway

Eastern Parkway is not only tree-lined and walkable
Photo Credit: Emilio Guerra

Eastern Parkway is not only tree-lined and walkable but when it was completed in 1874 it was the first of its kind. If you've ever wondered why some thoroughfares are called parkways -- this is why. It was designed as a way to carry the character of Prospect Park through Brooklyn. The pedestrian malls flank both sides of the two-way street, one specifically for pedestrians and one for both bikers and walkers. Check out Crown Heights from end to end, starting (or ending) with a visit to Prospect Park. You can ride the perimeter or the park, too. Or just lock up and walk the many trails and open fields.

Brooklyn Greenway

The Brooklyn Greenway runs along the East River
Photo Credit: Brooklyn Greenway

The Brooklyn Greenway runs along the East River from Greenpoint to Red Hook, with plans to extend it through Sunset Park to Bay Ridge. This bike path is one of the most impressive in the city, with views of Manhattan and tours through various neighborhoods, all of which have seen much development and beautification projects over the past decade. We especially love the section that runs through Brooklyn Bridge Park, just be advised the park can get very crowded. For more info visit brooklyngreenway.org.

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