Advice on Nightriding in/around NYC

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Anonymous's picture

Wanted to see if anyone had any advice on getting some good miles at night in/around NYC during the week. I'm sick of riding in the park and while 9W seems like the best option, I understand the bike path at the GWB closes at 9pm which is kind of limiting. I'd like to be able to head out somewhere at like 6pm and get 40ish miles in about 4 hours (including time to grab a bite to eat somewhere). Obviously a good headlight will be paramount.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.


Anonymous's picture
Robert Marcus (not verified)

"Good question.
Well I commute 2 times a week , many times returning home in the dark and do 23-30 miles each way.

I find the best roads are the major streets illuminated
by street lights. This helps you see the road, hazards and hoefully be seen by cars. Of course stopping at lights etc is always an issue of speed.
I have tried bright lights to help me see the road and find them less than effective in the city, but a much better choice on back roads or non-illuminated city streets.
That said, I would skip 9W or similar for a few reasons.
A) It is really dark more so because of tree shading.
B) Ever run over a skunk? Racoon? They are there at nite.
C) A road such as 501, may be a better choice.

Try biking out of the city at say 5pm, then take the train or subway back after dinner? You surly could get some very good milage that way.

Maybe hook up with the Wednesday nite group ride.

Just my 2 cents, miles are miles but you have to fell safe.

Robert ""Not the slowest"" Marcus"

Anonymous's picture
Minda (not verified)

Don't see details on the Wed nite rides anywhere - can you post? Or is it not an NYCC ride?

Anonymous's picture
jeff i (not verified)

Was I misinformed about the GWB bike path closing at 9pm? Seems like it may be open til midnight. Does anyone know the answer?

(fyi, the south path is closed from tomorrow until june 2nd for repairs).

Anonymous's picture
[email protected] (not verified)
Agree. There are plenty of opportunities in the city.

One premise of Urban Adventure Rides is that major thoroughfares which are congested and impractical during the day are well lit and practically void of traffic in the evening. Examples include: Flatlands and Third Avenue in Brooklyn; the northern avenues in Queens; Hunts Point and City Island in the Bronx.

Lighting for an urban ride can consist of cheap front/rear flashers -- just so you're visible to others. Achieving A/B-speeds on an unlit road gets you into HIDs vs. LED's; Li-Ion vs. hub generators and some serious coin.

Per the UAR game plan; fat tires, suspension are ideal. Seems like I always ran into at least one major pothole per evening that made me grateful for the gear.

Anonymous's picture
Minda (not verified)

I don't see details on Urban adventure rides anywhere - Link?

I have been using Sigma micros for commuting on the Greenway and the park after dark, but suspected that they are not bright enough. Any thoughts on these little, but powerful, lights? I think my bike bag blocks my back Sigma light so I bought an additional LED backlight for commuting. I know I don't need HID lighting for a 30min ride at dusk on the Greenway but I got LED front and backlight so I could see and be seen better.

Anonymous's picture
Robert Shay (not verified)
Terrific rides out of NYC w/o GWB.

Any of the Fred Steinberg rides in the ride library on the NYCC site are very good - you may have to adjust some for your 40 mile limit. You can do out and backs to Tarrytown, White Plains, Scarsdale, and Mamaroneck. Very interesting one-ways with train backs could include Armonk, Bedford Hills, etc.

If you plan on going out at night in traffic, make sure you can be seen.

The vest and light below work great for me and are good price/values. I've been wearing this particular vest for several years - don't wash it or it will lose its luminosity (you'll know when cars honk at you). Cars really do see it. Also wear reflective ankle bands - very impt because from the drivers perspective they move up and down while you ride

If you head up into Westchester/CT, watch out for deer around 8pm - they usually won't move (from experience).

Vest -

Lights -

Anonymous's picture
jeff i (not verified)
thanks robert

"robert - thanks for the advice. actually, 40 miles was my low end target/i'd be happy to do some more. i'll definitely get that vest and i was actually trying to decide between these two lights (the latter has much better ratings and running times/just trying to figure out if it's worth the extra cost) - any input would be great:
(doesn't include ""smartswitch"", which would bring price up to roughly $100)
(i can actually get this for $220 including shipping)"

Anonymous's picture
Robert Shay (not verified)
Bicycle Light Reviews...

I chose niterider because I wanted an inexpensive and lightweight solution - I purchased two trailrats so that I could ride for 4.5 hours. This allows me to carry an extra headlight lamp just in case.

I ride up in CT a few hours before dawn and 10 watts is the minimum power I would use - especially when bombing downhill at 40 mph on country roads and past deer crossings (at night, their eyes look like little flashlights - that's how I see them).

Some long distance riders (that ride all night) use a front hub generator but the light only emits 3 watts - hub plus light about $400. I haven't used that system. Some riders that belong to this club do use it. It may be adequate if you ride less than 20mph on desolate roads. A website with more info is below:

The Jet lights got great reviews on the website below. I don't have any experience with them.

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
Three Bridges

"Queensboro Br -> Pulaski Br -> Brooklyn Br and back to your starting point, ~18mi. Add 2mi if you loop around Battery Park before heading north on the west side bike path (watch out for drunk drivers). A good alternative to the crowds in Central Park on weekend mornings if you only have time for a short ride. By afternoon though, the Bkln Br is wall-to-wall tourists - ""Bike lane? What bike lane?""

With a primary light source, the Danolite ( is a decent secondary - very lightweight, very bright to wake up anyone you aim it at. The downside? The bluish tint of LEDs doesn't really light the road very well."

cycling trips