Our Favorite Unique NYC Guide Books

So you’ve already been to the Top of the Rock, sailed to the Statue of Liberty, and moseyed around the Met. Wondering what’s left to do in New York? Instead of turning to the typical guide book that will recommend the same ol’ tourist traps, why not crack open a more unusual guide? Below, we’ve listed some of our favorite offbeat NYC guide books that will turn your trip from typical to unique.

Secret New York: An Unusual Guide by T.M. Rives

If you’re looking for unusual activities to do around the city, Secret New York may be the guide book for you. Odds are you haven’t yet deciphered ancient riddles off of tombstones or tried to visit some of New York’s forbidden islands. These are only two of the many quirky activities to choose from within Secret New York’s 400 pages. With this guide, you’ll never be bored.

Off the Beaten (Subway) Track by Suzanne Reisman

It’s hard to find a NYC guide book that isn’t Manhattan-centric. Often, if they do mention attractions in the outer boroughs, they always list the same one or two things to see. Although Off the Beaten (Subway) Track, does have a hefty section of less-visited Manhattan attractions, it also supplements it with a few decently stocked lists of cool sites to see in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and even Staten Island. We can bet that you haven’t yet been to the Poppenhusen Institute or the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument. See those sites and more with Off the Beaten (Subway) Track as your guide.

NYC Bouldering by Gaz Leah

New York City probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think of extreme sports; however, reading NYC Bouldering by Gaz Leah will change your mind. Not only does this guide point out the city’s nearly hidden rock climbing boulders, it also explains the history tied to these sites. After rock climbing in Central Park, Fort Tryon, and Inwood Park, you’ll view New York City as more than a concrete jungle.

Quiet New York by Siobhan Wall

Keeping with the theme of breaking NYC stereotypes, Quiet New York will reveal a calmer side of NYC that you didn’t know existed. Discover a mix of gardens, cafes, museums, and cultural centers that will allow you to escape from the bustle of city life. The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum in Upper Manhattan, Dred Scott Bird Sanctuary in the Bronx, and Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn are among the places featured in this surprisingly dense book of quiet spots. Be sure to check it out if Times Square has got your head spinning.

Silver-Wheeled City: New York by Bicycle & Camera by Kevin Dann

Our list of unique NYC guide books would be incomplete without mentioning Silver-Wheeled City: New York by Bicycle & Camera. Written by our very own tour guide, Dr. Kevin Dann, Silver-Wheeled City leads readers through nine highly descriptive, guided explorations through New York that all can be done by bike. By the end of your trip, you’ll have a deeper appreciation of both New York City and your bicycle.

Experience all that New York City has to offer, and make it easier on yourself by stopping in to rent a bike with Unlimited Biking.

 

LGBTQ+ History Highlights

The Village may be the first area that comes to mind when you think of LGBTQ+ culture in NYC, but Central Park has also played a significant role in the city’s LGBTQ+’s history. In fact, in the 1970s, the first Gay Pride marches then called the Christopher Street Liberation Day March, ended it’s annual celebration at the Park’s Sheep Meadow. But that’s not where Central Park’s connection with the gay community ends. Hop on a bike and venture further into Central Park with us as we explore the following notable LGBTQ+-related sites.

Bethesda Fountain

Bethesda Fountain, made iconic by the graceful sculpture of an angel that resides high above the water, is one of the Park’s most known sites. However, it isn’t as widely known that Emma Stebbins, the fountain’s sculptor, modeled the angel after her lover Charlotte Saunders Cushman. Cushman herself is noteworthy, not only for being an artist’s muse, but also for her career as a stage actress. During her time she was known for giving masterful performances in both men’s and women’s roles and she even gained the admiration of President Abraham Lincoln.

Hans Christian Andersen Monument

A further north into the Park, nestled in the shrubs next to a large pond where children sail model boats, you’ll find a bronze statue of the beloved Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen. Andersen, the creator of so many popular, but tragic, fairy tales, had an equally tragic love life, with many of his infatuations with women and men going unrequited. Although Andersen’s letters and diaries suggest that he was bisexual, the author remained celibate throughout his life. Some sources like to point to Andersen’s tale of The Little Mermaid as a reflection of the disappointments in his love life. Like how the mermaid was unable to be with her land-bound prince in Andersen’s original tale, neither was Andersen able to be with the people he fell in love with.

