Fitness Finds: City bikingPosted on October 7, 2013 | by Alena Hall
One of the best ways to enjoy the cool autumn weather is to cruise through it on two wheels. Now, you don’t need to own a bike, or rent one from one of those sign-toting guys around downtown Central Park. CitiBike, New York City’s public bicycle sharing program, offers residents a convenient commuting solution as well as a fun and active way to enjoy the Big Apple.
When it comes to physical fitness, biking boasts some big benefits. It can help you burn a lot of calories in little time, serving as a strong cardiovascular alternative to running or walking. Plus, its low-impact nature protects your knees, ankles and spine from unwanted wear and tear. Any hill-climbing helps sculpt lean and toned legs — characteristic of most bikers. And most importantly, it helps boost your mood and energy levels by releasing dopamine.
Head over to one of the bike rental kiosks and docking stations to get started. There are five CitiBike locations within a block of Washington Square Park. Daily passes cost $10 and allow for an unlimited number of 30-minute rides around town. A $101 security hold will be placed on your credit card, but it will disappear after a couple of days assuming you don’t lose or wreck the bike.
Since each ride is limited to 30 minutes, be sure to download the free CitiBike app on your phone to keep track of your time and plan your next docking station stop. After returning the bike, head over to the kiosk to print a new, free access code for your next ride.
Familiarize yourself with city cycling rules before getting started — the bike lanes will be your best friends, and hand signals will save you trouble with car traffic and pedestrians. And remember — please bike with traffic. If you don’t own a helmet, be sure to rent one from a local bike shop.
When you are ready to rent and ride, give the following routes a try. Plan a midride pit stop at docking stations to avoid overcharge fees.
Hudson River Greenway
Ride the West Side from Battery Park to just south of Riverside Park.
Starting Station: State Street
Ending Station: 11th Ave. and W. 59th St.
A classic view from the historic bridge connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Starting Station: Centre and Chambers Streets
Ending Station: Cadman Plaza East and Red Cross Place
East River Bikeway
Cruise the East Side from South Street Seaport to the United Nations Headquarters.
Starting Station: Front Street and Maiden Lane
Ending Station: FDR Drive and E. 35th St.
Watch the leaves change color along the lower loop of Manhattan’s scenic park.
Starting Station: Grand Army Plaza and Central Park South
Ending Station: Central Park South and Sixth Avenue
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Oct. 7 print edition. Alena Hall is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.