#FiDi Friday: Renting Bikes in Lower Manhattan

On a whim last Sunday we decided to go bike riding. We were slated for some beautiful weather here in New York City and decided to take advantage of it. After our morning breakfast at Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee Shop in Lower Manhattan, we took a short walk over to the CPBS Seaport Bicycle Shop on South St and John St. There were many bikes available including ones that had children’s seats and tandem (tag-a-long) bikes.


Don’t worry, we went home to pick up helmets and sneakers. We are safe bikers!!

You can rent bikes for one hour to a full day ($15-$35) . We ended up renting a bike for myself plus a tandem for Miss O which cost $45. This included a cute metal bike basket, lock and bell. The helpful bike-man made sure we were safely fitted for our bike before we went along our merry way. Michael already has a bike with a child seat for S, so we were all set for an active day.

Since we live downtown, we decided to bike over the Brooklyn Bridge and have a lunch in DUMBO. *Whew* what a bike ride! For those of you who haven’t walked or biked across the bridge, take note that the bridge is a hill! Since I haven’t been on a bike in over a year – this was tough work for me! This was also the first time I’ve biked over the Brooklyn Bridge, and there are definitely a few safety things to note when doing so – especially with children.

Tips: Biking across the Brooklyn Bridge – what you need to know:

  1. The bike lane on the Brooklyn Bridge is very, very narrow – possibly 3.5 feet across – and is shared for both incoming and outgoing bike traffic. This means that you have to be extra cautious when another bike is coming at you because there is very little room to navigate around each other.
  2. There is a separate pedestrian lane, but both bike and pedestrian lanes are right next to each other. It can get a little nerve-wracking when there are bikes coming at you and you have to squeeze in between them and the pedestrians. I have to admit, I was a little scared a few times.
  3. Use your bike bell! This helps in making sure that the pedestrians are out of your way!
  4. Once you get across, merge to the left side instead of going all the way down the bridge, so you are in DUMBO-proper. This is tricky because you have to watch the incoming bike traffic, plus the pedestrians. I ended up walking our bike off the main lane so we didn’t hit anyone. There is a huge set of stairs down off of the bridge that you’ll have to bring your bike down manually. Hopefully you’ll have a hubby/friend/nice stranger to help you.
Once you get down the stairs, we biked towards the Brooklyn Promenade for lunch at Bubby’s in BrooklynTip: Drop your name with the hostess at Bubby’s and then go on a 15-20 minute bike ride along the promenade. You’ll have to wait for a table anyway! 

After a great brunch at Bubby’s, I wanted to get to wider (and safer) bike lanes, so we headed back over the bridge into Lower Manhattan. We went cross-town to the West Side Highway’s bike path and biked from Tribeca up to Chelsea Piers on 23rd Street. The West Side Highway bike paths are wide with separate lanes for northbound and southbound bike traffic which made me feel more safe — plus we had great views of the Hudson River. Once we got to Chelsea Piers, we took a much-needed break to play in their rock garden and have an ice-cream snack.

After an almost 5-hour bike ride in Lower Manhattan, we decided to call it a day and ride down and around the tip of Manhattan, past the Statue of Liberty, the Staten Island Ferry and back to The South Street Seaport to hand in our bike. Even though we were exhausted, it was exhilarating to be active and to do something new. As we walked home from the bike rental store, O said to me, “That was a lot of fun. I’d like to do that again.” That’s when I knew that Michael and I got an A+ for being a mommy and daddy that day.

CPBS Seaport Bicycle Shop and Rental is located in Lower Manhattan on 87 South St across from Pier 17 Seaport.  For more information, visit www.nyc-bike-rental.com. 1-212-668-8406.