Need wheels? Options in the neighborhood for getting around without the subway

Bike ridership in the city is up due to COVID-19, and our own Charles Komanoff, a transportation economist and activist who works with cities around the world on alternative rides, sees this as an opportunity to reclaim more of the city streets for pedestrians and bikers, even if only temporarily. (The crowding on the Hudson River Park esplanade should be evidence for this alone.)

“My bit of cycling advice is that the near-empty streets, while no guarantee of 100 percent cycling safety, *ought* to be an inducement for every able-bodied NY’er to finally try getting around *our streets* by bike,” said Charlie. “Indeed, the combo of light street traffic and the crowding of the Hudson River Greenway militate even more strongly in favor of riding on the streets, both to get from A to B, and simply to be outdoors.”

So here are some good local options for securing wheels (and let me know of others and I will add to the post) as well as safety tips from your neighborhood bike seller:

Citi Bike is still going — for now. And in the month of March, ridership was up more than 60 percent. Citi Bike teams are disinfecting high-contact surfaces every day (handlebars, seats, brakes, bells, shifters and seat post clamps), along with the surfaces on their vans. (Citi Bike and city DOT have also provided free memberships for all city first responders.)

If you want wheels of your own to be safer, there are two good options in the neighborhood:

Priority Bicycles, the local bike manufacturer whose showroom is on Hudson and Vestry, can’t let customers take a test ride in the shop anymore, but they are offering contactless pick-up of fully assembled and sanitized bikes on the sidewalk downstairs. The service is available Monday through Friday, 9 to 5.

Here’s how it works: Select “NYC Pick-Up” as your shipping option at checkout; the bike is then shipped from the warehouse in Pennsylvania using one-day transit; we’ll assemble your new bicycle within 2-3 business days, sanitize it thoroughly, schedule a time for you to come get it, and securely lock it up in front of our showroom 15 minutes before your arrival (you’ll choose the lock code, so there’s no confusion, and you’ll keep the lock).
Priority Bicycles
174 Hudson at Vestry
Call/Text: 917-819-1665

For those of you with a rusting bike in the basement storeroom: Waterfront Bike Shop on the Westside Highway just north of Pier 40 is open from 10 to 7 for purchases, repairs and tuneups. They are only letting two customers inside at a time and wearing masks and gloves. You can call to make sure there is not a long wait. A lot of repairs are on the spot, and in that case customers have to wait outside. For a more thorough tune up, you can leave your bike and schedule a pick up.
Waterfront Bicycle Shop
391 West St. at Christopher

(I checked with Sammy Acevedo, who has his GothamFix van usually stationed outside PS 234, who said he was not working because of the virus.)


If you’re new to riding, pre-plan your route.
Bike riding starts and ends with Google Maps. Attach an inexpensive phone holder to your handlebars and turn up the volume or pop in one earbud, set your destination, and ride. Google Maps set to “cycling” will give you optimum bike path routes. Keep in mind these can be different than your normal walking or driving patterns.

There are more riders — and new riders — out there.
More and new riders mean new riding patterns. Make sure to obey the rules of the road and bike path etiquette. Let’s remember we’re all in this together, and we should take our time and be smart about how we reach our destinations.

Be seen and be heard.
Don’t ride at night without lights, and make sure you have some sort of sound device like a bell or high-powered horn.

Use your head.
As always, whether you’re hopping on rideshare, using your own bike, or getting a new one — wear a helmet.



  1. Also there is a bike repair and system check truck parked near PS 234 each day. I used him and he’s competent, quick and quite reasonable.

  2. Continuum cyclery on 13 street between A and B is open

  3. April 9: just checked to see if this bike shop is still open (YES):
    New Bo Bo Bicycle
    96 Elizabeth Street just south of Grand ST.
    Bicycle sales
    Repair and parts
    NO rentals
    Owner, Pat, is very knowledgable.
    Open until 7 PM most days
    But, call to check