Great bike routes

Three rides lend themselves to two-wheeled exercise.

Cycling racer and coach Dave Jordan ( designed three cycling routes for TONY readers—start your training here.


Central Park loop
6–18 miles

1. Your goal is to ride three six-mile laps of the main loop. Each lap takes beginners about 30 minutes; Jordan suggests trying to bring it down to 20, so you can do three laps in an hour. Many races begin at the top of Cat’s Paw Hill, just north of the Central Park Boathouse at 72nd Street. Build up speed as you ride from 86th Street to 96th Street, the longest flat, straight part of the park.

2. Prepare for the sharp downhill turn at Lasker Pool (Lenox Ave at 110th St): Shift your weight back, bend slightly forward and relax your arms. Keep pressure on the outside pedal (your right leg should be extended when you’re turning left). Don’t rush.

3. Harlem Hill is the biggest in the park, taking at least a minute to climb. Use the same gear from bottom to top (middle in front, first three in back).

4. At the top of the hill, you’re in recovery mode. Once your breathing is down, have some water and a bite of your energy source, like an apple or power bar.

5. Pace yourself for “the three sisters,” hills at 96th, 90th and 86th Streets on the West Side. “In races, this is where attacks take place and other racers try to push the pace,” says Jordan.

6. Beware of tourists and carriages in the lower part of the park. The path bottlenecks at Sixth Avenue into “horseshit alley.”

7. Your final sprint is up Cat’s Paw Hill. This is where you want to match or exceed your personal best time.

8. After three laps, chug low-fat chocolate milk. “Its balance of carbs, fat and protein is great for your muscles,” says Jordan.

Beginner | Intermediate | Advanced


Van Cortland Park to Sleepy Hollow
35 miles

1. Take Riverdale Avenue out of the city. It can be congested—never trust suburban drivers—so be careful.

2. At Yonkers you'll head north on Route 9, which has lots of short, steep ups and downs. It's built-in interval training. Jordan recommends keeping your stress level low by focusing on deep, rhythmic breathing when you go up hills—pretend you're going to hold your breath, then exhale.

3. The town of Dobbs Ferry is located at about the halfway point, so stop for coffee at J.J. Beans Cafe (19 Cedar St, 914-231-7990) or quick repairs at Endless Trail Bikeworx (56 Main St; 914-674-8567,

4. Most paths in Rockefeller State Park Preserve don't allow bikes, but you can ride on the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, just off Route 9, north of Sleepy Hollow (make a right at the Pleasantville fork in the road and follow signs to Peekskill). It'll be a relief to get off busy roads for a while.

5. If you really want a challenge, go 20 miles north to the Bear Mountain Bridge and into Harriman State Park, then come home on the west side of the Hudson. It's serious riding, including a 3.5-mile climb on Perkins Drive. If not, chill out in Sleepy Hollow, with its many historic sites, like the Old Dutch Church and Burial Ground (430 North Broadway, 914-631-4497), made famous in "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Now you're ready for the ride back home.

Beginner | Intermediate | Advanced