How to cycle NYC like a pro

A perfect balance of urban landscape and green space, New York City lends itself to one of the healthiest, most enjoyable outdoor pursuits – cycling.

It may surprise those who still envision NYC as a gritty no-go zone for pedalers. But the city has hundreds of miles of bike lanes and one of the largest bike-sharing programs in North America.

New Yorkers and visitors alike are discovering the joys of zipping around on two wheels, and have helped transform this city into a bicycling haven.

Riding in NYC is rather less frightening than you might think.

Despite the busy streets and seemingly endless stream of yellow taxis, it’s remarkably easy to cycle here – particularly if you know where to go and how to best maneuver yourself.

Hook up some wheels

Whether you’re in New York for a week or you’re one of those lucky souls who gets to stay forever, it’s easy to get started.

For a quick jaunt across town, Citi Bike is the best option. Launched in 2013, this bike-sharing program provides hundreds of self-service kiosks scattered around the city.

Here's how it works: purchase a 24-hour or 3-day access pass at any Citi Bike kiosk. You will then be given a 5-digit code to unlock a bike.

Return the bike to any station within 30 minutes to avoid incurring extra fees. To check out a bike again, reinsert your credit card (you won't be charged) and follow the prompts.

You can make an unlimited number of 30-minute check-outs during those 24 hours or 3 days. Annual memberships are available for locals.

For longer jaunts, bike rental is cheap and often comes with options for organized tours. There are full-service operations like Bike NYC or Central Park Bike Rental, both located near Central Park.

Wearing a helmet is, of course, strongly recommended (and required by law for children under the age of 13). Every bike shop sells them, with plenty of stylish options.