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Cycling across the George Washington Bridge

Cycling across the George Washington Bridge

Cycling across the George Washington Bridge

News flash: The Port Authority of NYNJ has committed to expanding and improving the bicycle lane on the GWB bridge. Though it won't be completed until 2024, we're still very excited. Full story here. 

But for those new to the New York cycling scene may I encourage you to explore the great lands that exist beyond the George Washington Bridge. Central Park loops aren’t your only option, in fact you could go all the way to Canada on one bike path from NYC should you so desire. It’s called 9W and here’s how you get there and what you should know before you embark:


HOW TO GET THERE


First off: directions. There are a few ways to get to the George Washington Bridge.

Finding your way to the GWB: 

Looking out over the Hudson from the bike path on the bridge. Photo by Camille Aussourd.

Looking out over the Hudson from the bike path on the bridge. Photo by Camille Aussourd.

Entrance Suggestion #1

Google Maps will suggest you take the West Side Highway/Hudson River Greenway all the way up to 184th and then backtrack to the bicycle path entrance at Cabrini/177th. This would work if you’d like to stay on the Greenway as long as possible. It’s slightly longer and a bit more cumbersome (exit ramps) then

 

Entrance Suggestion #2 

Hop on Riverside Drive once you hit the Upper West Side. It’s beautiful, relatively low on traffic, and will bring you to 165th. There you’ll turn right, head up the hill, and then hang a left at Fort Washington.  Then at 177th you can turn left and hit the entrance at Cabrini there.

 

Once you’re on the bridge, crossing it is pretty straightforward (there’s only one path!) but when you get off you have another set of options.

The George Washington Bridge

The George Washington Bridge

Signs are posted along 9W to help you find your way

Signs are posted along 9W to help you find your way

Route options once you've crossed the bridge:

Route Option 1:

River Road is the more beautiful and hillier option. It’s also car-free. To get there you make a left and ride on the sidewalk as you head down a steep hill to access the Palisades Park entrance. Once you enter the park, the road will take you back North where, ultimately you hit 9W

 

Route Option 2:

9W is the more direct, full of cars option. Though, since so many cyclists are out there on weekends, cars are aware and prepared to share the road. 9W is a designated bicycle route and, if you continue to follow it heads all the way up to Canada! 9W is simply a right turn at the bottom of the bridge. It’s well marked at the slight turns required but generally speaking… you just head North!

Group shot from the OutdoorFest 2014 offMetro bike ride to the Palisades Park

Group shot from the OutdoorFest 2014 offMetro bike ride to the Palisades Park


WHERE TO STOP ON YOUR RIDE


Especially after hours on a bike, it’s great to treat yourself to something other than shotblocks or GU. There are a few places with excellent food and coffee along the route


9W Market:

About 12 miles North of the bridge, the aptly named 9W Market has amazing food great customer service and a bathroom available for cyclists to use.


Bunbury’s Café:

If you’re looking to add a few more miles, Piermont is a cute town with a few solid options.  Located in the center of Piermont, this café is setup for cyclists on the weekend with bike parking out front and carb heavy treats like muffins and scones. This is a great midpoint to refuel before heading back.


Strictly Bicycles

If you want to get the majority of your ride done before indulging. Strictly Bicycles is in Fort Lee right before you get back on the bridge to head home. They have an espresso bar, outdoor seating and bike parking. It’s a great place to hang out if you’re not quite ready to head back into the city after your morning out.

Enjoy a morning escape, fresh air, trees and of course biking! 

Enjoy a morning escape, fresh air, trees and of course biking! 

Go early in the summer to skip the heat and keep riding (albeit with more layers) until it gets icy.

Suggestions for other routes? Email me at sarah@outdoorfest.org! 

Today’s post covered the logistics of where but remember that you always need to be prepared (flat kit, food, water etc.) before heading out on a ride. We’ll have another blog post covering those essentials soon.

Written by Sarah Knapp. Cover photo from offMetro's Lauren Matison. 

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