Top 5 Motorcycle Riding Routes Outside of New York City

Oct 17, 2021

Tags:routesrenternew york city

Motorcycle parked outside of New York City.

New York City is the financial capital of America. There’s so much to see and do in the Big Apple. But for motorcyclists eager to exit the city, one option is to rent a motorcycle and leave Manhattan’s concrete jungle and explore the charm of rural and residential areas. 

Visit Long Island’s ritzy seafood restaurants and numberless harbors, the former haunts of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and famed American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. Ride along motorcycle roads chiseled into tall, rocky bluffs overlooking the Hudson River, or visit Greenwood Lake under the domineering presence of a forested mountain. This is the part of New York which undoubtedly inspired the unforgettable tales of Edgar Allan Poe, a West Point cadet, and Washington Irving, a homeowner in Tarrytown.

Here are five motorcycle routes that escape the city and visit West Point, Tarrytown, and all the rest. Pair our guide with the motorcycle rental service Riders Share, and you’ll explore endless miles throughout the state. Need more ideas? Read the Motorcycle Events Near New York City article.

1. The 70 Mile Hudson River Bridge Tour

One-day trip — 70 miles

Take a ride along the enchanted woods, rivers, and bridges of New York State with The 70 Mile Hudson River Bridge Tour.

This route makes for an especially gorgeous ride during the autumn months, taking you through the Hudson River Valley by way of its many beautiful bridges. If you’re cruising along Palisades Interstate Parkway and want to stop at Harriman State Park, take Exit 19 to Seven Lakes Drive and then get onto Memorial Drive; you’ll find a fantastic overlook perched atop a mountain. 

Tarrytown boasts plenty of historic estates, one of them once owned by Washington Irving, author of famous short stories like “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle.” If you head southeast on Route 218 (off of Route 9W), you can visit beautiful Storm King State Park and the famous West Point Military Academy; this portion of Route 218 becomes “Storm King Highway,” and it’s one of the best portions of the entire ride, full of twists and turns high above the Hudson. 

This route is a pleasant ride—it largely hugs the Hudson, and most of the time you’ll feel like you're suspended above the river. There are lots of turns on this ride, so just make sure you keep your eyes on the road and ride within your limits.

Cold Springs is a good place to get off your bike and stretch your legs. If you want to eat surrounded by foliage and water, pack a lunch and take Exit 1 to the Englewood Boat Basin or Exit 2 to the Alpine Boat Basin—they’re great places to picnic.

2. Escape from New York City on Route 22

One-day trip — 12 miles

In his 1981 cult classic Escape from New York, director John Carpenter immortalized the idea of getting away from the Big Apple. Participate in your own unforgettable Escape from New York City on Route 22.

All you’ll need to do is get onto Route 22 in Westchester County. The moment you pick up Route 22 from Kensico Dam, the scenery changes from congested, commercial shopping thoroughfare to the prettiest and wealthiest residential areas of Northern Westchester Counter. Visit the county park at the base of Kensico Dam for a picnic or nature walk, if you need to stretch your legs.

This route is as smooth and comfortable a ride you could wish for. You’ll have four lanes to cross Kensico Reservoir, and you’ll be treated to a variety of sweepers and bends to boot. Later on, Route 22 narrows to two lanes. Everything’s recently paved, and there’s only a short stretch where you’ll have to stop at traffic lights. Most of the highways and parkways in Westchester County run north-south, so there’s hardly any traffic on Route 22.

Try out Pat’s Deli in Valhalla for some out-of-this-world sandwiches. In the town of Armonk, where the 22 narrows down into two lanes, you’ll find Nicky’s Deli, home to delicious egg sandwiches and perfectly-brewed coffee. The beautiful village of Bedford is also home to a deli.

3. Fort Lee Loop

One-day trip — 100 miles

If you’ve already tried the 70 Mile Hudson River Bridge Tour, but want to check out the motorcycle roads on the other side of the Hudson, you’re in luck. The Fort Lee Loop offers a buffet of tree-lined roads and views while taking you through beauty spots like the Hudson River Valley, Greenwood Lake, and Wanaque Reservoir.

