Few cities can match the size, diversity, and history of New York City. It is an amazing city with so much to do and see. The Onewheel is a great way to get around town, but it does have its limitations. In this article I list some tips I learned when Onewheeling in the most populated city in the United States.
Onewheel Tips for the Big City
- Be very comfortable getting off of your board. In the crowded conditions with busy streets and crowded sidewalks, jumping off your board to dismount may not be a safe option.
- Be very comfortable “floating” in one spot for minutes at a time. This is much more difficult than it may seem and the difficulty compounds when every pedestrian, bicyclist, panhandler, and motorist seems to be staring at you.
- Be ready for the attention you’ll get. People will be staring at you like you are a time traveler from the future. A simple smile and a wave will disarm most people. Try to be polite and answer the questions that are bound to come your way. Get ready to raise eyebrows in the greatest city in the world.
- Wear safety gear! At a minimum, a helmet and wrist guards are a must. Anything beyond that is extra credit.
- Assume drivers don’t see you. Make eye contact with the driver before proceeding out in front of them.
- Bring your charger. It’s easy to get lost in a big city. Be prepared just in case you need extra juice.
- Have a handle. It makes carrying the Onewheel much easier should you run out of battery or if you need to go somewhere where the Onewheel is not allowed.
- Use Google Maps and set your route along bike paths.
- Go early in the morning to avoid excessive traffic and crowds.
- Wear reflective clothing if you will be riding in low light conditions or in the dark.
- Know where to charge if needed. Coffee shops and fast food restaurants are good options. However, in places like in the heart of Time’s Square many of the stores and restaurants and removed public access to their outlets to avoid overcrowding. Here is a great map showing all the places to charge in NYC.
- If you plan on going long distance carrying your board, bring an appropriate bag to carry it in. Read this article to learn more about the bag I used.
- If you want to park your Onewheel somewhere you can consider checking it at the front desk of restaurants or hotels.
- If you are okay locking up your Onewheel, here are some lock options. I was too nervous about my Onewheel getting stolen I usually opted to carry mine in a bag or check it in at the front desk security of places I was visiting.
- Know the riding rules of where you will be going.
- If you have a companion who does not Onewheel, try the numerous Citibikes that are available throughout the city. Be aware that you need to station the bikes after 30 minutes or you will be charged extra. Alternatively, we chose to rent a bike all day from one of the street vendors. Find the right rental group and you can talk them down. We rented a bike for a full day for $30. The original rate was $15 per hour!
Places in NYC Where I Could and Could Not Ride the Onewheel
Central Park: In this expansive and iconic park it is okay to Onewheel in the bike lanes around the park. It is NOT okay to Onewheel on the paths inside the park but you can probably get away with it until someone tells you otherwise.
Highline Park: This unique and brand new park build on old railroad tracks is a must visit. Unfortunately only foot traffic is allowed. No Onewheel for sure here.
Hudson River Greenway: A fantastic, but very busy bike path just west of the Highline Park. The Hudson River Greenway is Onewheel friendly and it is a lot of fun to see the views and to people watch.
Time’s Square: Google map the bike path routes and stick to those. It will be busy no matter what time of day you go, but the Onewheel is great for getting around. Don’t plan on using the sidewalks other than early in the morning as the foot traffic is nuts, especially at night!
Other notes: Most places where the security is high, chances are they would not let me take the Onewheel even if I were just going to carry it. In addition, lugging the heavy Onewheel around as I played tourist did not seem appealing so I decided to leave the Onewheel at the hotel.
For these reasons we planned to hit all these sites on one day without the Onewheel:
The Statue of Liberty
9/11 Memorial and Museum
Empire State Building