Everything You Need To Know To Start Biking In Lower Manhattan

We are potentially entering a golden era of biking in New York City. The pandemic has driven even some of the most reluctant city dwellers into cycling as more people realize it is a fast and efficient way to get around that doesn’t involve being crammed into a small space with a lot of strangers. 

Studies show that more people biking leads to safer streets for all, too. So, while the city might not be as progressive on embracing the biking boom as some people would like, the future is definitely bright. Here are some resources for enjoying your wheels around Lower Manhattan. 

Helmets

Helmets are not legally required for cyclists in the city, but it’s a good idea to have one anyway. The city has a few opportunities for helmet giveaways and free fittings: keep an eye on the city’s calendar for free helmet distribution events, or call 311 to make an appointment for a helmet donation with the Department of Transportation’s Safety City Unit.

Bike Maps

City streets are always changing and adding new bike lanes, so the city updates its bike map every year. Explore the full 2020 map here

Bike Shops

Gotham Fix  (Chambers Street and Greenwich Street). There aren’t many bike shops in this part of Manhattan, so this mobile bike mechanic is not only a pretty good option, it’s basically the only one. The shop is operated out of a van on the corner of the street at Chambers and Greenwich, and they can do repairs in an hour or two. Don’t expect all the bells and whistles (or the overnight storage) of a bike shop, but it’s good enough for a fixup. 

Citi Bike 

If you don’t have your own bike yet or are just caught out without it, Citi Bike is a great option. It’s safe, and they’re everywhere in Manhattan: there are about two-dozen stations in Lower Manhattan alone, including several around The Battery and along the waterfront. See the full list of stations here

Also, a friendly reminder: Do not touch your face after riding one — a precaution that is not so much about the COVID-19 pandemic as just a general rule for anything in the city that’s used by hundreds of sweaty individuals each day.

Rentals 

If you want to take a longer ride than a typical short Citi Bike trip, we’ve got two more traditional bike rental options in the neighborhood too:

Blazing Saddles (93 South Street): You can rent cruisers, hybrids, tandems, kids bikes and e-bikes here. Rates start at $28 for a day for a three-speed cruiser up to $68 per day for an e-bike. 

Brooklyn Bridge Bike Rent (145 Nassau Street): This spot rents a variety of bikes and e-bikes, with three hours of rental starting at about $30. 

Should You Wear A Mask While Biking? 

Scientists say you’re not super-likely to catch or transmit coronavirus while biking outdoors where breath doesn’t have space to linger, but, yes, you should still wear a mask. It’s just the responsible thing to do until we get this thing under control and sets a good example for other bikers. And come the colder months, it’s actually super-useful to keep your face warm. 

For more information on biking routes in Lower Manhattan, from beginner to intermediate to expert, check out our guide to enjoying the two-wheeled life around Lower Manhattan.