Manhattan is arguably the most famous island in the US (sorry, Oahu), but for city cyclists this popularity comes at a price. Finding a secluded stretch of pavement can be almost impossible between the district’s 60 million annual tourists and a population density of around 67k people per square mile. Yikes.
But we’ll let you in on a little secret: there’s a difference between Manhattan the borough and Manhattan the island – and hidden within this little technicality lies the key to cycling bliss in the heart of the Big Apple.
Tucked inside the borders of Manhattan (the borough) are three little-known urban islands, each with its own cyclable infrastructure. What the riding here lacks in distance it more than makes up for in solitude, as well as some killer skyline views. Take a minute to check each of the three out below, then grab a bike and point yourself in the direction of some surprisingly private Manhattan cycling.
Find the Perfect Ride for Cycling all of New York’s Urban Islands:
Sandwiched between Manhattan to the west, Queens to the south, and the Bronx to the north, Randall’s and Ward’s Island is one of New York’s best kept cycling secrets. The conjoined urban islands are accessible via multiple crossways, including the pedestrian-only Ward’s Island Bridge on E 102nd St. Read more.
The 4-mile loop that circumnavigates Roosevelt Island takes you past a lighthouse, an abandoned smallpox hospital, the Queensboro Bridge, and some truly incredible vistas of Midtown Manhattan. To get here you can either hop on a subway car (Line F), a raised tramway (really cool experience), or pedal the Roosevelt Island Bridge in from Queens. Read more.
From towering community gardens to 19th century coastal forts, Governors Island is 172 acres of discovery and truly unique New York cycling experiences. The park is currently only open seasonally between May and October, and accessible via ferry from both Brooklyn and Manhattan. Read more.