Touring Central Park by bike is one of the best ways to fully enjoy this Manhattan landmark. A bike offers just enough speed to get around the 843 acres efficiently without moving too fast to actually experience the park and all it has to offer. If you decided to tour the park on bike though, you’ve still got a few decisions to make.
Striking Out or Hiring a Guide
There are actually three options here. The first is simply renting a bike and setting out on your own. Rentals are quite reasonably priced and include bike locks so you can set off on foot if something strikes your interest and you wish to explore more. The advantage with this option is autonomy. You can explore at your own pace and go where you wish when you wish.
The second option is signing up for a tour. While this might cut down on your freedom to explore as you wish, it cannot be overstated how vast the park actually is. An experienced guide can take you to the places you will likely wish to see, keep you from getting lost and help you round out your tour. Additionally, an experienced guide can tell you the background and history of the places you visit, enriching the experience greatly.
The third option is arranging a private tour. This is a bit of the best of both worlds. You can customize your tour and, at the same time, have an experienced guide along to help you find what you are looking for and fill you in on the rich history of the park. The only drawback with this option is it can cost a bit more than preset tours.
Choosing a bike
Bike rentals in Central park are readily able to meet a variety of needs and preferences for customers. The style of bike you wish will largely depend on your individual preferences and needs. Available options include:
• Standard bicycle rental – This is your basic, one seat bicycle. Rental places will have well maintained, individual bikes available for men, women and children. Locks should be available for each bike so you can safely stop and explore on foot when you wish or take in lunch or refreshments during the day.
• Tandem bicycle rental – A classic choice for couples, tandem bicycles actually afford a challenge in team building as well, requiring cooperation between lead rider and stoker. This is definitely a way to closely share the experience of the park with someone.
• Bicycle + babyseat – This is a standard bicycle with the classic babyseat affixed over the rear fender.
• Bike + double trailer – A more modern spin on the babyseat, the double trailer is a two wheeled, usually canopied small trailer that hitches to the rear axle of a standard bicycle. Low to the ground, it offers excellent stability for children and seats two.
• Tag-a-long – The tag-a-long is recommended for children age 4 to 9 who are still learning to ride. It consists of a small bicycle minus the front wheel. Instead, the front of the bike mounts to the back of a standard sized bicycle. This allows a youngster to pedal along and participate without having to worry about steering or keeping the bike under control – a perfect intermediate step that offers some autonomy and participation for a growing child.
Regardless of the option you choose, make sure all safety gear, such as helmets, are worn and you have a thorough understanding of how to work any child harnesses with your chosen equipment.
Ready for a Day in the Park
Once you’ve decided on going alone or with a guide and selected your bike, it’s time for a day in the park. There are a few last things to consider though.
• Respect your limitations – You can discuss at your bicycle rental outlet the bike paths available. Set realistic goals. Don’t ride too far if you’re not used to biking. Also, take into account the terrain. Learn which paths will be relatively level and which will have significant hills that might challenge you.
• Consider the weather – If it is cold out, make sure you are sufficiently clothed for the weather. Likewise, if you’re braving the summer heat, remember to break frequently, hydrate and get in the shade often.
• Know your equipment – Make sure you understand how to put on any safety equipment issued. This is especially true of those bringing children along as you will have to understand their safety gear as well to insure a pleasant, risk free experience in the park.
With this information in hand, begin planning that trip today. Central Park brings in approximately 40 million visitors per year from all over the world to enjoy all it has to offer. Come see the unique blend of history, architecture and natural beauty that is Central Park.