Mountain biking and NYC- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Mountain biking and NYC

    Is it possible to live in Manhattan and still mountain bike? If so, how much of a pain is it to get to some good local riding or to get out of the city to ride if you don't have a car? Do many people mountain bike there? Just curious as I'm thinking about moving there. I was also wondering about the public transportation to some of the trails outside the city. If you have a subway pass, does that cover the cost of the trains into NJ or parks north of the city? If not, about how much does it cost to take the trains out there?
    Last edited by Locomoto; 09-27-2008 at 11:27 PM.

  2. #2

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    hi Loco,

    I relatively new to Mtn biking but i live in nyc and do a lil mtn biking locally. There are two parks ( that i know of ) in nyc specifically for mtn biking. One is Highbridge Park in Manhattan and the other is Cunningham Park in Queens. Both parks were built and are maintained by http://www.climbonline.org/ . They also have other parks out in Long island.

    Outside of NYC i have been told that there are a couple spots in NJ not too far from Manhattan that are great for mtn biking. In upstate NY there is Blue Mountian Reservation that is easily accessible by Metro North trains that leave from Grand Central Terminal. You can check out some info here www.wmba.org about Blue Mountain.

    Subway passes don't cover the cost for train heading into NJ, upstate NY or Long Island

    -Mike

  3. #3
    OnTheTrailAgain
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    Hey Loco,

    Here's a great site for you too... http://nycmtb.com/

    Forum: http://nycmtb.com/phpBB2/index.php

    Great sources for local trails, especially Highbridge as mentioned by Mike.


  4. #4
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    Subway and trains

    So do you just walk/carry your bike down to the subway and ride with it in hand? Any idea how much typical train tickets cost out to some of these riding places in NJ or north of the city?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Locomoto
    So do you just walk/carry your bike down to the subway and ride with it in hand? Any idea how much typical train tickets cost out to some of these riding places in NJ or north of the city?

    Hey Locomoto- there are over a thousand folks in NYC who trail ride their mountain bikes regularly. We've got many, many trail options from the aforementioned trails in the city (Highbridge Park in Manhattan and Cunningham Park in Queens) to the many, many great trails within 2 hours of the city. There are MANY trails accessible via public transportation, and on our NYCMTB Ride Guide, I've included directions via public transportation to a number of trails. All the Westchester County trails (the county just north of NYC) are easily accessed from public transportaiton, and a number of Long Island and New Jersey trails are as well. A bike pass for the Long Island Railroad and the Metro North Railway costs $5 and is good for life, all you have to do then is purchase your train ticket (typically $12-20 round trip). You can take your bike on the NYC Subway, and most times it's not a problem at all, but you'll get dirty looks if you try to do it during rush hour.

    In addition to public transportation, there are a bunch of us with cars who ride all the time and post on NYCMTB.com if we have extra space in the car. There's also the NYC Mountain Bikers Meetup group on meetup.com that puts together primarily beginner and intermediate rides.

    Definitely bring your bike if you move here. We've got a wealth of trails in the surrounding area, and some of the trails, like Blue Mountain up in Westchester County, are among the best trails in the country!
    Former New Yorker, now in Fort Collins
    http://www.nycmtb.com

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbogner
    Hey Locomoto- there are over a thousand folks in NYC who trail ride their mountain bikes regularly. We've got many, many trail options from the aforementioned trails in the city (Highbridge Park in Manhattan and Cunningham Park in Queens) to the many, many great trails within 2 hours of the city. There are MANY trails accessible via public transportation, and on our NYCMTB Ride Guide, I've included directions via public transportation to a number of trails. All the Westchester County trails (the county just north of NYC) are easily accessed from public transportaiton, and a number of Long Island and New Jersey trails are as well. A bike pass for the Long Island Railroad and the Metro North Railway costs $5 and is good for life, all you have to do then is purchase your train ticket (typically $12-20 round trip). You can take your bike on the NYC Subway, and most times it's not a problem at all, but you'll get dirty looks if you try to do it during rush hour.

    In addition to public transportation, there are a bunch of us with cars who ride all the time and post on NYCMTB.com if we have extra space in the car. There's also the NYC Mountain Bikers Meetup group on meetup.com that puts together primarily beginner and intermediate rides.

