Mountain Bike Trails & Bike Trails Near You

By Suz Pathmanathan

More riders are hitting the mountain bike trails, bike trails and cycle paths than ever. Fact. Which is why World Bicycle Day is the perfect day to get on your bike and enjoy the beautiful scenery around you.

But where should you go if you're looking for mountain bike trails and bike trails that stray from the beaten path? If you live in a major city like London, New York, or Paris, you may want to head out of the urban sprawl to one of these top tier bike trails.

Get on your bike - bike trails

Sunrise Ride at Grand Army Plaza - US

Yes, you can take this ride at any time of the day, but it truly becomes something spectacular if you're there at sunrise. The trail begins in Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, right at the northern tip of Prospect Park, passing Fort Tilden. You'll take this to Bedford Avenue and will ride through some of the most beautiful and often under-experienced neighborhoods in all of Brooklyn. Along the way you'll pass Brooklyn College and arrive at Sheepshead Bay. If you time it right, you'll be able to see the morning boats departing the dock. Riding over Jamaican Bay in the morning is beautiful and there's a cooling breeze.

This ride is longer at 27 miles, but it's not hilly and always a pretty comfortable ride. Plus, it isn't as busy as some of the other trails and parks throughout New York, which gives you the sunrise almost all to yourself.

Ocean Parkway

Ocean Parkway makes the list of top bike tours in New York City because it was the first actual bike path in the entire United States. Created in 1894, it is seven miles long and travels down Ocean Parkway, beginning (again) at Prospect Park and heading out to Coney Island Beach.

This path is away from pedestrians and a shorter route. Plus, it ends at Coney Island, so make sure to stop off for a hot dog or a ride. Either way, it's a great way of taking in some American history while getting fit.

Tamsin Trail

When you're in London and want a leisurely ride, The Tamsin Trail is perfect as it is 12km that has plenty of built-in stops. There are also a ton of ice cream shops, making it perfect for a summer cycle.

The Tamsin Trail is London's largest royal park, so you'll be riding through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in London. Of course, if this path is too easy you can always hop off and take the National Cycle Route 4's hill climb. This will really work your legs and is one of the most recognized bike paths in all of London.

Westminster Bridge to Box Hill

This is a longer path of 42km. It's also more of a challenge, so only tackle this bike path if you've been riding road bikes for a while now. In fact, the "Zig Zag Road" portion of the path was part of the 2012 Olympic road cycling route. Taking this longer trail also brings some incredible views with it.

The trail heads out of London along Richmond Park. Now, you can take the hill, but with this path there's no need to. You'll hit plenty of hills during the path and it's best to not blow your energy all at the beginning. Beyond Richmond Park you'll pass Hampton Court Palace and ride into Surrey. When you hit Box Hill you'll climb 120 meters over about the next 2 kilometers.

You may want to stop at the base of Box Hill and grab some refreshments at National Trust Cafe. Plus it's just a nice little spot to relax a bit.

Stalingrad to Bois de Vincennes

There's plenty of fantastic bicycle paths in and around Paris, so you'll have your pick. However, one of the best is Stalingrad to Bois de Vincennes. You'll start off at Canal Saint-Martin and head past Bastille as you take a left just after Opera Bastille. You'll take this until you hit Viaduc de Arts. You will need to carry your bike up the Promenade Plantee stairs, which gives you a fantastic view from the overpass. You'll then take your bike and finish at Bois de Vincennes.

Thankfully, there will be plenty of chocolate shops along the way if you're feeling like rewarding yourself for this bike ride.

More and more people are taking to the saddle every year.

Ride every mountain - mountain bike trails

Jura Mountains - France

The Jura Mountains, with its cool green pine forests, secret landscapes and immutable topography. It's the perfect place to get your adrenaline and your Zen, all in one go. The well-marked and maintained routes feature challenging and varied terrain to suit all levels. Find flatter terrain further south if you're a fledgling rider. Follow the trail out of the trees, to the Grande Traversée du Jura to enjoy stunning meadow-scapes, or if technical difficulty is your thing, the northern section skirts the Doubs gorge.