Now venture further into the city with us to discover more NYC sites that have made LGBTQ+ history. Keep in mind that this isn’t your usual sightseeing list: While Stonewall Bar and the gay-friendly neighborhoods of Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen are important to NYC LGBTQ+ history and culture, today we’re going to ride down a less explored path and discover a few surprising LGBTQ+ cultural sites in New York City.

Julius’ Bar

No LGBTQ+ landmark list would be complete without mentioning Stonewall Inn, which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its famed uprising this year. But did you know that merely a block away from Stonewall sits the New York City’s oldest gay bar? Established in 1867, this bar is called Julius’, but it wasn’t always a LGBTQ+ friendly place. For decades gay patrons of Julius’ faced harassment and expulsion from the bar by the bartenders, who refused to let gay enjoy their drinks in peace. This changed in 1966 when three members of the Mattachine Society, one of the country’s oldest gay rights organizations, staged a ‘Sip-In’ at Julius’. The men sued the bar for denying them service on the grounds that they had the right to peaceably assemble in bars. Their victory in court led to the legalization of gay bars.

Christopher Street Pier

A quick bike ride away from Julius’ is a set of piers on the Hudson River waterfront collectively called the Christopher Street Pier. Since the 1940s, the Christopher Street Pier, also referred to as Gay Pier, has been an important part of the LGBTQ+ social scene, especially for young gay black and Latino men. Aside from still being a popular meetup spot, today the pier also features a memorial to the people who lost their lives in the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting.

Carnegie Hall’s Studio Towers

From 1897 until 2010, the Studio Towers apartments on top of Carnegie Hall were home to some of the most talented LGBTQ+ artists in the city. Over the years Studio Towers residents included actor Marlon Brando, photographer Bill Cunningham, dancer Isadora Duncan, and composers Leonard Bernstein and Don Shirley. According to the NYC LGBT Historic Site Project, Bernstein and Shirley were the only residents to perform solo concerts at Carnegie Hall during their careers. Unfortunately, the days of living above Carnegie Hall are no more, as the Studio Towers were converted into classroom and rehearsal space. But as you stop by Carnegie Hall, look up and make a guess at how much these artists must have paid in rent.

The Plaza Hotel

The Plaza Hotel may be the most surprising inclusion on this list of NYC LGBTQ+ cultural landmarks, but the famous upscale hotel has been a quiet friend to the gay community since the early twentieth century. The Plaza’s Oak Room served as a discreet meeting place for well-to-do gay businessmen who wanted to avoid the risk of being arrested during the raids that commonly occurred at other bars with gay patrons around the city. In addition to this, in 1966 the Plaza also was the venue of openly gay writer Truman Capote’s legendary Black and White Ball, which was described as the “pinnacle of New York’s social history.” The Plaza Hotel made recent history again when it hosted the first gay wedding in New York in 2013.

Want to visit these sites as well as the other LGBTQ+ NYC landmarks we’ve mentioned?

Rent out a bike for the day from any one of our Unlimited Biking store locations and enjoy a day of easy traveling.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas for The Cyclist Dad

Finding a gift for Father’s Day can be tough, but finding a gift for a dad that loves cycling can be a whole other challenge. What’s left to get the dad who already has multiple pairs of bike shorts, his own custom bike seat, and even a silk bicycle tie (to show off his love of cycling while he’s at the office, of course)? If finding a gift for dad has your gears spinning in place, allow the team at Unlimited Biking to offer some suggestions. This Father’s Day, why not take dad on an Unlimited Biking tour?

1. Central Park Bike Tour

Nothing says family fun like biking Central Park. On a two-hour bike tour of the 800-acre park, you and dad will see all the attractions that have made Central Park the premier destination for families exploring New York City. You will see sights such as the movie-famous Bow Bridge, the ancient Egyptian Cleopatra’s Needle, and the aptly named Sheep’s Meadow. Dad will have a blast learning the stories behind all these famous landmarks while getting a quick workout pedaling through the park.

