New York City can be an amazing place to live. It’s a thriving, multi-cultural metropolis, and as the the city that never sleeps, it seems there’s always something to do.
Owning a motorcycle in NYC is not quite as rewarding though: crazy drivers, strict traffic rules, yellow taxi cabs... Enough said. So what do you do if you’re wanting your bike to be more than just a way to save on gas and parking on your daily commute? As it turns out, if you’re willing to brave the traffic of Manhattan on your way out, there are a few places you can use to escape the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple for that quick Sunday afternoon drive.
The Bear Mountain Loop is a pretty accessible ride from New York City, particularly if you’re near the West Side. The whole trip is about 100 miles, so depending on traffic, it shouldn’t take you longer than a couple of hours. The other advantage is it’s a loop which is nice because no one likes to back track!
Head across the George Washington Bridge and within a few minutes you’ll forget how close you still are to the city as you wind through the green canopy of the Palisades Parkway. Follow 9W until you enter Bear Mountain State Park. If you packed your picnic basket in your saddlebags, follow the signs and you can drive straight to the top of Bear Mountain, where, if you’re lucky and the skies are clear, you can see the NYC skyline.
Back down the mountain now and onto 9S. Whenever 9 and 9A diverge, stay to the left to avoid town traffic. 9A leads to the Taconic Highway and after a short bit on that you get on the Bronx Parkway, a slower but nicer ride to the Bruckner and the RFK Bridge.
Next is the Island Ride-Orient. The scenery for this ride is nice but the lights and towns can get a bit tedious.
The route itself is very easy as you’re only following 2 roads for the most of it. First get on to Rt. 25 going East. You can actually follow this all the way out to Orient Pt. but 25A is a nice detour which takes you to Port Jefferson, a little fishing town on the sound. Eventually 25A curves back inland and joins back up with Rt. 25 again which takes you all the way out to the tip of the island.
Finally it's the "I started and just couldn't turn back" ride. This one is not quite as local as the previous two as you’ll need two days for the round trip (unless you’re planning on attempting an Iron Butt). If you’re feeling like making a weekend of it, almost any road through the Adirondack Mountains is worth the trip. Very little traffic, towns that are few and far between, and amazing, long, sweeping twisties through the mountains in the largest protected area in the contiguous United States all make for some amazing riding. Two roads I would recommend in particular are Rt. 8 and Rt. 30.
And, that just about rounds off this list for now. New York City is a fantastic place to live, but it doesn’t hurt to get out and get some fresh air every now and then!
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