When bikes first began to appear in Central Park, bicycling was only permitted from midnight to 9:00 am. In 1880, the League of American Wheelmen had 360 members and would hold an annual meet every May in Central Park. At that time, bikes were unsteady and dangerous and as a result as many as 30 bikes were destroyed during this meet due to accidents. Today, due to innovations such as helmets, lights and brightly colored spandex, collisions are much rarer. During daylight hours, most of the bikes in the park are recreational in nature, people out for a leisurely trip around the drive or out riding with friends. In the early morning or after dark, you can usually spot a number of competitive bicyclists. Offering both hilly and flat terrain, Central Park provides cyclists with varying levels of difficulty.
Location: Park Drives: Circling the entire Park, the drives provide three long distance routes – 6.1 miles, 5.2 miles or 1.7 miles – or shorter distances if you cross the Park at a number of scenic locations. Cycling is prohibited on the pathways.
Rentals: Bicycles can be rented at the Loeb Boathouse parking lot at East 74th Street, daily from March through October from 10:00am to 7:00pm. You can find current rental rates and more information about bike rentals here. Or you can call – (212) 517-2233. You must leave a credit card, driver’s license or passport as a deposit. *Note: The Loeb Boathouse bicycle rental facility does not offer child seats as pictured in the photo above.
When: The Park is closed to traffic on Monday through Friday, 10:00am to 3:00pm, and 7:00pm to 7:00am, and weekends from 7:00pm Friday to 7:00am Monday. When the Park is open to traffic, a bikers’ lane is always available though it is not recommended that you use the Drives when they are open to traffic. The Park is officially closed from 1:00am to 6:00am.
FYI: The law requires that children under 14 years of age wear a helmet and bikers are asked to always ride in a counter-clockwise direction when circling the park.