Epping Forest - UK

Just outside of London, Epping Forest is known for its varied and, let's be honest, muddy, mountain bike trails. The route is 95 per cent off-road and 90 per cent singletrack. The highest point is located at Pole Hill, at 91 metres. But be wary: navigation can be difficult due to the trail being largely unmapped. But you’ll never be far from a road or a landmark. The trail is never more than 4km wide and 19km long. Epping Forest is near several car parks located at the edge of the woods. Look out for the free weekend parking on the residential streets.

Lippman Park - US

A proud community asset to the Town of Wawarsing with a name that means "where the stream bends". Lippman Park is a well-maintained mountain bike trail for intermediate to advanced riders, with a singletrack of 14 miles and 301 ft elevation. This beautiful area features a park that plays host to both open and woodland areas, so be sure to stop off to relax once you're done. And look out for the brewery near the park's entrance.

These are just some of the few bike tours to consider for World Bicycle Day if you live in London, New York or Paris. Don't fancy leaving the city? No problem. Celebrate World Bicycle Day by taking a Central Park Sightseeing Bike Tour! That and a number of other top London attractions are free with The New York Pass.

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The Best Hot Chocolate in New York

Now that it’s November, we can move on from Pumpkin Spice Lattes and look at what’s really important—hot chocolate. It’s a bold move on our part, but we think we’ve tracked down the absolute best hot chocolate in New York. Just to be safe, why not try them all? Serendipity 3 Serendipity is about as New York an institution as it’s possible to be. They’re famed, of course, for their frozen hot chocolate—and justifiably so. We’d be remiss if we didn’t include it here; the chocolatey crystals, served in a tall icy mound, are a joy to behold on a summer’s day. (Although truthfully, we wouldn’t say no at any time of the year.) But they also have an extremely delish hot version, crowned with whipped cream, cinnamon, grated orange and shaved chocolate (because, why not.) This is the place to take out-of-town guests, your mother in law, your college BFF, or even yourself, to enjoy one of the best drinkable chocolates (ok, two of them) in New York. [caption id="attachment_3032" align="alignnone" width="3022"] Drink up! At Serendipity, you can get your liquid chocolate hot or frozen (Image courtesy of Serendipity)[/caption] Jacques Torres A cup of hot chocolate at Jacques Torres is something to be savored—it’s so thick and rich, it’s like having dessert for the next few months in one sitting (we mean that in the best possible way.) This hot chocolate--definitely among the best in New York--will satisfy the sophisticate as well as the kid in you—as well as that actual kid sitting next to you; it’s that good. And if you can’t bear to say good-bye to it when you leave the shop—hurrah! You can get your own tin to make some at home. (Better hide that though...) [caption id="attachment_3028" align="alignnone" width="4776"] Indulge at Jacque Torres! (Image courtesy of Jacques Torres Chocolate)[/caption] MarieBelle Want one of the best hot chocolates in New York? The hot chocolate at MarieBelle is so important that it has its own category. There it is, with pretty much a page all to itself. Wow. This is good, because you might temporarily be distracted by the other offerings. Do not be led astray. Stand (sit) firm. You are here for the hot chocolate. You can have dark hot chocolate (yes, please)—perhaps Aztec? Spicy? Hindu Cardamom? Tropical orange? Just...yes. You can also sample milk hot chocolate and white hot chocolate (maybe with Japanese matcha?) Make sure to get some containers to give as gifts (and for yourself, of course), and plan to linger in a space that feels like you’ve wafted into mid-century Vienna. [caption id="attachment_3030" align="alignnone" width="2048"] Where to enjoy New York's best hot chocolate? For starters, head to MarieBelle. (Image copyright MarieBelle New York)[/caption] Maman The lovely maman is probably best known for having a chocolate chip cookie that Oprah declared one of her “favorite things” a few years ago. They’re also known for their lavender hot chocolate—you could do worse than decide to have a chocolate overload and order them both together. (They also have a kids’ hot chocolate, just FYI.) Maman, you will not be surprised to hear, has a French vibe and a French influence, as well as several locations. Go see what the fuss is all about; you’ll thank us for pointing you towards one of the best hot chocolates in New York. [caption id="attachment_3056" align="alignnone" width="3575"] Try the lovely lavender hot chocolate at Maman (Photo copyright Victoria Morris)[/caption] L.A. Burdick A place that bills itself as a chocolate shop is a good bet for hot chocolate. Their “gourmet drinking chocolates” include milk, dark, and white; they’re so rich that it’s suggested you can add milk and use it as a dessert sauce. (You can get it to go, so you can make your own at home. Why would you not?) This is a rich, smooth hot chocolate that says, “Stay here for a few more hours! Your boss won’t care!” [caption id="attachment_3099" align="alignnone" width="800"] Hot chocolate makes everything better[/caption] The Chocolate Room Not surprisingly, the Chocolate Room serves very good hot chocolate, or ”drinking chocolate,” as it’s classily known here. For a kick, try the spiced, with Ancho and Chipotle chilies, plus cinnamon and cloves; or the Café Torino—dark hot chocolate with espresso and dollop of foam. Pretty much everything here is made with chocolate—you will probably feel it seeping out of your pores when you leave (not the worst sensation, honestly.) [caption id="attachment_3097" align="alignnone" width="2837"] It’s a chocolate world, and we’re just living in it (Photo courtesy of The Chocolate Room)[/caption] Honorable Mention: Starbucks Don’t judge us—for an on-the-go hot-chocolate fix, this one is a solid option—not meltingly sweet and unctuous, but a surprisingly satisfying choice. The smooth chocolate taste makes Starbucks’ hot chocolate a satisfying choice New Yorkers can not, sadly, live by hot chocolate alone. If coffee is calling to you, let us lead you to some new sources.
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Cold Weather Activities in NYC

