Weekend Wheeling in New York City

9W Variations
By Sproule Love
  |  Gorp.com

Bear Mountain

One extension of the Route 9W exodus can take you all the way to Harriman State Park where you can see the length of the Hudson River and even Manhattan from the top of Bear Mountain. The Appalachian Trail winds through Harriman, as do several scenic roads that make for excellent road rides.

The entire circuit from the George Washington Bridge to Bear Mountain and back is at least 70 miles; from Brooklyn to Bear Mountain would make an even"century" (100 miles). The beauty of out-and-back rides, though, is that you can turn back at any time and tailor the ride to how you are feeling that day.

If you are up for something shorter, drive the Palisades Parkway to Harriman and get straight to the good stuff. You can access this great riding from exits 13 and 14. One particularly nice stretch of pavement can be found on Route 106 off of exit 14. There is a parking lot just off the exit ramp, which immediately intersects 106. Head west on 106, which will quickly rise into the park.

This short and steeply uphill ride is worth the effort. In just a few miles you leave behind the din of the Parkway and enter an oddly tranquil scene. After seven or eight miles, Route 106 intersects Seven Lakes Drive, named after the many serene lakes and beaches that dot Harriman State Park. During the summer months, these roads are brimming with city dwellers but during an off-season ride this area feels more like northern New England. If you get off at exit 13 you can ride a longer loop that includes Routes 202 and 17, which intersects 106 on the western edge of the park.

Northern New Jersey

Adventurous riders can also head west out of Nyack on New York State Route 59, which follows the New York–New Jersey border to create any number of loops back to the bridge. One version follows Airmont Road from Route 59 to the Franklin Turnpike. In Waldwick take Route 502 east to Route 505 in Closter, where you can also make your way back to 9W south. These roads are best traveled during low traffic periods and are not designated as bike routes. As always, when it comes to road biking, there is safety in numbers.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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