Begin this 100-mile ride by first making a 15-mile trip from New York City to Fort Lee, New Jersey via I-95 North. This trip takes you through some of New York State’s prime tree-lined motorcycle roads. The Palisades Interstate Parkway is already tremendously popular with motorcycle enthusiasts; you can get off your motorcycle rental at either of the two scenic-view parking lots along the way for some inspiring panoramas of the Hudson River. In comparison, Seven Lakes Drive is more modest and will take you past several small lakes. Route 106 has some truly breathtaking views, and 17A takes you over a mountain. Some of the route’s best scenery is on Route 210, which runs along the west side of Greenwood Lake. This spectacular lake is backed by a massive tree-covered mountain. And last but not least, you’ll get some great views of the Wanaque Reservoir as you ride along Route 511.

The opening and closing sections of the Fort Lee Loop offer standard highway driving, but in the middle section, you’ll find yourself climbing over a mountain and hitting plenty of twisties along the way. In particular, the twisties on 106/17A and Route 201 are a lot of fun. The roads are in good condition.

If you have the urge to pitch a tent and spend the night under a canopy of foliage and stars, set yourself up at one of the camping and picnic spots on Seven Lakes Drive and Route 106. You can also go boating on Greenwood Lake, and visit the bars and restaurants in town. Emerald Point Restaurant & Marina offers views that are just as good as the food.

4. 5-Hour Green Rural Loop from Manhattan

One-day trip — 131 miles

Leaving the city and into pastoral New York, The 5-Hour Green Rural Loop from Manhattan is the perfect Sunday ride. Unlike the other routes, instead of heading into New Jersey, you’ll weave in and out of New York State and neighboring Connecticut. 

You may begin in Manhattan, but you’ll end up in rural New York with this motorcycle route. You’re guaranteed to pass plenty of greenery and lots of bodies of water (ponds, reservoirs, etc.) 

Expect some twists and turns on these rural roads. Even better, this route is perfectly paved. Merritt Parkway is so twisty, open, and free, it’s practically a racetrack.

In terms of amenities, you’ll be well provided for all throughout your ride. Squire’s Redding Roadhouse in Redding, Connecticut is a motorcyclist-friendly tavern in the woods; get off your motorcycle, grab a cold one, and swap stories with fellow enthusiasts on the outdoor patio.

5. Long Island's North Shore Tour

One-day trip — 60 miles

Top off your New York City trip with Long Island's North Shore Tour. This motorcycle route is a leisurely one that will take you along a portion of Long Island replete with history and bayside views.

The scenery on this route is simply beautiful. History-lovers can visit Teddy Roosevelt’s House at Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay. Get off the bike and admire the beautiful boats moored in Oyster Bay Harbor, one of the inspirations for American author F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous novel, The Great Gatsby (Lloyd Harbor is another town further along the route with similar scenery). At the end of West Neck Road, you’ll find Target Rock—it’s a large boulder located at the entrance of Huntington Harbor, so-called because it was once used for practice by the British Navy.

This route features a few twisty yet well-paved roads that make for easy riding. Side routes tend to be tighter and curvier. In particular, Glen Cove Road (Route 107) features well-paved twisties and is lined with beautiful homes and foliage. Although the route has undergone more development in recent years, there are still some stretches of road with only a few stop signs and traffic lights. 

Don’t worry about finding amenities on this one. Any of the restaurants on Bayville Road/North Shore Beach should suffice, especially the motorcycle-friendly tiki bar; all of them feature great local seafood and outdoor dining. Check out the Shack in Centerport—it’s a hotspot for motorcycle enthusiasts from spring until autumn. Aside from food, you’ll find gas and shopping opportunities in abundance. 

We hope these routes have inspired you to get outside the Big Apple and see all that New York State has to offer. Each of these routes is surrounded by side roads, so as long as you have a motorcycle you love to ride, you’ll never exhaust your options in the Empire State.

All you need to do is book the motorcycle of your choice with Riders Share and you’re set to go. This riders-to-renters marketplace is the most convenient and flexible place to find affordable rentals in the City that Never Sleeps. Pick a ride, fuel up, and get ready to rule the roads of New York.

Motorcycle parked outside of New York City.