The Best Bike Routes According to Bikeshare Workers

Carl Franzen - Apr 3, 2023

Now that spring is here and much of the continental U.S. is enjoying warmer weather, it’s a good time to get out and go for a bike ride.

But where exactly should you ride to? If you’re not out running errands or commuting, but just want an excuse to get out and take in the scenery, knowing where to cycle can be a bit of a conundrum. 

Fortunately, team members at Lyft — the nation’s largest bike-share owner and operator — have some suggestions on where to go if you’re using Citi Bike in NYC, Bay Wheels in San Francisco, Divvy in Chicago, or Capital Bikeshare in Washington, D.C. Read on for their bike route recs: 


Ahh, the Big Apple. With five boroughs, 1,450-plus miles of public bike lanes, and more than 1,700 Citi Bike bike-share stations, deciding where to cruise around on two wheels can be a daunting task, even for the locals. 

Fortunately, Mary Kathryn Fisher, Lyft’s local operations team expansion leader for Citi Bike, has a suggestion of one route that’s likely to be a fun and tasty ride: through the neighborhood of Astoria, Queens, along the East River. 

“Riding along the water is always nice in NYC because there’s a view,” Fisher says. 

Riders can check out a Citi Bike at any one of three stations — 46th Avenue and Fifth Street, Center Boulevard and 48th Street, or Center Boulevard and 51st Avenue Station — and head north up the (mostly protected) Vernon Boulevard bike lane to Astoria Park. Along the way, they can stop at a number of stations to take in the local sights, including views of the river, Midtown Manhattan’s skyline, the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, and Roosevelt Island. They can also take in some art at Socrates Sculpture Park.

For those in the mood for a bite, Fisher recommends the Bel Aire Diner with its extensive menu — “it’s like 20 pages, the size of a small book” — a nearly 60-year-old Greek American diner open 24/7.

San Francisco

Lyft’s home base, the City by the Bay, is infamous for its steep terrain and many hills — making it among the more challenging yet interesting cities to go to for a bike ride. 

However, if you take the route recommended by Kyle Hinds, Lyft’s operations manager for Bay Wheels, you’ll get a nice flat ending. 

Hinds recommends starting your route by checking out a bike at the station near 140 Maiden Lane, the city’s only building designed by acclaimed American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. From there, you can ride to City Lights Bookstore on your way to Coit Tower, a historic monument to volunteer firefighters, and loop around down the Embarcadero, the city’s famed waterfront road lined with piers, green spaces, and impeccable views of the San Francisco Bay. Hinds also suggests checking out the Ferry Building, a popular tourist attraction filled with small shops and restaurants.


The City of Big Shoulders, a.k.a. The Windy City, Chicago, Illinois, is a Midwestern metropolis acclaimed for its architecture, affordability, and dining, among other attractions.

When it comes to cycling in Chicago, Abel Braughton, associate general manager for Lyft’s local bike-share service Divvy, has a favorite route: taking the Lakefront Trail south starting at Bryn Mawr Avenue.

“I ride all of it a lot,” Braughton tells Rev. “Especially during the summer.”

The trail, restricted to pedestrians and cyclists, follows the western shoreline of Lake Michigan, a body of water so large its edge is sometimes referred to as the “third coast” of the U.S. While riding it, you can visit all of Chicago’s 24 sand beaches, though Braughton has a different favorite: Promontory Point in Burnham Park, a rock beach with a historic wall of large limestone steps.

Before you get there, if you need a pick-me-up, Braughton suggests heading back off the trail and a few blocks into the city for coffee at Carver 47, which has a Divvy station right nearby. “It’s my number one spot.”

Washington, D.C.

Our nation’s capital is arguably one of the most bikeable cities in the country due to its relatively contained footprint — 68 square miles

But with so many historic political memorials, important government buildings, beloved restaurants and bars, and noteworthy museums, deciding where to go while pedaling around is tricky.

Regina Mirabito may be the operations lead of analytics for Lyft bikes and scooters in Washington, D.C., but she often rides a bike from Capital Bikeshare, especially to get from her office to her pickup volleyball games.

Her favorite route is along the Metropolitan Branch Trail in D.C.’s northeast quadrant. Mirabito recommends starting from the Bryant Street NE bike-share station and riding north to “the Dew Drop Inn, a dive bar/restaurant on the northern part of the trail that often has pop-up flea markets, music, and food trucks on weekends.”

On this route, you can also check out Alethia Tanner Park, which hosts outdoor public movie screenings on the lawn in spring and autumn. Nearby is Union Market with dozens of food and retail vendors and an outdoor picnic area.

The content provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only. Lyft makes no representations as to the accuracy and completeness of this information.

About the author

Carl Franzen is Rev’s contributing editor.