Four seasons of NYC street riding

Rob Dolecki investigates the year-round culture of BMX street riding in the heart of the Big Apple.
Downtown Manhattan in New York City, shot during a break in midnight BMX sessions during the summer months.
Downtown Manhattan, shot during a session break © Rob Dolecki/Red Bull Content Pool
By Rob Dolecki

New York City is one of the most iconic cities in the world. Between its rich diversity, an endless array of eateries, and anything you could ever want in a variety of stores, it seems the Big Apple has it all.

Another fine aspect of New York however is it's talented BMX scene, which puts to good use the city's extensive architecture all around the five boroughs.


One thing that local riders in the country's largest city also have access to, for better or worse, are the four seasons of Mother Nature. From the occasional triple-digit temps in the summer, to sporadic double-digit snowfall in the winter, riders can expect to experience the whole spectrum of weather conditions at some point during the year. Here's a brief summary of each of the four seasons of street riding in New York City.

Winter

This is the one time of year where street riding can go into involuntary hibernation for any amount of time, depending on snow accumulation and slushy roads. Fortunately, 50/50 Skatepark, exists to help alleviate some of that downtime.

Located in Staten Island, it is currently the only indoor park in NYC. When the streets are actually dry, the locals know it's worth the effort to throw on a few more layers, and possibly some gloves. The one benefit to sub-freezing temps is that the streets are usually barren, and some spots are more of a free-for-all than any other time of the year. I mean, what security guard in their right mind would want to leave the comfort of a warm building to shoo away someone who's insane enough to be riding around in that weather, anyway?


What security guard in their right mind would want to leave the comfort of a warm building to shoo away someone who's insane to be riding around in that weather, anyway?


Spring

The morning air may be a little crisp, but once the sun pokes out, the days become gorgeous and every single rider who has been fiending for those nice days is taking advantage.

Nothing quite matches the feeling of going for a pedal at full-speed during the first nice day of spring, weaving through traffic and avoiding the masses, who are also afflicted with spring fever – all while keeping an eye out for newly-formed pot holes. The rebirth of endless freedom more than makes up for that mandatory increased awareness, though.


Summer

That NYC asphalt gets so hot in the summer that, at times, it can fry an egg (so the saying goes; being vegan, I've never actually tried it). Everyone knows that trying to ride during a heatwave usually results in wet and slippery grips, the loss of a few gallons of sweat, and the need for a siesta.

Trying to ride during a heat wave usually results in wet and slippery grips, the loss of a few gallons of sweat, and the need for a siesta.

The answer to avoiding all that daytime heat? Be like a vampire, and live nocturnally. Midnight sessions in full effect. Half of the city is a ghost town anyway. Wake up at dusk, and go to sleep at dawn. More than a few locals live the old adage, 'the city that never sleeps,' during the summer months.



Autumn

This is arguably the best time of the year, when temperatures only require T-shirts during the day, and long sleeves at night. The summer heat has exited, and the vibrantly colored foliage has turned on like holiday lights. Then there's all the Halloween and Thanksgiving festivities.

This is also the one season where everyone feels the need to make sure they get a session in every day, if possible, since Old Man Winter is next up on deck.

Don't forget that you can keep up to date with all things bike over at the redbull.com/bike Facebook page.

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