2. Brooklyn Bridge Bike Tour

It’s one thing taking a cab over the Brooklyn Bridge, but taking a two-hour tour of this New York City icon on a bike will give dad an experience he’ll never forget. Ride across the 135 year-old bridge with its limestone and granite towers and wooden planks while one of our expert tour guides shares the daring history behind this nineteenth century engineering feat. After this tour, neither you nor dad will view the Brooklyn Bridge in the same way.

3. Sensational Park and Soul Bike Tour

On this five-and-a-half-hour tour, you and dad will ride through Central Park’s +800 acres and then  experience a real live gospel church service and sample soul food in Harlem. As a bonus, your tour guide will show you a few hidden spots along the route that will be sure to impress dad.

4. The Surprising Bronx Tour

For the cyclist dad that likes to venture off the beaten path, we have the Surprising Bronx Bike Tour. During this seven-hour tour, you, dad, and our tour guide will visit Yankee Stadium, Edgar Allan Poe’s Bronx cottage, as well as the neighborhood of Belmont, NYC’s last true Little Italy. Dad will return to the office on Monday with newfound street cred and a unique experience he’ll be sure to brag about to his buddies.

And for those dads that like to do their own thing, join us for an All Day Bike Rental from any of our store locations for an adventure around New York that you both will remember!

(Re)introducing eBikes

Imagine it being your last day in New York, and you’ve saved one of the city’s best sites, Central Park, for last. But after spending most of your trip pounding the pavement with your two feet, the idea of walking 843 more acres seems a bit daunting. Cycling through the park seems like a better option but you aren’t entirely sure that once you make it to the top of the park you’ll have enough energy to make your way back down. Instead of hopping on a normal bike and hoping your legs don’t give out, opt for one of Unlimited Biking’s eBikes. An eBike will save your trip by saving you time and energy.

Unlimited Biking has a fleet of brand-new Cannondale NEO electric bikes, which are pedal assist bikes with a battery that allows riders to cycle at speeds up to 20 miles per hour. With the average cyclist on a traditional bike usually reaching up to 10 miles per hour, that’s quite a difference, and for someone with limited time to visit all sites in New York that difference can be huge.

To be clear, riding an eBike doesn’t mean that you won’t be exerting any energy at all. After all, the battery only works while you are pedaling. But this pedal-assistance can be a significant boost for someone who wants to get on a bike but doesn’t think they can keep up with the likes of Gino Bartali or Miguel Indurain, or, more relatably, for someone who wants to get on a bike but their knees and leg muscles do not work as well as they did 20 years ago. With an eBike, your options are no longer limited to either walking or full-out cycling; an eBike serves as the perfect in-between as you go between the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, or anywhere else in the city.
Curious how much of NYC you can cover in a few hours on an e-bike?

Step into any of Unlimited Biking’s locations today.

Best Springtime Biking Spots in NYC!

Spring is a magical time in New York City. Layers are getting lighter, flowers are blooming, and New Yorkers are coming out of their cozy hibernation in their 400 square foot apartments! Truly a lovely sight. 

The best part about the weather getting warmer is the ability to explore the many beautiful parts of the city forgotten momentarily during the brutal winter. And what better way to quickly travel from borough to borough in this gorgeous weather? Biking, of course!

The possibilities are endless. In Central Park alone, our bike tour covers over 30 attractions! These must-see locations are certainly not limited to this list, but here are a few of our favorite spring destinations to see on bike in NYC.

Cherry Hill – Central Park

At the top of our list is Cherry Hill located in the southern region of Central Park. Cherry Hill is a beautiful picnic and lounge spot year-round, but people flock to see the freshly bloomed cherry blossoms in the Springtime. Just make sure to take your allergy medicine because the pollen is nothing to mess with!

Shakespeare Garden – Central Park

Another Central Park must-see in the Springtime is the Shakespeare Garden, tucked away in the south-central region of the park, not too far from Cherry Hill. We highly recommend visiting Shakespeare Garden this season while the flowers are in full bloom!

