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Cycle NYC

Skating in Central Park, the Rockefeller Center tree… no wonder our thoughts turn to NYC when Christmas rolls around. While shoppers may have the monopoly during the most wonderful time of the year, cyclists can get their bite of the Big Apple anytime. So ditch your shopping bags and saddle up for a tour of New York’s cycling delights, from expos to Grand Fondos and more

NYC Bike Expo
Time your visit right and you’ll catch the NYC Bike Expo: “two days of all things cycling in the heart of Manhattan”. This free event takes place on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 May and welcomes more than 10,000 cyclists and bike enthusiasts from 90 countries discussing everything from the latest duds to prepping for a sportive or competition.

Campagnolo Gran Fondo New York
The eighth annual GFNY takes place on 20 May and will see hardy athletes tackling this tough 100-mile cycle race from New York City to Bear Mountain… and back again. Riders can compete for prizes across all age categories (from 18-39 year-olds to 65-plus females/75-plus males), ride as part of a team or as part of a Him + Her partnership. The goodie bag’s a cracker. If 100 miles is 50 too many, try the GFNY Bear road race instead.

2XU New York City Triathlon
Triathletes will be limbering up for this epic swim, cycle and run around beautiful Manhattan. The urban triathlon starts with a 1.5k swim in the Hudson River (with the fast current, apparently), transitions to a 40k traffic-free ride up Hudson Parkways into the Bronx and back, and finishes with a 10k stagger/sprint across 72nd street and on into Central Park.

Five Boro Bike Tour
If you’re after something a little more low-key, the Five Boro Bike Tour brings together 32,000 cyclists for 40 blissful car-free miles around New York’s five boroughs (that’s the Bronx, Brooklyn, Jersey, Manhattan and Queens) on Sunday 6 May. All proceeds from the event go towards funding free bike education programmes, which last year taught 17,000 New Yorkers to cycle safely and confidently.

World Naked Bike Ride
Still too serious? Then try this annual bike riding event which encourages cyclists to go “as bare as you dare” as they hit the city’s streets. Doubters, take note: Time Out calls the cycling event “a very serious environmental effort, where folks from all around the world bike in their birthday suit to protest the world’s dependence on oil and other nonrenewable energy sources”. We’ll doff our cap to that.

Car Free NYC
Of course, we couldn’t complete a city guide without mention of its car-free day. Taking place on Earth Day (Sunday 22 April), Car Free NYC aims to address “critical issues facing our city, our country and our world that stem in part from having too many cars on our city’s streets”. Events (cycling and otherwise) are planned in various spots across Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens and encourages residents and tourists to choose other forms of transport for the day.

One final thought! The New York Times wrote a wonderful piece about staying safe while cycling around this beautiful city – well worth reading before getting on your bike.