First visit to New York City: rented bicycle?

I was in Brooklyn for a week back in July and was tempted by the Citibikes, but they don’t rent helmets, and I wouldn’t ride a bicycle around my suburban block without something to protect my brainpan. Even without an auto collision just falling off a bicycle can be a life-changing event, and rarely for the better.

Oh, wow, I hadn’t even thought of that. Well, that pretty much settles it, you threadkiller, you! :slight_smile:

It’s not likely that I’ll travel with much of a budget, but if I do, I’ll buy a cheap helmet there. Thanks for pointing that out!

If a bike ride is part of your NYC visit plan, why not bring a helmet with you? They’re light, and while they look bulky they’re hollow and I can see packing one in a suitcase with clothes around and inside them. And it would mean not using limited time looking for a bike shop.

I spent some time this weekend biking in NYC and have to say that biking in Central Park is way way more than looking at trees. There’s the Metropolitan Museum, the reservoir, the lake, Belvedere Castle, musicians of many genres (I’ve heard rock, folk, jazz, salsa, classical, hip-hop), the Delacorte Theater, Strawberry Fields and the John Lennon Imagine memorial, many statues, human and animal (including Alexander Hamilton, Shakespeare, Alice in Wonderland, Balto)

And here’s an article about the new bike lane across the Brooklyn Bridge:

True that, I tend to obsessively plan my travel to the point where I lose sight of how others don’t think the same way I do. To be honest, if I was filthy rich, I’d take an Uber/cab for all my trips, and not give a second thought to planning at all.

I know what you mean: fill it with socks, etc. I’ll probably be travelling with bare essentials in one large backpack and am not sure how much room there will be. Along with the more obvious stuff, something dressy to change into, including shoes, and probably a fair amount of just-in-case stuff that I’ll probably think of between now and then.

Park sounds like it’s worth some time.

There are foldable helmets which may work for you. They collapse and can be put in backpack or whatever. It’s good for people who ride in the city or other places where a rigid, bulky helmet would be impractical to carry around.

Hey, look at that. I didn’t know about folding helmets. Looking online, I see they run the gamut from elegant to hideous. :smiley: Prices look reasonable. Do they hold up as well as non-folding helmets?

I was stuck in traffic near the Brooklyn Bridge on Sunday and had a good view of vehicles and people going across. The bike lane is in the middle between car lanes and doesn’t get much of a scenic view. The pedestrian lane is quite crowded too; I can’t imagine bikes maneuvering through it.

Here’s a good guide to crossing it:

Wow, lots of useful information there. I don’t always study up before travelling, because it takes away a bit from the thrill of first impressions, successful DIY approach, etc. But for me NYC is a “know-before-I-go” destination, at least on first visit. So, thanks for posting that, gkster!

As a (recent) former NYC tourist-guide, I must caution you that many, many of the best historical sites are merely that: sites. As in, on this spot, three incarnations ago, there used to be ______ right here. Unfortunately, _________was knocked down in 1848, and the building put up on this site burned down in 1907, and the building next erected on this spot was demolished in 1977 for the edifice you see here today.

Good to know. Is Five Points like that?

I’ve walked it a number of times (before the bikes were moved off); yes, twas chaotic for all involved. Cyclists, & even runners & faster walkers had to constantly be on guard for clueless idjits who wanted to go from the walking lane (edge) to the middle to take a pic w/o even looking who was coming up on them. I’ve seen any number of collisions (bump or bruise at worst; usually just a side-swipe) or near-collisions up there.

On my tours of literary Lower Manhattan, I had to point out that Five Points was completely obliterated. Even the streets were renamed or built over (a park was built over some of the original site, and courts and other government buildings erected where Five Points once stood). I asked my tour-goers to use their imaginations.

Well, and not having to try to find a taxi - while Manhattan tends to have yellow cabs all over the place, they always seem to evaporate whenever I need to hail one :D. If you’re in the busier areas you won’t have much trouble; I was on a girls’ weekend in NYC a few years ago and the people who came from Texas etc. kept talking about calling for an Uber to go somewhere. I told them to just go out to the main street 50 feet from our hotel, and hail a cab.

True, but even though I haven’t been to NYC in a long time, I’d presume that the dangerous neighborhoods are the ones where you’d have the most difficulty trying to flag down a cab at a moment’s notice.

I live in NYC. Have since 1981.

Unless you are incredibly experienced in biking in this city, I politely suggest you ignore those people recommending the CitiBike.

Even with a helmet, which you need to buy and bring, you risk death. It’s a fantastically dangerous city to bike in.

Get a 7-day MetroCard. Easy. Unlimited. Ride fast, traffic is TOTALLY irrelevant.

The subways are safe. Believe me- you’ve got a better chance of getting hit, “doored”, slammed by a pedestrian, side-swiped or killed on a bike than you do being hurt in ANY way on the NYC Subways.

Forget the headlines. They’re safe at all hours of the day and night.

Unless you’re talking about neighborhoods where the danger is drunken bar patrons getting into fights with each other or pickpockets , the most dangerous neighborhoods have nothing to attract tourists unless they rent an Air Bnb in Brownsville or something.