I have a question about a tour, is there somebody I can talk to?
Yes – for all tour questions, please call Lukas at 917-748-1119 or email him at email@example.com. Lukas is the owner of the company and he will take the time to answer your questions. However, before you call or email, please read though the webpage for the tour you are interested in first as well as review the FAQ’s below. That way your inquiry will be more focused and Lukas can answer your questions more effectively.
What kind fitness level do I need to have?
Our day rides are designed for all levels of riders, including beginners. However, participants need to have a relatively good level of physical fitness.
A good rule of thumb is if you are able to participate in one of the NYC region’s main cycling events, such as Bike New York or one of the charity rides (like the MS ride) you should be able to do one of our tours without any problems.
Another way to test yourself is to ride the Central Park roadway loop. If you can do this 6.11 mile loop several times in one day (with as many breaks as you want) you can do our tours.
How many miles do we ride?
Our trips are designed to allow you time to stop and enjoy the various sights and attractions that you will pass on your ride. The trips are also designed to allow you time to enjoy what each destination has to offer at the end of each day.
The average tour day is about a 35 mile ride, with options to go further. There can sometimes be a day within a tour that has a longer mileage of about 50 or 60 miles. These distances, while they may seem intimidating, do not actually take that long to ride. Even at 10 miles an hour, a 50 mile ride takes 5 hours…well under the amount of time you have available that day. And if you get tired, you can always call us to pick you up!
Can I rent a bicycle?
Yes. We offer rental bikes for all tours, but you must contact us to reserve.
Can I rent an e-bike?
No we do not rent e-bikes. E-bikes are prohibited on many of the trails we use for our tours. No tour operators should be using e-bikes on the Empire State Trail because of these rules. If you find another tour operator offering e-bike rentals on the Empire State Trail, you should know that they are disobeying the rules by doing so, which may impact the insurance coverage they are supposed to be providing their customers.
How do I get to and from the bike tour? Taking the train or driving.
All of our tours are set up to allow you to take the train to the ride from NYC or to drive.
For our weekend tours (Empire State Trail Rides or Hudson Valley Craft Brewery Rides) taking the train is logistically easier than driving because these rides are one way, with different start and end points. So if you are coming from Manhattan, the Bronx or most of Brooklyn and Queens, we recommend you use the train since that will be easier for you. You can bring your bikes on the train. Trains are set up for this and there are designated areas for you to store your bikes.
For riders coming from Long Island, Staten Island, New Jersey, Connecticut or beyond, you will likely need to drive to these rides. For our Saturday Empire State Trail Rides, you will need to park where the ride starts (Brewster, NY) and you can purchase a (limited number) of shuttle seats with your ticket to get back to your car at the end of the day. You can add this shuttle service to your cart when you check out. For Hudson Valley Craft Brewery Rides you would park near the end of the ride, either at the brewery or at the North White Plains train station and we would shuttle you either at the beginning or the end of the day (no charge), depending on when there is space in the vehicle. Contact us if you need to drive to this tour and we will work out the details for you in advance of the tour.
For the Empire State Trail Vacation Tour you can either drive or take the train. Basic information about this is in the trip itinerary documents you can download from the tour page. However, when you contact us to sign up or inquire, we can walk you through your options.
For private tours or any other tour listed on this site, we will always set it up to allow participants to take a train or bus to a tour or drive.
How many people are on each tour and how diverse is the group?
Day rides are never more than 12 people and overnight tours are never more than 10 people. We do this to ensure a manageable group where people can get to know each other if they want to. Our tours attract a wide variety of people, from all age groups and backgrounds and are generally representative of the population that resides in the New York Metro Area. We usually have both beginner and advanced level riders on every ride. People simply ride at their own pace.
Do we ride on roads or pathways?
We try our best to keep the rides as far away from vehicular traffic as possible. When bike paths are available, we incorporate them into the ride. When they are not, we try to pick roads that have low traffic volumes or wide road shoulders to make the ride enjoyable and scenic.
We also use roads officially designated as “bike routes” when they are available.
What do I do if my bicycle breaks down?
We have a support van that can come help you with any breakdown issues. If you break down, you can call us and we will meet you at your location. When we arrive we can fix your bike and you can continue your ride. If you are done for the day, you also have the option of quitting the ride at that point, and we will drive you to the end of the route for that day.
PLEASE NOTE: Your bicycle must be in good working order to do our tours. Breakdown assistance is limited to minor repairs such as flat tires, snapped cables, etc. Major mechanical issues involving a bicycle that was in poor condition prior to the start of a ride will not be fixed by our team.
What if I can’t finish the ride that day?
Don’t worry. Just call us and we will meet you at your location and drive you the rest of the way! It’s OK to do this.
What about bad weather?
We run the bike trips rain or shine.
If it rains, riding your bike in the rain is part of the experience. However, typically in the summer months, we are unlikely to encounter a situation where it will rain all day.
For regularly scheduled weekend tours, we will cancel a tour if extreme weather (such as a hurricane or tropical storm) is forecasted for the tour dates, or if there is a 100% certainty of sustained soaking rain the forecast for the entire day. Refunds will be issued in such cases.
For the Empire State Trail Vacation Tour, we cannot cancel the dates or issue refunds due to weather. If you get a bad weather day, we recommend you try riding. If things don’t work out, we can drive you to the next hotel.
For private tours, you will need to pay a deposit to hold the dates which will not be refundable due to weather. However, since the balance of your tour fee is not due until about 5 days before the ride, you can look at the extended forecast to make your decision. If you decide to cancel due to weather, you would only lose your deposit. Or you can try to reschedule.
What is the cancellation policy?
Each tour has their own cancellation policy.
Can I bring my child?
It is OK to bring children to the tours as long as you are confident they can ride the distance listed in the tour information. Usually this means teenagers.
We cannot offer any discounts for participants under the age of 18. This is because the costs involved for us to operate the tour are the same regardless of the age of the rider. However, participants under age 21 can receive a discounted price for the Hudson Valley Craft Brewery Bike Tour since they cannot legally consume beer.
Do I have to wear a helmet?
Yes. You absolutely must wear a helmet. Some of the towns you will pass through during your ride require helmets under local ordinances. Our insurance also requires you to wear a helmet.
Can I drink alcohol?
Our day tours that involve alcohol consumption always have this at the end of the ride, so you do not need to worry about biking after drinking.
For our Empire State Trail Vacation Tour or private tours, we cannot provide you will alcohol since we do not have a liquor license. However, you can feel free to purchase alcoholic beverages on your own and store them in our vehicle to consume later.
How do I know what to pack?
Take a look at our recommended packing list for an idea of what you will need to pack for one of our tours.
Can I pay with a check?
Yes, absolutely. You can save substantially on transaction fees if you do this. If you want to pay with a check, please email us and we will tentatively reserve your spot for 3 days while we wait for the check to arrive. Mail the check to:
Gotham Bicycle Tours
4380 Vireo Avenue #5S
Bronx NY 10470