Hudson River Greenway

Whoever you may ask about where to bike in the city, Hudson River greenway is always at the top of the list. With two designated bike lanes, you can enjoy a leisurely ride along the water, enjoying an unbelievable Springtime view of the waters and city landscape.

South Street Seaport

South Street Seaport is a must-visit destination in the Springtime. With the cool breeze coming from the waters, the bustling energy from the boardwalk markets and a gorgeous view of the Brooklyn Bridge, you do not want to miss out on this location.

Brooklyn Bridge

You can tell we are really into scenic waterfront rides, but reasonably so! Brooklyn Bridge is a great biking destination for both tourists and residents. Crossing over to the Brooklyn side of the Bridge leads you to DUMBO, a fun and trendy neighborhood with lots to see and do including Springtime art galleries, food festivals, and a gorgeous view of Manhattan across the water.

Our locations:

56 W 56th Street New York, NY 10019

346 W 57th Street New York, NY 10019

Pier 78 455 12th Avenue New York, NY 10019

111 W. 110th Street New York, NY 10026

38 Park Row New York, NY 10038

110 South Street New York, NY 10038

How to Burn More Calories While Biking

Summer is around the corner and suddenly, binge watching Friends on Netflix and scarfing down family-sized bags of Doritos in a single serving doesn’t seem as good of an idea as it did in the cold months of Winter. Well, have no fear because we have the perfect solution to help cut out some of those extra calories without the dread of actually going to the gym. Although we do love our Doritos (and let’s be real, Nacho Cheese is the best flavor), taking care of our health goes beyond physical appearance. Exercising regularly strengthens the cardiovascular system, speeds up metabolism, and greatly reduces the risk of developing certain types of diseases such as cancer and diabetes.

So, you’re probably thinking, what is this “magic” solution you guys are trying to propose here? It definitely isn’t magic, but bike riding is fun, affordable, and accessible to all ages!

That’s right! What if I told you that burning hundreds of calories could be fun and exciting? And could be done practically anywhere! Central Park? It’s gorgeous in the summertime. Brooklyn Bridge? Absolutely. That creepy, abandoned playground in your neighborhood? Sure, why not!

The key to burning the most calories while bike riding is to switch up the intensity throughout your workout. High-intensity interval training has been proven to maximize your calorie burn in a shorter amount of time. So, try alternating between your comfortable riding speed to a faster, more challenging speed in order to get your heart rate up and down. For example, say your average riding speed is about 12 mph. In a high-intensity interval bike ride, you would ride at 12 mph for one minute and then raise the intensity to 15 mph for 30 seconds. After 30 seconds, drop your speed back to 12 mph for another minute and repeat for 5-10 minutes. You can track your speed using a portable speedometer or download one of the many apps available on your phone! As you build your endurance, gradually increase the intensity of your training, as well.

Another way to burn more calories when outdoor biking is by incorporating inclines in your ride. Rather than only riding on a flat terrain, challenge yourself with some steep, uphill inclines in order to raise that heart rate and burn more calories. Riding uphill can be a bit of a challenge for some, so we recommend starting off by conditioning yourself with smaller hills and working your way up to the mountains! You would be surprised how quickly your body can adapt to the training!

Outdoor cycling is a great workout, overall, to burn calories, lose weight, and even build muscle in your lower body. The best part of outdoor cycling is being able to sightsee the world around you as you ride along. The adventure in the ride almost makes you forget that you’re actually exercising!

Not sure if biking is right for you? Here at Unlimited Biking, we have countless locations where you can rent Cannondale bikes, one of the best names in the bike industry, for a short ride to see if outdoor biking is a right fit.

So don’t hesitate! Visit our website and try it out today. You never know, you might just be the next Lance Armstrong

Our locations:

56 W 56th Street New York, NY 10019

346 W 57th Street New York, NY 10019

Pier 78 455 12th Avenue New York, NY 10019

111 W. 110th Street New York, NY 10026

38 Park Row New York, NY 10038

110 South Street New York, NY 10038

Facts about the Golden Gate Bridge

Today we would like to present to you some interesting facts about one of the most famous bridges in the world – the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. It’s not a secret anymore, our new store in San Francisco is open and that’s why you should know a few interesting facts before you cycle the bridge. Let’s start.

