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You don’t need much more than two wheels and a helmet to efficiently navigate the streets of the Big Apple. But there are a few tips and tricks you need to make sure that you’re aware of before you can become a pro NYC pedal pusher. From having a New York bike map in your back pocket to knowing the best bike routes NYC has to offer, here is our beginner’s guide to cycling in New York City. Before you know it, you’ll be mountain biking NYC like a champ!
It’s imperative to strategize before you buy. In New York, apartment building bike rooms have waiting lists, closets do not exist, and outdoor storage means certain theft. Even if it’s in your bedroom, it’s important to know where your bike is when you’re not riding it.
2. Parked Cars Are Dangerous Too
Stay as far back from parked cars as you can, which means you’ll be riding closer to traffic. You’ll never develop a sixth sense for when a cab driver’s door could whip open and into you, so it’s best to be prepared.
3. Get a Good Helmet
Even before you buy a bicycle, it’s essential to buy a good helmet to protect your head and your brain. So what makes a good helmet? The most important factor is the fit. This means that it should sit level on your head, just above your eyebrows, and feel snug, but not too tight.
4. Ensure Everything Works
Bikes require much less maintenance than cars. But it’s important to know that everything works properly before taking your cruiser out of storage and onto the street. The tires should be full, the brakes should slow you down, and your chain should have the right amount of tension. If you don’t know how to work a wrench, your local bike shop can help get everything in order.
5. Lock It Up
Your bike WILL get stolen if you don’t have a lock. A good quality lock is either a heavy chain or a U-lock. Chains can be a lot bulkier to carry around with you then a U-lock, but they enable you to lock your wheel along with the frame and are much more flexible, allowing you to lock your ride up anywhere.
6. Find a Peaceful Place to Cycle
If you’re nervous about riding in traffic, try a quiet park or empty parking lot to hone your skills. If you plan on riding with traffic, know what routes to take before you get in the saddle seat.
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