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Old 06-27-2011, 03:17 PM
Location: Rochester
9 posts, read 26,483 times
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I live outside the NYC area. I am an avid bicyclist and would like to take a few days to cruise around the city. I'm very familiar with Manhattan but curious if the route outside Manhattan goes through any "sketchy" areas. My route:

From Brooklyn Heights: Heading up to Roosevelt Island hugging the coast of the East River as much as possible. Looping around after Roosevelt Island and perhaps going over the bridge on Honeywell St.

Also, I am planning on riding north through Manhattan along the Harlem river to the George Washington bridge. Then, on my way back south I would like to take St. Nicholas Ave down to Central Park.

These are the only two routes I'm apprehensive about.

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Old 06-27-2011, 04:09 PM
Location: New York NY
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As long as its daylight I wouldn't be too worried at all about biking through almost any NYC nabe. The bigger concern is traffic, which is easiest to deal with, of course, the earlier you get out. (I hope you don't plan to ride at night--that's just crazy anywhere in NYC). If you're an expereinced cyclist, however, even moderate traffic on a weekend shouldn't be too bad: You know, always ride with the traffic ( so you don't get smacked by somebody turning from a cross street), stay a few feet from the curb so drivers can see you, watch for doors opening on the parking lanes, grates and potholes, dont run red lights, carry water, wear a helmet etc etc etc

But it'll be pretty difficult to come up on the East side of the East River to get to Roosevelt Island because there aren't a lot of thru streets. I ride in the city a lot so here's what I would do from Bklyn Heights to get to there:

Take Tillary st past the Manhattan Bridge (you might want to walk these few blocks) and then follow Park St underneath the BQE till you get to Bedford Ave. A left on Bedford, through Willamsburg and Greenpoint till you see the baseball fields on yr right and then keep straight ahead on Nassau till you get to McGuiness. (Nassau is also busy and commercial, so maybe walk if you feel uncomfortable there). Then left on McGuiness over the Pulaski bridge into Queens. Strongly recommend taking the pathways on the S. Side of the bridge, not the main roadway itself. Come off the bridge and take a left on Borden, then a right on Vernon Ave. which goes all the way up to 36th ave. where you swing a left onto Roosevelt Island. You'll ride by the PJs in Ft. Greeene, Williamsburg and LIC but no one has ever stopped or bothered me anywhere, even when I took a break and walked for a while. The problem will always be watching out for dangerous cars, not dangerous people. Riding Bedford is great too as you go through so many different nabes and really get a nice sense of Brooklyn, passing the Hasidim, the Puerto Ricans, the Polish and the hipsters. (Last year the Hasidim made a big deal at one point of riders going down Bedford dressed immodestly--you know, like girls in bike shorts. Don't know whatever happened with that but I've never seen any problems like that there.)

As to your second ride avoid going N in the city on the E. Side. The bikeways are basically non-existant after 34th St. So after that you'll be riding a long distance in traffic both Uptown and cross town. Its doable, but its much better and easier to go north on the West Side to get to the the GW. Come off the Brooklyn Bridge and go straight, all the way across Chambers St. (a busy stop and go street that you may want to walk) past the west Side Highway (West St), and onto the bike lane that hugs the Hudson. That's a clear beautiful ride straight up to the GW. It can get crowded on a sunny, warm weekend, but there's tons of cyclists of all capabilites here and its a lovely NYC experience. I love that ride. You can easily return the way you mentioned, down St. Nicholas, into Central Park, and back through the city to Brooklyn. IIRC, it's long steep climb up from the Hudson to 181st st.

Don't worry so much. Enjoy the rides!
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Old 06-28-2011, 06:25 AM
Location: Manhattan
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I'm a nervous Nelly and don't feel very comfortable anywhere except the SUPERB bikeway along the Hudson, or in Central Park. Taking the free ferry from the Battery to Governor's Island can provide a DELIGHTFUL day of biking.

Upper East Side sucks and if you MUST go North I think straight up First Avenue with fingers crossed is best. Midday traffic is light (for a Manhattan Avenue.) Forget the East River walkway, too narrow, too crowded and you will be slowly weaving around pedestrians...a tedious ride.

