Although Dani and myself are not of the sporty type (minus our scooters), we had one thing very high on our bucketlist for New York: cross at least one of the famous bridges with a bike. It would not be a lot for some, but taking into account that we haven’t probably ridden a bike in like 10 years, that might add a different perspective at what was for us.
Therefore, when I was looking for a hotel in the city (not easy feast, let me tell you) and I saw one that had complimentary bikes, something inside made me look it with a softer eye. The hotel itself was gorgeous, in our preferred neighborhood (Soho) and it had a package called: Let’s picnic! which included the possibility to reserve bikes and also have a picnic pack another day (or the same one). So, I clicked the reservation button quite fast enough, ha!
Once we knew we were able to have the bikes for as long as a complete day, I designed a feasible (kind of) plan for us. We were going to have breakfast nearby, then pick up the bikes, ride from the Soho to the Manhattan Bridge, cross it and spend some time around DUMBO, which is how the area down the Manhattan bridge is called.
DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) is an area in Brooklyn between the Manhattan and the Brooklyn bridges that includes one of the most famous streets of New York (the one in the pics, Washington Street) and the Brooklyn bridge park.
We first headed towards Washington Street, where you can see how the Empire States aligns just behind the Manhattan bridge. In pictures it’s difficult to show the Empire, but even without it, the view looks just straight out of a film. It is not a secret that this view is known to appear in the Once Upon a Time in America movie.
We anticipated to find the place crowded, and while we found – of course – a couple tourists and also a fashion blogger, we think we were lucky to be able to monopolize the view without bothering anyone. After a stop to eat a cookie and drink some water (essential!), we rested a the park with the skyline before us, I can hardly think of a better way to start your day.
To get back to our hotel we chose to cross instead the Brooklyn bridge (the one you can see at the background on the former picture) which is the most popular and also provided a very different experience: while the Manhattan bridge has an iron structure, the Brooklyn is woody with the impressive steel-wire suspension and also the views offered are different since you are able to spot even the Statue of Liberty from there.
Although the views from Brooklyn to Manhattan are incredible from the Brooklyn bridge, if you think only of the biking experience itself it’s way easier to go through the Manhattan than this one. Mainly because the Brooklyn bridge has the pedestrian lane just next to the bikes without physical separation, and you are going to have to sort (and yell, since I was missing the bell in my bike) all the tourists that have the urge to invade your bike lane every 5 seconds.
However, having the two experiences now, I wouldn’t miss any of the them, I would exactly repeat the same route. The Manhattan bridge was the perfect chillier way to start and when I was more familiar with my bike I could handle the more challenging Brooklyn bridge, but still have the best thing of both of them.
Have you ever biked in a foreign big city? How was your experience? Hope you liked DUMBO and the graffiti walls we stumbled upon! I think it is going to be one of the most colorful posts we have ever shared.