Uptown, the traffic lightens and the sky opens up. Start at the Museum of Natural History, then shoot up Central Park West and Harlem’s Frederick Douglass Boulevard. Convent Avenue hosts the Gothic spires of City College, and the brownstones of Strivers Row are well worth a detour. Follow St. Nicholas Place, catching the spray of fire hydrants and errant merengue, to the new Harlem River path. The river’s bridges are as awe-inspiring as the cliffs of the Hudson, which await on the other coast after the path opens into Inwood (if you’re game, climb Fort Tryon Park to the Cloisters first). Switch to street level via a 145th Street elevator for a tranquil urban return along Riverside Drive and West End Avenue.
Approximately 14 miles
1. Start near the Museum of Natural History stop—81st St. and Central Park West.
2. Ride all the way up Central Park West, which becomes Frederick Douglass Blvd.
3. Left on 121st Street, two blocks.
4. Right on Morningside Avenue, which will become Convent Avenue.
5. Right on 141st Street, two blocks.
6. Right on St. Nicholas Avenue, 3 blocks.
7. Left on 138th Street, down Strivers Row two blocks.
8. Left on Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., quick left on 139th Street.
9. Right back onto St. Nicholas Avenue.
10. Bear right onto St. Nicholas Place, follow bike path signs to Harlem River Drive.
11. Enter the Drive at 155th Street.
12. Take path to end, merge onto Dyckman Street.
13. Bear left onto Riverside Drive along Ft. Tryon Park—detour into park, walk bike.
14. Back down onto Riverside Drive, take left.
15. Follow signs to merge onto Hudson River bike path.
16. Ride down to 145th Street, take elevator up to Riverbank State Park.
17. Ride across footbridge to Riverside Drive, then take a right.
18. Ride down Riverside Drive down to 96th Street.
19. Left on 96th Street, first right onto West End Avenue.
20. Left on W. 82nd Street.
21. Right onto Central Park W., back to the B-C stop.