The weather has finally cooled down (and frankly, gotten a little soggy, though the weekend is supposed to be nice), but we still have some glorious bike-riding weather ahead of us. All of these rides are low-key, made-for-locals adventures where you can meet fellow bike lovers, indulge your inner history nerd, or check out a less-traveled corner of the city. Some of these rides take place on a monthly basis and some are one-time deals, and there are several on the list happening this weekend, including a beer-centric ride, a historic Waterworks tour (the two somehow pair nicely) and a family ride in Ditmas Park. We also spotted this Brooklyn By Bike ride across the Hudson to the Palisades on Facebook this morning.
All tours and group rides are BYO-bike and helmet.
North Brooklyn was once home to enough German immigrants to make it Germany’s third largest city. Their greatest legacy? Beer, of course. As part of New York Craft Beer Week, Matt Levy leads a three-hour tour of brew-centric sites in East Williamsburg and Bushwick. The ride begins at City Reliquary and covers more than 10 brewery buildings and other oft-overlooked remnants of the neighborhood’s once-thriving German community, from churches to singing halls. Matt promises a “special surprise” ending at Evergreen Cemetery, where the mausoleums of Brooklyn beer titans can be found. Another bonus: the price includes a mid-tour beer break at Matt Torrey’s.
October 2 and 3 at 1pm, $25 per person. Private tours also available upon request at Levys’ Unique New York.
Before Brooklyn was a borough, it was a city of its own with water works to match. The system was largely abandoned in 1898 when the city consolidated with New York but is still visible if you know where to look. Writer, and official Manhattan Borough Historian, Michael Miscione leads a 30-mile journey through the counties of Nassau, Queens and Kings, following the route that fresh water once flowed along, from the hinterlands into Brooklyn. Riders experience the crumbling architectural wonders of grand projects like the Milburn Pumping Station and Ridgewood Reservoir.
October 2 and 23 at 11am, $10 per person. Tickets on Eventbrite. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Ever wonder what lurks behind the foreboding walls of the two-hundred-year-old Brooklyn Navy Yard? Tour guide and Brooklyn local Adam Schwartz explains the 300-acre yard’s dramatic transformation from naval base to green industry center, which includes the borough’s first LEED Gold project and the city’s first wind turbines. The tour also touches on the yard’s better-known history as the country’s largest ship building facility, stopping at active dry docks and aging warehouses that have been repurposed for artist and artisan workspaces.
October 17, $25 per person. Sponsored by the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, the Brooklyn Historical Society, the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, and Urban Oyster.
If you have yet to experience the Victorian-lined streets of Ditmas Park, let these dedicated locals give you the grand tour by bike. Every Friday, the group meets up at the Egyptian coffee shop Qathra for a leisurely, play-it-by-ear evening ride. The tradition was started by neighborhood parents teaching their kids to ride their bikes, but has expanded to include residents and Ditmas-curious visitors of all ages. Invited guests often stop by to show off specialty bikes, like the cargo-ready Bullit or elegant Pendersen.
Fridays at 7pm, free.
Once a month the grassroots environmental group TimesUp! leads a late-night ride through Prospect Park. Departing from Grand Army Plaza, the route covers paths normally closed to bikers. You’ll pass sites like the Lefferts Dutch farmhouse and waterfalls, but the real thrill is experiencing the park in the dark of night. The ride runs year-round even in the snow and draws up to 40 people when the weather is good. Bring a bike light if you have one. Skilled skaters are also welcome. Second Saturday of the month at 9pm, free.
Brompton folding bike enthusiast and foodie Steven Huang started these cheerfully-named rides in May, leading groups on themed 10-15 mile rides to sample everything from fish and chips to Chinese mooncakes. In November, version 4.0, “B.Q. Eat Yummies,” will meet at FIT in Manhattan, then travel through the Lower Eastside and across the Williamsburg Bridge to indulge in autumn pumpkin treats throughout Brooklyn and Queens. A Brompton bike is required to join in the fun, but if you’re not an owner, Steven can help you find a dealer that does test rides.
November 20, time TBD, pay as you wish.