This post was originally published on March 28th, 2020.
I wish I was writing this article under different circumstances. As the weather gets warmer , I always start to look forward to biking season – when I can jump on my trusty iron horse, load Pluto into the basket and go out there and start exploring. My favorite places to bike are actually outside of Manhattan – in Brooklyn and Queens, where the views of the island of Manhattan are stunning, food options are plentiful and dedicated bike lanes make getting around a breeze. Unfortunately as New York City is currently battling the Coronavirus outbreak, most of the places on this list are currently closed until further date. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t indulge ourselves in a little fantasy where the summer has come, businesses reopen, quarantine is over and we can all breathe a little easier 🙂 Bookmark this page until that time comes (and it will come – be it summer of 2020 or 2021!) and let’s get straight to it – here are my favorite summer bike rides in Brooklyn and Queens (and one in Manhattan) and I hope you get inspired to explore New York City from an all new perspective atop a bicycle.
About the bikes on this list. I tried to pick the best Hybrid Bikes on the market under $500. Hybrid (also known as City or Commuter bikes) are my preferred way to get around town. They combine the ruggedness and build of Mountain bikes with style and speed of Road bikes. A compromise of speed and durability perfect for everyday riding.
Ride #1: Downtown Brooklyn to Fort Greene and Bushwick
Start in metropolitan Downtown Brooklyn (it’s like being transported to another large city every time I visit). First stop at Fort Greene Park for a quick picnic or a tennis game. Bike on peaceful Willoughby Ave surrounded by brownstones and past Pratt Institute into Bushwick for vintage shopping, great food and fun dive bars.
Ride #2: Brooklyn Bridge Park to Dumbo and Vinegar Hill
Start with a beach volleyball game at Pier 6, grab Ample Hills Creamery delicious ice cream, then bike past outdoor bbq stations (and join one if you can, just bring your own supplies), and set up a quick picnic on many green areas of newly renovated Brooklyn Bridge Park. Afterwards end your ride in picturesque Dumbo where you can snap that photo with the Manhattan Bridge or by Jane’s Carousel.
Ride #3: Brooklyn Navy Yard to Williamsburg and Greenpoint
Start with a lox bagel at Russ & Daughters or a vegan BLT at Rip’s Malt Shop. Bike along the riverfront to newly opened Domino Park where you can play a game of beach volleyball or just relax on the lawn with stunning views of Manhattan. Continue on to Greenpoint known for it’s excellent cocktail bars and coffee shops. Finish by catching a free movie under the stars in WNYC Transmitter Park.
Ride #4: Pulaski Bridge to Long Island City and Astoria Park
After leaving Greenpoint, we enter Long Island City with newly built glitzy waterfront towers. Stop by the “Pepsi-Cola” sign at Gantry Plaza Park. Check-out many excellent microbreweries in the area – Fifth Hammer and Big Alice are my personal favorites. Bike on to Astoria and stop by the Noguchi Musem and Socrates Sculpture Park to get your cultural fix on the way to Astoria Park.
My Essential Bike Accessories
Ride #5: Williamsburg to Lower East Side over Williamsburg Bridge
Start in the heart of Williamsburg at Bedford Ave., a once hip neighborhood that has transformed into a more accessible and commercial hub, and go over Williamsburg Bridge into Manhattan’s Lower East side. Stop by Tenement Museum and Katz’s Deli. End your day vintage shopping and eating along 1st Ave.
BONUS RIDE: Battery Park to Columbia University via Hudson River Greenway
If you are biking in Manhattan, you can’t go wrong with the longest stretch of bike path on the Hudson River waterfront. Start in Battery Park in FiDi and cycle on all the way to Columbia University campus at 116th street for an 8 mile ride. Along the way you will bike past Chelsea Piers and Riverside Park – just watch out for joggers and tourists, especially around Soho and Chelsea areas as the bike path can get quite popular in the summer.
Happy Riding, Gems!