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Biking in Hudson River Park
Photograph: Whitney Lawson

The best bike tours in NYC

From a quick ride across the bridge to a day-long Central Park trek, here are the best bike tours NYC has to offer

Written by
Dan Q Dao
&
Annalise Mantz
Contributor
Rhys Thomas
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For those looking to experience New York City like the locals, hop on two wheels and join one of the best bike tours NYC has to offer. There are lots on offer but we've whittled down the best – we think you're going to like them. And yeah sure, the best walking tours may allow you to take your time and the NYC bus tours may cover more ground, but bicycle tours are an ideal way for first-time visitors to explore a specific area or see the top New York attractions at their own pace. From a breezy ride down the idyllic Brooklyn waterfront to a cruise through Central Park, our guide rounds up the best bike tours in NYC for every mood and budget. We would say they are all wheelie good but that would be lame. Enjoy!

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to NYC tours and walks

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Best bike tours in NYC

This one's a cracker – and not just for fans of bridges, of which we guess there are a few knocking around? Anyway, you'll get to ride across two iconic New York bridges in this three-hour tour. Kicking off in DUMBO, you'll travel from Brooklyn to China Town, gliding along the East River and stopping in South Port Sea, City Hall Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park. Finally the tour winds up in Brooklyn Heights, where you'll find a wealth of shops and eateries to head to post-tour. And you'll have totally earned that reward you know.

You might already know this fun fact but, fun fact: Central Park spans a whopping 2.5 miles from 59th Street to 110th Street, making it quite a trek on foot. Luckily, you can pedal your way through a good number of the park’s famed attractions in just two hours during this tour. Stops include the Bethesda Fountain, Strawberry Fields, the Dakota, Cleopatra’s Needle and the Jackie Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. Most importantly, the tour is capped at just eight to provide a more personalized guided experience. Which is of course wonderful but does mean you also need to reserve your spot early.

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Did you know that Brooklyn Bridge is one of the city’s most popular biking destinations? Well, it is. And you'll find out why on this excellent bike tour. Your guide will take you on a quick spin around the southern tip of Manhattan before leading you into the City Hall area and then up onto the bridge. Once you hit the bridge tower on the Brooklyn side, you’ll be able to turn back towards Manhattan to snap photos of the Statue of Liberty, the port of Brooklyn and Manhattan’s Financial District. Dreamy insta stuff.

Another fun fact! Harlem is the largest neighborhood in Manhattan. And that means hopping on a bike helps you see everything in this vibrant part of town, from Hamilton Grange to the Harriet Tubman Memorial – all in just a few hours. And the really good news? This bike tour offers access to smaller side streets that you won’t pass on a bus tour. Throw it back to the days of the Harlem Renaissance as you cycle past the homes of the neighborhood’s most famed residents, from Langston Hughes to Madam C.J. Walker and Maya Angelou. Don't forget your camera: After climbing up some of Harlem's steeper streets, you'll be rewarded with sweeping views of the nabe and the north end of Central Park. Awesome.

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You could spend an entire weekend exploring the area below 14th Street and still not visit every neighborhood – trust us, we've done it. Still, this three-hour bike tour does its best to cram everything in, and a damn fine job it does, too. Meet your fellow bikers near City Hall, then hop on a bike to cycle to landmarks such as the National September 11 Memorial and Wall Street’s Charging Bull. You’ll pedal through the streets of Greenwich Village and the Lower East Side before calling it a day—12 miles of biking later. Worth every bit of energy you've expended, we promise.

Sightseeing in New York City doesn’t stop after sunset—this is the city that never sleeps, after all. Make the most of your evening on a bike tour of Midtown’s most dazzling lights. After meeting your guide at Columbus Circle, you’ll pedal south past Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Terminal, Times Square, the Empire State Building and other iconic landmarks that light up the city skyline. Again, great for Insta, people.

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Discover NYC’s most overlooked borough on this comprehensive tour that starts in the notorious South Bronx—an area undergoing rapid transformation—before heading to the borough’s Little Italy on Arthur Avenue, where you can dine on sandwiches and pastas. Other stops include Poe Cottage, the home of Edgar Allen Poe, and Yankee Stadium.

Looking for the biggest bang for your biking buck? This full-day bike tour visits not one, not two, but three boroughs: Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. How do you like those apples, huh? You’ll cycle through the Upper East Side, Long Island City, Williamsburg and Greenpoint before crossing the Williamsburg Bridge to end the day in the Lower East Side. As you ride, your guide will point out examples of the Big Apple’s vibrant cultural melting pot, like the Hasidic Jewish community in Yiddish-speaking Williamsburg bumping up against a Polish enclave in Greenpoint. A true celebration and education – and a blast, to boot.

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