On a daily basis, bikers in New York City deal with bouts of mania. A short commute of 30 minutes can vacillate from carefree cruising to gridlocked congestion. In a matter of minutes, a smooth, protected bike path can dump you out onto a hectic on-ramp and onto a major highway. The highs and lows of New York City’s bike infrastructure are what make cycling in the city incredibly exhilarating and at the same time incredibly precarious. If biking is your favorite mode of transportation, what are the best places to live in and the places to avoid? It’s a question that confounds and is contested by bikers across the city.

In honor of this year’s Bike to Work Week, StreetEasy set out to determine which neighborhoods are best for bikers – both to live in and bike through. We crunched numbers from the Department of Transportation, Citi Bike, Mapzen and StreetEasy’s own building and listing database. In order to hone in on the best neighborhoods for cycling in the city, we filtered for areas that had easy access to major parks and greenways, a high density of bike paths, a high density of Citi Bike docks, fast and easy access to other neighborhoods and a high density of buildings and listings with bike storage.

Lenox Hill is Best Neighborhood for Bikers

No. 1 Lenox Hill

  • Miles of bike lanes: 4.44
  • Citi Bike docks: 16
  • Park access: Central Park; East River Greenway
  • Number of sales and rentals with bike storage: 548
  • Number of buildings with bike storage: 102

As a rule of thumb, bikers in the city generally stick to the perimeter of Manhattan, meaning Downtown and along the rivers where bike lanes have historically been better and traffic less dense. Anywhere close to dense commercial centers or tourist attractions are often considered no-fly zones. The fact that Lenox Hill tops our list of best neighborhoods to bike points to the huge improvements in bike infrastructure the city has made in recent years.

When Citi Bike initially rolled out its bike-sharing program back in 2014, northern Manhattan was completely left out. Lenox Hill, however, was among the first neighborhoods targeted in the second phase of development that rolled out in September 2015. For a relatively small geographic area, the neighborhood features an impressively high number of Citi Bike docks (16) all of which have been added in the last two years.

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The Citi Bike dock at East 63rd Street and Lex in Lenox Hill

The recent additions of Citi Bike docks aside, Lenox Hill has always had bike-friendliness baked into its geography thanks to its proximity to both Central Park and the East River Greenway, which both offer protected bike lanes and low car traffic environments. In 2015, Mayor DeBlasio announced plans to permanently close Central Park to car traffic north of 72nd Street, making the city’s biggest park all the more conducive for cyclists. There are certain drives of the park south of 72nd Street that remain open to car traffic during the week, but the entire six-mile loop of the park drive is closed to traffic on the weekends, providing safe and easy riding options. Just be sure to be wary of your fellow cyclists and runners – share the road, folks!

Getting to these areas is also relatively easy from Lenox Hill since the neighborhood offers nearly 4.5 miles of bike lanes. Bikers considering relocating to the area will have many options to choose from as 102 of the neighborhood’s buildings offer bike storage as an amenity and 648 sales and rental listings note “bike storage” in the property description.

Green Space Takes Battery Park City and Park Slope to the Top

No. 2 Park Slope

  • Miles of bike lanes: 12.68
  • Citi Bike docks: 26
  • Park access: Prospect Park
  • Number of sales and rentals with bike storage: 531
  • Number of buildings with bike storage: 159

No. 3 Battery Park City

  • Miles of bike lanes: 6.44
  • Citi Bike docks: 5
  • Park access: Hudson River Greenway; Battery Park City Esplanade
  • Number of sales and rentals with bike storage: 253
  • Number of buildings with bike storage: 23

Anyone who’s spent substantial time in Park Slope and Battery Park City should not be surprised to find these residential neighborhoods rank high on our list. Although the neighborhoods are very different in terms of architecture and geography, they share a similar focus. You won’t find either neighborhood has great nightlife, but they are bucolic pockets where kids can easily play outside and the side streets are relatively calm.

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The Citi Bike dock at 3rd Street and Prospect Park West in Park Slope

For some background, Park Slope residents have long been vocal and active members of the New York City’s bike community. The Slope’s commitment to bike accessibility was no more apparent than back in 2010 when residents came out en masse to support the construction of a contested bike lane along Prospect Park West, one of the neighborhood’s main arteries. Despite the opposition to the bike lane, the proposal went through. In addition to advocacy, bikers in Park Slope make great use of Prospect Park, which is ranked among the top places to bike in the city, according to New York City Cycling Guide published by the running and cycling app, Strava.

The community’s dedication to bike access is complemented by its cycling infrastructure. The neighborhood offers over 12.5 miles of bike lanes as well as 26 Citi Bike docking stations. On top of good bike lanes, the Park Slope accessibility to other areas via bike is the best in the city. Get this: 7,210 acres are accessible via 15-minute bike ride, suggesting a high density of low traffic and uncongested streets. Apartments in the area also cater to the needs of cyclists with 159 buildings offering bike storage as an amenity and 531 sales and rentals including bike storage in the listing description.

For a neighborhood smack dab in the middle of Downtown Manhattan’s financial and commercial centers, Battery Park City has an almost eerily quiet and suburban feel. The area bustles with business professionals heading to work in the early hours, but by mid-morning, it’s mostly populated by kids and their nannies, dogs and their walkers and stay-at-home spouses exercising along the neighborhood’s incredible network of greenways. The Hudson River Greenway is easily one of the city’s better designed and most beloved bike paths, offering a well-maintained, two-lane pathway protected from car traffic. BPC’s greenway stands out not just because it’s impeccably maintained – nary a pothole to be found – but also because it offers a scenic ride with views of the stunning new World Trade Center transportation hub as well as sunset views of the harbor. From the bike path itself, you can easily access BPC’s quiet cul-de-sacs and low traffic blocks.

