Master your ride: bike lanes vs. greenways
Everything in New York City is complicated, even our bike lanes. There are three types: Protected (those green lanes that are blocked from moving traffic); Conventional (a lane with a white border that runs alongside moving cars); Shared (an occasional picture of bike painted in white on the pavement is supposed to remind motorists to share the road. There’s no separation from the cars).
We also have greenways -- car-free paths where you can cut loose. The Hudson River Greenway is the crème de la crème of such paths, boasting an 11-mile trek on Manhattan’s west side up from Battery Park City to Washington Heights. A less marvelous greenway runs along the East River in several sections. The northern half goes from East 125th Street down to East 63rd Street, and the southern stretch starts at East 37th Street and ends at Battery Park. NYC Bike Maps has all the details.
You got the basics down on that jalopy, and now you are ready to commit to a two-wheel love. Yes, this is a marriage. Bikes, with the proper care, can last a lifetime. First, learn the types: Cruisers are heavy, move slow, and are good for riding on beach boardwalks. Thumbs down for commuting. Hybrid bikes are a good investment for a newbie cyclists. Hybrids are a mashup of a mountain bike (thick tires and a sturdy frame) and a road bike (gears for various levels of speed and not super heavy in weight). Expect to spend $400 to $500 on a decent hybrid. If you want something even faster, and have the skills to ride around this city like a pro, get a road bike. The handlebars on a road bike, “drop,” meaning you ride around hunched over. We are getting into physics now, so just trust, you go faster on a road bike.