Tired of your gas-guzzling rig? Maybe it's time to ditch driving for a while and switch to cycling. But before you flip your kickstand to its upright position, check out the Patch guide to biking in Bergen County.
What You'll Need
Being the hub of commerce that it is, there are plenty of places to purchase whatever you'll need for you or your bike. Here's a quick list:
- The recently remodeled Westwood Cycle Shop has been around since 1946. You can not only buy your bike here, but have it serviced. The store's website is filled with helpful tips and tricks to keep your bike in top shape.
- Bicycle II in Paramus matches each rider with the right bike, and provide expert repairs. They carry all sorts of gear, and several types of bikes, from fixed gear to extreme to mountain to tandem. Paramus shoppers can also check out Ramsey Outdoor and Campmor.
- Probably one of the oldest bike shops in the county, Ridgewood Cycle Shop has been around since 1928. Expect a host of products for bikers of all ages and skill levels.
- Located on a popular bike path, Strictly Bicycles on Hudson Terrace in Fort Lee gets plenty of visits from passing cyclists who stop at the store's cafe. Not only a bike shop, it's a pit stop for cyclists from both sides of the Hudson.
Rules of the Road
Be sure to familiarize yourself with the state's laws governing bicycling. In general, stay to the right side of the road whenever possible, unless you're making a left turn, and follow all the rules you would in a car. In such a heavily trafficked area, it's important to be as cautious as possible. You know how Bergen drivers are—you probably are one.
Where to Go
If you're ready to ride, there are plenty of places to bike in Bergen County. If you're looking to stay off the roads, the Saddle River County Park features a bike path six miles in length that runs through Ridgewood, Glen Rock, Fair Lawn, Paramus, Saddle Brook and Rochelle Park. The trail follows the Saddle River and Ho-Ho-Kus Brook. Along the way, it meanders past the Easton Towers, a waterfall, ponds, picnic areas, playgrounds and athletic fields.
Many of the county's other parks, like Van Saun, also feature paved multi-use paths suitable for bicycles. In Westwood, the Pascack Brook County Park and Westvale Park also have bike paths.
If you happen to be near Mahwah, stop by Darlington County Park or Campgaw Mountain Reservation for trails that range from beginner to advanced terrains. Both locations have hosted many bike-a-thons. This August, Campgaw will host the Ramapo Rally, a bike ride that raises money for Camp Sunshine, a Ridgewood organization that caters to disabled children. Get more information about the rally here.
For more rugged rides, Ringwood State Park has a 7.5-mile mountain bike loop trail. The park comprises a network of trails that cover a lot of ground, so there is plenty of variety there.
Overpeck Park, the county's newest, also has five miles of trails. The park covers ground in Englewood, Leonia, Palisades Park, Ridgefield Park and Teaneck.
But if you think paths are for pansies, njbikemap.com can help you plot your course. The site is a little arcane at first, but its frequently updated maps help give you an idea of which roads are best for biking. It even tells you the best places to park your car, in case your ride happens to start with a drive.
Know Something We Don't?
Obviously, this is far from a comprehensive guide, and I'm far from an expert. But maybe you are. Got any tips for biking in Bergen County? Tell us in the comments!