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The Citi Bike dock at West Street and Chambers Street in Battery Park City

For a geographically small neighborhood, Battery Park City offers nearly 6.5 miles of bike lanes, providing safe and relatively uncongested routes for biking. Getting to areas around BPC is also relatively conducive to bikers, with nearly 3,000 acres accessible via 15-minute bike commute from the center of the neighborhood. Since the neighborhood is relatively small, the area has less inventory. That said, 258 of its total active for sale and for rent inventory offers bike storage. 23 of its 35 total buildings offer bike storage as an amenity, making BPC a solid choice for bikers.

Use of park space for biking, however, is a contentious issue in BPC recently as many neighborhood residents see cyclists along the Hudson River Esplanade as a danger to pedestrians. In recent years, there have been attempts to ban bikers from this area entirely and relegate them to the main bike path along the West Side Highway. The tension between the pro bike cohort and the anti-cyclists in Battery Park City embodies the pressure found in neighborhoods where walkers, children, strollers and dog walkers are competing for the same turf as fast-wheeling cyclists. There’s only so much space.

Uptown Neighborhoods Nos. 4 and 5 for Bikers

No. 4 Upper East Side

  • Miles of bike lanes: 2.78
  • Citi Bike docks: 11
  • Park access: Central Park; East River Greenway
  • Number of sales and rentals with bike storage: 618
  • Number of buildings with bike storage: 186

No. 5 Midtown West

  • Miles of bike lanes: 8.13
  • Citi Bike docks: 26
  • Park access: Hudson River Greenway
  • Number of sales and rentals with bike storage: 1,260
  • Number of buildings with bike storage: 100

A doorman hailing a cab for one of his fur-clad residents on Park Avenue is an image synonymous with transportation on the Upper East Side. Fixies speeding down Park Avenue? Not so much. Despite the archetype of the UES taxi-rider, the neighborhood ranked as the fourth-best place for bikers in the city. Like Lenox Hill, much of the UES bike-amenability can be attributed to the recent addition of Citi Bike docks (11) as well as its proximity to Central Park and the East River Esplanade.

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The Citi Bike dock at East 82nd Street and Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side

Getting to these bike-friendly areas, however, is more difficult than it is further south in Lenox Hill as the Upper East Side only offers 2.78 miles of bike lanes, compared to the 4.44 accessible in Lenox Hill. East-west access across the UES has always been an issue for the neighborhood and constructing more bike lanes presents an easy to remedy the issue, but the initiative has been met with mixed support. Of the three east-west protected bike lanes proposed last year, only two were approved with neighborhood opposition citing “threat to pedestrian safety.”

Bike lane controversy aside, it’s relatively easy to get around via bike on the UES, with 5,759 acres of the city accessible in 15 minutes or less. The biggest perk for bikers on the UES, however, is the volume of active listings and buildings that offer bike storage as an amenity. Our data shows 186 buildings offer bike storage, the most of any neighborhood on this list and 628 active listings offer bike storage.

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The Citi Bike dock at 8th Avenue and West 31st Street in Midtown West

Like the Upper East Side, Midtown West historically has been known as a car-centric area with limited public transportation options for residents trying to get west of 7th Avenue and hellish traffic around Penn Station and the Lincoln Tunnel. Both the city and real estate developers have recognized the issue and attempted to remedy it through pro-bike initiatives like increasing the area’s number of Citi Bike docks and constructing condos and rental towers with bike storage options for residents.

In the fall of 2015, Citi Bike launched in Midtown West and now the dense but geographically small neighborhood boasts 26 docks. The neighborhood also offers an incredible number of buildings and listings with bike storage – 920 rental listings, 340 sales listings and 100 individual buildings. On top of the buildings and Citi Bike infrastructure, Midtown West offers a surprisingly large amount of bike lanes (measuring 8.13 miles). That’s second only to Park Slope on this list which offers 12.68 miles of bike lanes.

Although anecdotally Midtown West can seem incredibly hectic, the West Side Greenway that cuts along the Hudson River offers some of the city’s nicest and speediest biking. Once you cut through the Midtown traffic and hit the Greenway, it’s a straight shot Downtown or to the Upper West Side. The bike lane is completely protected from both car traffic and pedestrians, which relieves congestion and translates to fast access to other parts of the city. According to our research, you can access 4,596 acres from Midtown West in 15 minutes or less.

How We Did It

StreetEasy included several variables in determining the best neighborhoods for bikers. We collected data on bike lanes and accessibility, Citi Bike docks, park access, and buildings with bike storage from the Department of Transportation, Mapzen, Citi Bike, the Department of Parks and Recreation and StreetEasy, respectively. We also took into account the bike-friendliness of adjacent neighborhoods for each of the neighborhoods we analyzed. We adjusted numbers to reflect overall size of a neighborhood and weighted each variable to reflect their importance to bikers. The density of bike lanes, Citi Bike stations and access to major parks were among the most important features considered.

All non-StreetEasy data is from May 2017. For listing and building information, StreetEasy looked at all NYC sales and rental listings that were on StreetEasy at any point between Jan. 1, 2016 and April 30, 2017 and were in buildings with bike storage as an amenity. To calculate bike accessibility area for each neighborhood, we used Mapzen’s Turn-by-Turn service to determine the total amount of area accessible within 15 minutes from the center of each neighborhood on the workday morning.

Want to up your biking game? During Bike Month (May) folks can save $25 off an annual Citi Bike membership. Visit www.citibikenyc.com for more info.