I did that Chambers Street cross-town and found it awful so I basically walked the bike and then I turned South onto West Street/highway and peddled like I've never pedalled before dodging insane kamikazi cabs doing 20 with no road shoulder. I made it to battery park but my knuckes were WHITE with terror...never again.

I swear, to bike safely in this City you need a MENTOR who has done all the dogwork for you.

My cowrdlly route, is right into Central Park and then round and round til I'm exhasted and then out again. Then the only think to worry about is the .5% dimwits who choose to go COUNTERCLOCKWISE putting everyone at risk.

When I'm feeling BRAVE I bike across town and get on the Hudson Bikeway...best ride in the Northeast.

(Let us know about St. Nicholas Avenue.)

To answer your question directly, Yes I would consider your route dangersous...but then I have spelled out how very frightened I am of those two ton things speeding along the roads trying to kill me.

Last edited by Kefir King; 06-28-2011 at 06:44 AM..
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:56 PM
Location: New York NY
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Can't say that I really love cycling in Central Park a lot because on a nice day it is SO crowded that it can be a bit of a pain steering around kids runnign loose in the bike lanes, people, like you say, going the wrong way around the park, or racers training and going full blast and almost hitting people. And a few years ago you even had to watch out for horses, for godsake! But they've closed the West Side stables now. Still, in the right mood and time of day I can enjoy it because it is so beautiful.

St. Nicholas Ave is a bike lane marked street for much of its length. The stret, though, is either all the up or all down, depnding on what direction you're going, because it rises from 116th St and 7th to 168th St in the Heights. A lot of cyclists use it, but coming downtown I prefer Edgecombe Ave for this stretch of Manhattan riding if I don't double back along the Hudson. Edgecommbe begins at 170th St. just east of Amsterdam, and is one-way downtown to about 140th St (it's two way traffic for a few blocks after that) where you can pick up St. Nicholas again at about 135th. Because its on a high ridge, you can also get some nice views of the city and the Bronx on Edgecombe. And while it is still city traffic, its generally just less busy than St. Nicholas.

BTW, one of the kicks I get riding in the summer is going through the nabes where kids have opened the fire hydrants. I know a lot of cyclists hate it, but that rush of fresh cold water on a hot day feels great to me!

Last thiing: If anybody wants another really cool breathtaking ride by the water dont forget the promenade that runs along the harbor in Brooklyn. The entrance is at Bay Ridge Ave. and Shore Rd and it runs a few miles along the water, underneath the Verazzano, and on to Bensonhurst. It's absolutely beautiful and if you're so moved, at the end of it you can meander through the local streets on to Coney Isalnd (where I once got ticketed, no less, for riding on the Boardwalk.) You can get there from Brooklyn riding down 4th Ave (nothing much to see there though) to Ridge Ave (69th St) and head downhill toward the water, or just take yr bike onto the R and get off at the Bay Ridge Ave stop.
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Old 06-30-2011, 12:23 PM
Location: Manhattan
21,401 posts, read 28,196,671 times
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That Belt Parkway ride is loveley and completely safe. Last time I did it my only worry was would I have the steam to make it back to New Jersey!

(Oops on my last post I think I got my CLOCKWISE and COUNTERCLOCKWISE mixed.)

You've got me excited and so I will be taking my first Central Park ride of the season on Monday. I hope none of the tires is hopelessly flat.

I think I'll skip the St. Nicholas route...all up or all down isn't appealing. I like ALL FLAT!
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:18 PM
Location: Brooklyn
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:24 PM
Location: New York NY
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^^ Love it!
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:58 PM
Location: Portland, Oregon
46,054 posts, read 29,419,657 times
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Awesome photo!! I am actually planning a bike ride around the coastline of Manhattan some time after I move there, just under 50miles if I remember correctly. Should be one hell of a bike ride, but I need to get back into shape for riding for that long at one time.
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Old 02-15-2012, 03:04 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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While biking past most housing projects should be fine, I'd be wary of biking past this one:

Brooklyn Cyclists: Beware Teenagers Throwing Bricks On Navy Street: Gothamist
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