Central Park is one of the most convenient places for New York City's cyclists to train during the week. The main loop consists of up to 6.1 miles of winding, rolling tarmac. There are a few short power-climbs, and a few brief downhills, but nothing extreme. The great thing about riding in the Park (especially in the fall, when the foliage turns) is that every now and then you’ll forget that you’re right smack in the middle of the Big Apple.
What makes riding in Central Park only a little bit risky is the universe of things you cannot control. The road is crowded, even in the early morning, so be very aware of your surroundings and respect other users. When the park is open to traffic (around rush hour), cyclists are restricted to the recreation lanes. From March to October, the park hosts bike races early in the morning on weekends. Visit the park website for more info on the park schedule and riding in Central Park.
-Mapped by Andrew Bernstein and Loren Mooney
New York, NY: Central Park
Distance: 6.02 mi
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Points of Interest
After work on a weekday, the club riders are out for countless 6-mile loops.
Tavern on the Green
Location: 40.771734, -73.977041
A fancy restaurant in the park, also a popular meeting point for cyclists.
Location: 40.767509, -73.976784
If you're entering the park from 59th St. (Central Park South), bear right onto East Drive. The first 500 meters of this road is affectionately known as "Horse-Shit Alley" by local racers for the many horses and carriages that roll through here. This section of road is also narrow, and the pavement bent and wrinkled. Be careful.
Location: 40.773132, -73.969445
Stay on East Drive for the full 6.1 mile loop.
Location: 40.775082, -73.967986
Cat Hill on East Drive just past the boat house. Look for the cat.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Location: 40.779307, -73.963652
The Metropolitan Museum on the east side is part of museum mile; the famous circular Guggenheim is about a mile north.
East Drive Hill
Location: 40.795261, -73.953223
This is the one sizable decent on the loop. It has two big switchbacks, but isn't terribly steep, nor are the turns sharp, making it manageable at high speeds. The road does get slightly narrower toward the bottom, so use caution.
The Harlem Hill
Location: 40.799029, -73.958159
The is the most challenging climb on the loop. It's fairly steep but short enough to be a power climb. The climb curves first to the left, and then to the right before cresting onto a moderate downhill.
Location: 40.777194, -73.973823
Bear left to stay on the West Drive.
Terrace Drive intersection
Location: 40.774659, -73.974981
Bear right to stay on West Drive.
Location: 40.768094, -73.982556
On a cold day, a hot cup of soup from Whole Foods is a nice post-ride treat. As you would anywhere in New York, be sure to lock up your bike.
Location: 40.764584, -73.974080
Fancy hotel, fancy public restroom! The bellmen might look at you funny, but they will let you in.
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