NYC’s west side – bike lanes done right

A week ago, a group of us set out to witness first hand – the proper way bike and pedestrian paths can be incorporated in a dense urban metropolis.

No, not Hoboken’s desperate attempt to force bicycles down everyone’s throat in a city that it just doesn’t support it. It was actually New York City, along the west side.

We drove our cars up to Fort Lee, and parked on the side of the road (no muni meters, or other draconian issues that would prevent us from visiting). We then road our bikes across the GWB, made a few turns and got onto the Hudson River Greenway – one of the most incredible, well planned escapes from city life. Nearly perfect from top to bottom. See map of the Manhattan portion of the greenway here.

26.2 miles of exhilarating views and fulfilling exercise

Amazingly – the ride we took measured exactly 26.2 miles on our bike odometer. A full marathon!

The map I made below for your reference I didn’t have the patience to plot each and every exact minute turn, so it showed a little more than 27 miles.

The ride, including stops – took us about three hours. I thought to myself “Wow! I have new found respect for those top marathon runners!” (who often hover at around 2 hours!)

Most of the bike ride (depending on how windy it is) is fairly easy. Bikers, pedestrians, skaters all harmoniously co-existed with none of problems we’d have here in Hoboken. It was quite amazing, honestly.

There were a few spots near the bridge that might be considered precarious. The steep hills down to the water presents challenges on the way down (careful breaking), and on the way up (two of the hills the bikes HAD to be walked up). And there were a few tight squeezes along the way – but overall the trip was fulfilling beyond belief – and worth a regular visit. We’ll probably do this once a month or more going forward.

It was astonishing to see how much park and open space there really was there. Even on a busy weekend, there were spots with no one on them and ball fields that were empty. And for the most part – the parks were clean, with the exception of just a few areas that might have had a homeless issue. But to us it seemed like a safe trip to take. Still, I’d recommend going in groups of two or more nonetheless.

Have you ever rode the length of the greenway?