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Out of the DarkImage Source: Flickr.com by Eric

Daily NYC bike commuters‘ fragile existences hang in the balance of which route they choose to take. Quick and efficient routes depend on a number of factors, including directness, traffic volume/flow, safety, time of day, and the overall nature of the neighborhood. Below, we recommend both five routes you should start taking advantage of and five routes you should drop like a bad habit. We assume that you’ve already learned that the Hudson River Park Bikeway is awesome and the Brooklyn Bridge is, well, not, and hopefully you’ve taken in our top 10 tips for biking in NYC.

Routes You Should Utilize

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Nicholas Reale, the Untapped Cities resident biking expert, tour guide for Get Up and Ride and former bike messenger, shares his Top 10 Tips for biking in NYC, if you’re looking to move from the intermediate, post Citibike stage to expert urban cycler. 

top-tips-for-biking-in-nyc-4Image Source: Flickr.com by Eric Konon

With a burning desire to elevate your NYC bike lifestyle to the next level, you’ve made the $150 investment for some endearing hunk o’junk (which you will soon christen as Betsy, or whatever) from that ex-hippie that sells bikes street-side on Avenue A. It would be incorrect to call you a “newbie,” but just the same you’re not quite the “expert” yet. Below, we detail some of the top habits and tips to get acclimated with, if you wish to make biking in NYC a daily part of your routine. We’ve intentionally excluded the obvious things like, “Wear a helmet!” and, “Get a bell!” assuming that you have a functioning brain and want to keep it that way.

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It’s summertime which means it’s time to make maximum use of your bike or your Citibike membership. Here, we’ve put together four bike routes for cyclists who are looking to discover some history along with their ride. Included in this article are a leisurely ride from Prospect Park to Brighton Beach, jumping across the East River between Williamsburg, Roosevelt Island and Manhattan, a jam-packed historical route through downtown Manhattan, and a cultural jaunt through Upper Manhattan.

1. The Leisure Lover

Grand Army Plaza-Arch-Prospect Park-Brooklyn-Untapped Cities

Where to: Northern Prospect Park along the Ocean Parkway to Brighton Beach

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IMG_0274 copy-002The author puts his guide to the test

We here at Untapped love all of DOT’s ventures, especially those pertaining to two-wheeled transportation. In our eyes, bike lanes are the bee’s knees and Citi Bike’s a triumph, never mind the latter’s losing money faster than your aunt playing slots.  We have to admit, however, that the department may have stumbled when it published the uptight and naive Bike Smart Guide. How many real New Yorkers are going to Stop at all red lights and stop signs“? Save that kind of talk for downtown Des Moines.

Though Untapped would never condone bicycle rule-breaking, we are, if nothing else, a practical gang. Temptation lurks at every traffic stop, and sooner or later even the best-bred cyclist skirts the letter of the law. So why not sin in style? Untapped proudly presents a biking guide for real New Yorkers.

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Bike Vending Machine-Brooklyn-Environmental Organization-Bicycle Co-op

The first official bike vending machine for bike repairs on the go 24/7 popped up in Brooklyn back in 2010 but we love the machine at Time’s Up because of how DIY it is! Thanks to Untapped Cities reader Sam Dolgin-Gardner who submitted these photos through our Mailbag. History buffs will note how the vending mechanism is kind of automat like. On the left, a painted sign says the air is free “aire gratis” from the air pumps attached to the machine. Also awesome: the abbreviation for machine to MACHN.

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Manifesto-Architecture-Bike-Hanger-Souce-IMThe Bike Hanger in Seoul Image Source.

Today New York cyclists use bike racks, corrals, shelters and indoor/outdoor parking lots. The question is, will these approaches be enough in coming years? In 2007 the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) expected the number of bicycle commuters to double by 2012 and triple by 2017. Instead, the number doubled by 2011 and with the influx of Citibike, we can only expect the trend to continue.

Here are six solutions from other major cities that sustain a large number of bike commuters. Could New York adopt these solutions?

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