1993 was the year in which the construction finally began: After a long time of setbacks and fundraising, Strauss and his team finally broke ground on the bridge on January 5, 1933. It was a big event with a parade to Crissy Field. At least 100,000 people attended the celebration.

And we also found out that the Golden Gate Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge in New York have something in common. Its cables were made by the same company that built the Brooklyn Bridge. Strauss needed cables that would be strong enough to support the structure of the bridge and bend 27 feet laterally in the Gate’s high winds. So he turned to the experts: Roebling’s Sons Co. – they made the cables for the Brooklyn Bridge 52 years earlier and knew exactly what to do.

Safety was super important! Strauss spent a ton of money on safety. On average one person was killed per million dollars spent on a big project. But Strauss wanted to beat those numbers and wanted all workers to wear glare-free goggles, use hand and face cream to protect the skin from the high winds and go on special diets that should fend off dizziness. They also installed a net under the bridge that cost $130,000. It helped to speed constructions and gave the workers a feeling of safety. The net was an awesome idea, it saved 19 men who otherwise would have plummeted into to water below.

The colors of the bridge should be original carbon gray, aluminum or black and the U.S. Navy wanted black with yellow stripes. But at the end, Irving Morrow (Consulting architect and responsible for the bridge’s Art Deco look) didn’t want any of those colors. Of course, the bridge was instead painted international orange, because it fits in better with the surroundings and it offers excellent visibility in San Francisco’s legendary fog.

After 4 years of contractions, the opening was big. The people celebrate it for a whole week. The Golden Gate Bridge Fiesta lasted from May 27 to June 2. Opening day was “Pedestrian Day” and 15,000 people an hour went through the turnstiles, each paying 25 cents to cross. Vendors set up along the roadway sold an estimated 50,000 Hot Dogs. At noon on May 28, FDR pressed a telegraph key in the White House that announced the bridge’s opening to the entire world, and at 3 p.m. a fleet of 42 Navy ships sailed under the bridge; the day was capped off by a fireworks display at 10 p.m.

And now the question is how much does such a bridge weigh? When the bridge opened in 1937, the weight of the bridge along with its anchorages and approaches was 894, 500 tons. Re-decking in 1986 reduced the total weight to 887,000 tons.

Now you have all the background information and you’re ready to bike the Golden Gate Bridge with Unlimited Biking.

See ya in SanFran!

#unlimitedbiking #bike #sport #SF #usa #experience #fun #tours #E-Bikes #SanFrancisco #bikewithusinSF #SanFran

San Francisco: Tips to cycle in San Fran

San Francisco is home to a little bit of everything. Whether you’re a first time visitor or a long-time local, San Francisco’s Golden Gates welcome all. The best way to see San Francisco’s best side is to use a bike. Truly. With the huge bike culture and bike lances criss-crossing every neighborhood, it’s by far the greatest and most fun way to commute. And now you get all the tips you should know before biking in SF.

First of all you should definitely know the rules on the road. Stop at stop signs and lights, yield to pedestrians, front and rear lights required at night, sidewalks are for pedestrians and kids on bikes and you can ride in the middle of a lane if you need to.

A good lock is everything. If you’d like to discover SF with your bike you really need a good bike lock, because bike theft is prevalent in SF. Cut down your chances by getting a solid U-lock. And don’t forget: Always lock your bike to the frame, not to the wheel. Nothing worse than seeing a well-locked wheel sitting frameless on the sidewalk.

Be Mindful. Locals love that visitor appreciate the City by the Bay and all its various delights. But local cyclists, don’t love the fact that tourists on the bikes are often guilty of stopping in the bike lanes to snap photos. Especially around popular spots like the Golden Gate Bridge. So always remember to pull aside and stay right if you’re on a sightseeing ride and want to take pictures. Don’t stop too abrupt.