    Definitely bring your bike if you move here. We've got a wealth of trails in the surrounding area, and some of the trails, like Blue Mountain up in Westchester County, are among the best trails in the country!
    Thanks for the very insightful response, I really appreciate it! It's not set in stone yet, but I'm thinking pretty seriously about moving to the city and one concern I had was about being able to get out on my bike and free from the concrete when I needed a brake. Sounds like that's not a problem and there are pretty reasonable biking options, especially considering living in such an urban environment. Who would've thought you could live in Manhattan and be a regular mountain biker?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbogner
    Hey Locomoto- there are over a thousand folks in NYC who trail ride their mountain bikes regularly. We've got many, many trail options from the aforementioned trails in the city (Highbridge Park in Manhattan and Cunningham Park in Queens) to the many, many great trails within 2 hours of the city. There are MANY trails accessible via public transportation, and on our NYCMTB Ride Guide, I've included directions via public transportation to a number of trails. All the Westchester County trails (the county just north of NYC) are easily accessed from public transportaiton, and a number of Long Island and New Jersey trails are as well. A bike pass for the Long Island Railroad and the Metro North Railway costs $5 and is good for life, all you have to do then is purchase your train ticket (typically $12-20 round trip). You can take your bike on the NYC Subway, and most times it's not a problem at all, but you'll get dirty looks if you try to do it during rush hour.

    In addition to public transportation, there are a bunch of us with cars who ride all the time and post on NYCMTB.com if we have extra space in the car. There's also the NYC Mountain Bikers Meetup group on meetup.com that puts together primarily beginner and intermediate rides.

    Definitely bring your bike if you move here. We've got a wealth of trails in the surrounding area, and some of the trails, like Blue Mountain up in Westchester County, are among the best trails in the country!
    Hey J,

    Are bikes still allowed on the Metro North?
    I thought for some reason they stopped allowing them?

    2G

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2ndgen
    Hey J,

    Are bikes still allowed on the Metro North?
    I thought for some reason they stopped allowing them?

    2G
    Metro North still allows bikes on their trains with the $5 bike permit mentioned by J. I know on the weekends they have specific "bike trains" where they allow as many ppl with bikes on the train.

    -Mike

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeks
    Metro North still allows bikes on their trains with the $5 bike permit mentioned by J. I know on the weekends they have specific "bike trains" where they allow as many ppl with bikes on the train.

    -Mike
    Thanks Mike.
    Maybe I heard wrong.

    I'm going to have to snag one (a permit) up.



    Let me do some research...

    Ahhh! Here it is!

    http://www.mta.info/mnr/html/getaways/bikerule.htm



    This was probably my confusion:

    "Conditions on use of Bicycle Access Permit

    Customers who wish to bring their bicycles onto Metro-North trains shall display a valid permit. Permit holders shall be governed by the following conditions.

    a. Weekdays

    i. Outbound from Grand Central Terminal

    Bicycles will not be permitted on trains scheduled to depart from Grand Central Terminal between 7 AM and 9 AM, 3:01 PM and 8:15 and connecting trains. On the Friday after Thanksgiving and the week between Christmas and New Year's Day, bicycles will not be permitted on trains scheduled to depart from Grand Central Terminal between 7 AM and 12 Noon and 3 PM and 8:30 PM and connecting trains.

    ii. Inbound to Grand Central Terminal

    Bicycles will not be permitted on trains scheduled to arrive in Grand Central Terminal between 5 AM and 10 AM, 4 PM and 8 PM, and connecting trains. On the Friday after Thanksgiving and the week between Christmas and New Year's Day bicycles will not be permitted on trains scheduled to arrive in Grand Central Terminal between 5:00 AM and 12 noon, 4 PM and 8:00 PM, and connecting trains.

    b. Holidays and Holiday Eves

    No bicycles will be carried on New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Mother's Day. Eve of Rosh Hashanah, Eve of Yom Kippur, Eve of Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day. In addition, no bicycles will be permitted on trains scheduled to depart Grand Central Terminal between 12 noon and 8:30 PM on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, the day or weekend before Independence Day, and the Friday before Labor day Weekend, including connecting trains.

    c. Additional Restriction

    Metro-North reserves the right to designate additional trains where bicycles will not be permitted. In addition, train crews may bar bicycles from trains if the bicycles cannot be carried because of conditions which interfere with the safety and comfort of other customers, including occasions of heavy ridership or equipment shortages. Consequently, the carriage of bicycles on a given train or for a continuous journey on connecting trains cannot be guaranteed.

