Pump some air into those tires: We've got three fantastic bike rides for ambitious urban exploring this summer. Before setting out, map your address to the ride's starting point using the ingenious Ride the City site, and bring a NYC Cycling Map (free at any good bike shop), since it marks bike shops and recommended alt routes.
Brooklyn Beach Cruise
Route: Beginning at 68th Street in Bay Ridge, the Shore Parkway Greenway ("Shore Rd Greenway" on Ride the City) wraps around Southwest Brooklyn, with great views along the water. At the southern end of Bensonhurst Park, the Greenway turns into a well-marked street route that will lead right down to Coney Island Beach and its cruise-able boardwalk. To explore beyond the Coney and Brighton beaches, turn right on Neptune Avenue and head east. The street picks back up with the Shore Parkway Greenway at Plumb Beach. After about two miles, the path intersects with the Flatbush Avenue Greenway; take a right for the Queens beaches at Fort Tilden, Jacob Riis Park, and the Rockaways.
Pit Stops: There is some great grub to be had in the vicinity of 68th St. in Bay Ridge that can serve as excellent pre-ride fueling or end-of-ride feasting: Tanoreen and Karam both serve seriously good (and cheap) shawarma, falafel and salads. When you get to Coney Island, reward yourself with a coal oven margherita at the original Totonno's. [Ed. Note: Totonno's is still closed after a recent fire. Any other reader suggestions?] If you make it all the way to the Rockaways, well, you deserve a beer, and the A train is right nearby to carry you home.
The Long Ride to Jersey
Route: Pick up the Hudson River Greenway at West Houston (303 West St. on Ride the City) to the exit for the George Washington Bridge, at 177th St. From the bridge exit to Hudson Terrace, the only exit off the bridge for bikers, head downhill, past Fort Lee Historic Park, to the entrance of Palisades Interstate Park. Inside, the park ride on Henry Hudson Drive is seven miles of steep, car-free road surrounded by forest and overlooking the Hudson.
Pit Stops: Along Henry Hudson Drive there are two turnoffs that head down from the cliffs to boat basins, either of which would make an excellent BYO picnic stop. The basins also provide a place to lock up your bike and head out to the park's numerous, excellent hiking trails. Before heading back over the GW, stop for food, groceries and sweets in Fort Lee's expanding Koreatown. Back in Manhattan, grab a cubano at Floridita to prepare for the trip back (there's also an A train stop at 175th if you're wiped).
Route: Take Greenpoint Avenue, in Brooklyn, east over the JJ Byrne Bridge and continue through Sunnyside to 60th St. 58th St.* in Queens. Make a left and then a right on 34th Ave. and keep going until you hit the northern end of Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Pit Stops: Along the way, the route passes through Queens -- most cheap-eats-rich neighborhoods. Among the best bites not too far off 34th Avenue are: dosas and Korean fried chicken in Jackson Heights, famous burgers and Thai in Woodside, and ices made from actual fruit in Corona. Flushing Meadows Corona Park itself is an untapped NYC treasure. From the Unisphere and the Freedom of the Human Spirit Sculptures to the Panorama of NYC, and New York Hall of Science, there's a ton to get into and it is all easily accessible by bike. The 7 train runs parallel to the Park, the food, and the route, so you can clamber on when the inevitable food coma strikes.
*Per one of our readers: "You'll need to make a left on 58th St. from Greenpoint/Roosevelt Ave. 60th Street has a dead end from being cut off by the LIRR train tracks. Also 58th St has a new bike lane that makes the ride a little easier."
Sent by Rachael.
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