Let’s talk about public transport. All riders can bring their bikes on the MUNI buses, BART subway trains and Caltrains. Bikes are not allowed on the MUNI Light Rail, the historic streetcars or the cable cars.

The helmet discussion. Based on the slogan “helmet hair, don’t care!” you should always wear a helmet. While California laws mandate that only people under 18 must wear a helmet at all times, it is highly recommended that every rider does.

Now you know all the tips. And with a little pre-ride planning and attention to basic rules, cycling in San Francisco can be the best way to explore this beautiful city with its iconic spots! 

#unlimitedbiking #bike #sport #SF #usa #experience #fun #tours #E-Bikes #SanFrancisco #bikewithusinSF

Ride an E-Bike: All the benefits

There are many reasons, why you should ride an E-Bike. Much people think that an E-Bike is just for old people but this is nonsense! An electric bike is so much fun and for people of all ages. Besides the extra boost, which you get with an E-Bike there are also other main reasons why you should use them. So read on!

First point is the physical health. This sounds weird, but no. It’s easy to explain: When you’re unhealthy, you end up spending a lot of time sick. And one of the reasons people get sick is because they have a lack of physical activity in their everyday life. By taking a bike or an electric bike to ride to work or school you’re getting the exercise you need to be healthy. And with an electric bike rather than a standard bike you won’t have to worry about showing up sweaty and disheveled. And it’s often a time saver. Use the bike lane to avoid the bumper-to-bumper traffic. Another thing is that you save money, because you don’t need to refuel your car so often.

Oh by the way, there is another good reason besides the savings on fuel. Actually you don’t have to worry about a parking spot anymore. The times where you accidentally park somewhere you weren’t supposed to or your meter runs out are over. With an E-Bike you only need a bike lock and a sturdy bike rack. And you can also save money here.

The next argument on our list is that you don’t need a gym membership. We all know the struggle is real – “should I go to the gym or maybe tomorrow or never?”. Yes this is the daily fight you may have with yourself, but with an E-Bike you can integrate the exercise in your everyday life. As we mentioned before, ride to work or school or to do the groceries shopping for example.

E-Bikes are good for the environment. This is another main reason, why you should use bikes or E-Bikes. Reducing carbon footprints and adopting a green lifestyle! An E-Bike reduces the overall pollution contributed by motor vehicles.

Curious? 

Check out our brand new E-Bike here: Click here!

 

Unlimited Biking

56 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

(212) 749-4444

#unlimitedbiking #bike #sport #centralpark #newyork #usa #experience #fun #tours #E-Bikes #eBikes

Ride and Rose: BIKE TOUR

Ride and Rose is the name of one of our guided and private bike tour through the famous Central Park. This is an intimate private bike tour around the Park featuring attractions such as the Bow Bridge, which is like a Victorian confection reflected in the waters of Central Park’s Lake.  In real life the Bridge has been a magnificent setting in films such as Manhattan, The Way We Were and Keeping the Faith. You can also see the Bethesda Angle and the Terrace. It is one of the most well known fountains in the world, and the statue at its center was the only sculpture to have been commissioned as a part of Central Park’s original design. The terrace is also a popular movie spot. But you could also explore the famous Strawberry Fields. Strawberry Fields is a living memorial to the world-famous singer, songwriter and peace activist, John Lennon. The next stop on our tour will be the beautiful Belvedere Castle. Belvedere Castle is a folly in the park. It contains exhibit rooms and an observation deck, and since 1919, the folly has also been the location of the official Central Park weather station. You can explore all these things on our Ride and Rose tour. Our tour guide will take you into the nooks and crannies of the Central Park that you wouldn’t be able to find on your own. The tour will end at Gapstow Bridge, where a glass sparkling Rose will await your arrival. Check out this wonderful tour.

Book your guided tour now on our website: Click here!

Unlimited Biking

56 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019
(212) 749-4444

#unlimitedbiking #bike #sport #centralpark #newyork #usa #experience #fun #tours #sightseeing #ride’n’rose #park #nature #biking #landscape #view #happy #rose #guidedtour