Our guide jokingly chided a 20 something Spanish girl on the Central Park Unlimited Biking guided tour, “You haven’t heard of John Lennon, what about Yoko?” It all started to fall into place for her. “She still lives here” he said, pointing to the Dakota Building across the road. We are at the Strawberry Fields stop at Central Park, dedicated to Lennon who was shot dead at the entrance to the Dakota building in December 1980.
Chuck our guide and a proud New Yorker claims he has the world’s best job hosting tours around the park or from the five other outlets around NYC six days a week for Unlimited Biking Tours. The company has 3000 bikes which are turned over for new every 12 months. Each of the Cannondale brand bikes costs between USD $700 and $900.The tours cater for a maximum of 15 and will go with just one.
The moderately paced tour is perfect for riders of any skill level, and there are plenty of stops for pictures or questions and in-depth information about the park. “That hot dog stand over there pays an annual license fee of USD $280,000.” Chuck says. On this tour, you’ll see Strawberry Fields and the Imagine Mosaic, both tributes to John Lennon, Bethesda Fountain, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir and Belvedere Castle to name a few.
Chuck and the Dakota Apartments
A couple of days later when we lined up for a Harlem bike tour, who was our guide for the two hour 10 K ride none other than our favourite affable and knowledgeable guide from Central Park, Chuck.
This uptown New York City neighbourhood caught the public’s attention in the 1920s with the Harlem Renaissance—an explosion of African-American art, literature, and music. Though it has been subject to gentrification, the district remains a cultural powerhouse with jazz clubs, theatres, and soul food restaurants tucked away among old brownstones.
Bikers in Central Park
Many tourists in New York City find themselves biking the streets of Harlem. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (125th Street), Harlem’s main thoroughfare, holds many of the area’s top attractions including the Apollo Theatre and the Studio Museum in Harlem. The Apollo has hosted some of the greatest African American performers. The venue has 1.3 million visitors annually and earlier this month U2 performed a concert in the intimate 16,000 seat theatre with a tribute to Anthony Bourdain. Other highlights are the Harriet Tubman Memorial for the former slave, Colonel Grant’s Tomb. “Nobody goes there because they don’t know it’s there,” Chuck advised, the Library of Columbus University where the Atomic Bomb was conceived and the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine the biggest non Catholic Church in the world.
Prices vary between dates and seasons. Go to the website for updated costs and specials.
Unlimited Biking is offering franchise opportunities to interested parties in other countries including Australia. For more information on biking and franchising go to
Harriet Tubmans Memorial
Written by John Savage in New York
Church of St John the Divine