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


Upper West Side to Piermont
50 miles

1. For a long ride like this, it's important to keep your energy up by snacking often. Load up on carbs at Absolute Bagels (2788 Broadway between 107th and 108th Sts, 212-932-2052), then head to the George Washington Bridge.

2. Across the bridge, stay to the left—on the sidewalk that leads directly onto a bike path. The entrance to Palisades Interstate Park, what everybody calls River Road, is about a quarter mile south of the bridge.

3. It gets woodsy almost immediately, with few cars. Jordan notes that this is a good place to practice sprinting: Pedal fast in a relatively hard gear for 15--20 seconds, then recover for several minutes (four to five times for one set).

4. Stop at Englewood Boat Basin, about two miles in. The view is gorgeous: Manhattan in one direction, Hudson Valley in the other.

5. At the end of the eight-mile River Road, you have to climb out of the valley up a 1.25-mile hill. Pace yourself; you shouldn't need to walk.

6. Route 9W is relatively flat into Piermont, so give yourself an extra workout by climbing up Ash Street for about a half mile.

7. In the center of town, you'll likely see a cluster of cyclists in front of Bunbury's Coffee Shop (460 Piermont Ave, 845-398-9715), a great lunch stop. Plenty of bikers make stops here—including Lance Armstrong.

8. Follow 9W back to the bridge and take the Hudson River bike path home.

Beginner | Intermediate | Advanced

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