Manhattan enveloped by snow is a scene from dreams. However, as beautiful as the city is on a cold winter day, it is not always pleasant to walk around outside. Luckily, there are dozens of fun things to do in the city while staying warm, inside. Visit New York Hall of Science New York Hall of Science[/caption] 47-01 111th Street, Queens, NY 11368 Inquisitive minds love visiting the New York Hall of Science. NYSCI gives us the opportunity to get up close and personal with the elements of the world around us. Many of the exhibits at the Hall of Science are interactive and can prove to be a load of fun for the whole family. Take a tour of Radio City Music Hall Since 1932, Radio City Music Hall has been at the center of the entertainment world hosting events for some of the biggest stars. Visitors are able to get an exclusive tour of the Music Hall and even meet a Rockette! If you prefer sports over showtunes, check out the All Access Tour of Madison Square Garden. Shopping at Century 21 Department Store No matter the weather, you can always find a way to fit in some shopping. The shopping options in New York City are limitless but our favorite way to spend our hard-earned dollars is at the Century 21 Department Store, a 4-story beast full of discounted designer goods, clothes, shoes and much more. Go Bowling Bowling is one of those tried-and-true winter activities everyone will enjoy. If you're up for an afternoon (or night) of fun, try Bowlmor Lanes in Times Square, a huge bowling alley right in the middle of everything. Grab a Beer at Heartland Brewery Heartland Brewery[/caption] Multiple locations Feast on mouth-watering burgers while sipping on a pint of golden suds at one of Heartland Brewery's locations. Nothing warms the heart more than spending quality time over a delicious beverage and a hearty meal. Indulge at the Chocolate Room Hot chocolate at The Chocolate Room | Photo via Yelp![/caption] 269 Court St. and 51 5th Ave in Brooklyn, NY This heavenly place has two locations in Brooklyn and offers a variety of hot chocolate and coffee beverages made from ethically sourced Belgian chocolate and Varhona cocoa, alongside decadent chocolate deserts. If you're 21 and above and feeling it, you can get your cup or chocolatey goodness with a shot of booze. With so much to see in the city, you don't want the cold weather slowing you down. Try to make the most of your trip and visit indoor locations like the ones above. Luckily Winter ends on March 20th, and hopefully Spring will bring a more favorable weather. To prepare, check out Top Things to do in NYC this Spring. Get lost at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Much to nobody's surprise, one of the world's largest museums boasts with an impressive collection of art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is so big that you you can easily get lost here for hours without seeing 10% of the space. It's been said that if you look at every piece of art at the Met for a minute, it would take you 3 years to see the whole museum.
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