Get Yourself on a Bike
Where to Get One
The NYU Bike Share provides free bike rentals to students, faculty, and staff who attend one of our regularly scheduled safety training workshops. If you don't already have your own bicycle at NYU, you have a several great options for getting yourself on a bike.
Buy One at a Bike Shop
If you want to buy your own bike, NYC has dozens of great bike shops. A few gems in the NYU area include:
- Recycle A Bicycle: The retail side of a terrific city-wide cycling non-profit on Avenue C. They specialize in refurbishing used bicycles and selling them at affordable prices. Proceeds support youth programs throughout the city.
- NYC Velo: A high end independent bike shop on 2nd Ave with an exceptionally knowledgeable staff. They carry a variety of new bikes and accessories from top manufacturers. A great spot for hard to find premium bike brands.
- Bicycle Habitat: This Soho institution carries an impressive stock of new bikes and accessories. Prices for new bikes tend to be about average for the NYC area and the staff are true experts.
- The HUB Station: Located in the west village (not far from NYU's Greenwich Hotel), this unique bike shop specializes in stylish and simple European style commuter and cargo bikes as well as used British and American cruisers. Prices range by bike but you can often get a great deal here.
Buy One Online
Many NYU cyclists also have good luck buying bikes from online marketplaces such a Craigslist. This is a great way to get a good deal on a used bike but you have to be a bit more careful. Here are a few tips for buying used bikes off the Internet:
- Know what kind of bike you want. Figure out ahead of time what sort of bike you're looking for. If you're just pedaling around Manhattan or to the subway you'll probably be fine with a single speed, 3-speed, or cruiser bike. If you have day dreams of heading off-road on weekends you probably want to look at a mountain bike or a hybrid. If your commute involves lots of hill, bridges, or just a lot of distance you may want to get a road bike with 10 or more speeds. There's no shame in going to a bike shop and checking out some new models to get a feel for what you like.
- Size matters! Even if you find the best deal in the history of used bikes it's worthless if the bike is the wrong size. Riding a bike that is too big or too small will be inefficient, uncomfortable, and can even hurt your knees and back. For some really technical sizing advice check out this page. The most important criteria is that you can comfortably stand over the frame and that you can set the seat to a height where your leg is almost fully extended at the bottom of the pedal rotation. Remember you can always get a feel for your size by trying out a few different sized bikes at a shop.
- Bring a friend. Very few people selling bikes online are creeps, but occasionally you get one. If you have to go to someone's home to check out a bike it's always a good idea to have a friend with you.
- Beware of stolen goods. New York is notorious for bike theft. If the person selling the bike can't give you a good story for why they're getting rid of it or if something just feels fishy, walk away. There are thousands of bikes out there and you don't have to risk being an accessory to NYC's bike theft and resale industry.
- Avoid department store brands. Bikes sold at department stores like Wal-Mart and Target are basically built to be disposable. These bikes are made with inferior quality heavy components and are difficult and expensive to repair after only a few years of use. Some brands to avoid include Magna, Huffy, Pacific, Mongoose, Roadmaster, and Next.
- Avoid steel rims. One of the biggest innovations in bicycling technology occurred in the early 80's when companies started making rims (the outer part of the wheel) out of aluminum instead of steel. Steel wheels are heavy, difficult to true (straighten), and should generally be avoided. A good way to tell what rim is made out of is to hold a refrigerator magnet up to it. If the magnet sticks the rim is steel.
- Get the bike checked out by a pro. After buying a used bike it's always a good idea to have it looked at by a professional mechanic. Many shops will give you a free estimate for a general tune up. This allows you to know any potential problems with your brand new used bike. Repairs can sometimes be expensive but it's worth the cost in the long run.