    d. Occupancy Limitations i. On weekdays two (2) bicycles will be permitted per car with a maximum of four (4) bicycles per train. Bicycles shall be placed in the two rear cars of inbound trains or the two front cars of outbound trains unless otherwise directed by train crew. Groups of more than four (4) bicyclists traveling together must make advance arrangements with Metro-North for carriage.

    ii. On weekends the maximum number of bicycles permitted on trains is eight (8). In addition, on weekends certain trains are designated as "Bicycle Trains" and noted in the timetable with a bicycle symbol, these trains may carry more than the permitted number of bicycles. e. Bicycle storage

    Times & Days Bikes not allowed on Trains: Times refer to arrivals / departures at Western Terminals

    a. Weekdays

    (1) Weekday Morning Rush Hours - 6am - 10am (Westbound Arrivals)

    (2) Weekday Evening Rush Hours 3pm - 8pm ( Eastbound Departures)

    b. Weekends:

    (1) Saturdays:

    7am - 10am Westbound arrivals

    4pm - 6pm Eastbound departures

    (2) Sundays:

    5pm - 8pm Westbound arrivals

    10pm - Midnight Eastbound departures

    c. Seasonal:

    (1) Sundays Montauk Westbound arrivals 6pm -10pm

    (2) Fridays Montauk Eastbound departures 3pm - 9pm

    (3) Saturdays Montauk Eastbound and Westbound

    d. Days not allowed

    i. New Years Eve, New Years Day, St. Patrick's Day, Mothers Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Memorial Day and the Friday before, Independence Day and the Friday before, Eve of Rosh Hashanah, Eve of Yom Kippur, Labor Day and the Friday before, Columbus Day, Eve of Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Day, Friday after Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day.
    "

  10. #10

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    Yeah with all those restrictions its easy to think they don't allow bikes at all. I take the lirr with my bike daily. They allow me to bring the bike on non-peak trains only. I've never had a conductor give me any issues about my bike on the train.

    I was able to get my bike permit @ Penn Station @ the ticket counter. I'm not sure If you can do the same @ Grand Central.

    -Mike

  11. #11
    OnTheTrailAgain
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeks
    Yeah with all those restrictions its easy to think they don't allow bikes at all. I take the lirr with my bike daily. They allow me to bring the bike on non-peak trains only. I've never had a conductor give me any issues about my bike on the train.

    I was able to get my bike permit @ Penn Station @ the ticket counter. I'm not sure If you can do the same @ Grand Central.

    -Mike
    When I had my bike on the Metro North about 15 years ago, I was told that I had to mail in for one. Supposedly now, their available at any ticket counter. I'm going to see if I can pick one up today.


  12. #12
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    The ticket counter at Grand Central with bike permits is #26, I think. If you're standing at the information booth in the middle of GCT looking south toward Vanderbilt Hall and Park Ave, it's the one on the right hand corner of the passageway to Vanderbilt Hall.

    You can stand in any line, they'll just tell you that you have to go to that one to get the permit.
    Former New Yorker, now in Fort Collins
    http://www.nycmtb.com

  13. #13
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    BTW, back in my carless days, I also had success taking NJ Transit busses out of Port Authority on weekend days. The big 55 passenger busses have cargo room under the busses with plenty of room for bikes (few people use the cargo bays). You can get close to a number of ride locations that way, like the Cannonball Trail to Skyline Drive, and Wawayanda...
    Former New Yorker, now in Fort Collins
    http://www.nycmtb.com

  14. #14
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    Mtn biking near NYC is GREAT!!

    Just got back today from a day at Blue Mtn less than an hour away by beautiful train ride. To live in Manhattan and have a place like that to go for a day makes me feel quite lucky. The trails there are a masterpiece, and I've ridden lots of trails around the country.

    Almost, but not quite as big as Blue Mt are Sprain Ridge and Graham Hills, (also in Westchester) which are also close to train stops. Also love heading to Harthorne/Huber woods in NJ with a chance to get back to the city on a magnificent ferry ride. Add Stillwell Woods on Long Island and Mianus Park in CT (both also near train stops) and your mtn biking itch will easily be scratched.

  15. #15
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    not that anyone would check this I"m sure, but watch out if you're a big wheel kinda rider...

    from the mta website:
    Bicycle. A single-seat, human powered, two wheeled vehicle with a wheel diameter not in excess of 27 inches
    another vote for how easy it is to ride when you live in Manhattan - I moved there 3 years back and bought a road bike, then I discovered the nycmtb site, NYC trails, Westchester trails, dirt jumps and downhill......

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