By Leyla Shamayeva
The hustle and bustle of busy Brooklyn streets leaves few options for dedicated cyclists to enjoy long, uninterrupted rides. Riding down Ocean Parkway’s bike path is nice…if you don’t mind stopping at a red light every few minutes. The designated paths on most streets are convenient…if you don’t mind maneuvering around the occasional double parked truck. And forever-crowded Prospect Park? Nobody has time to watch out for kids, cars, and pedestrians!
If you’re looking for a better ride, or just something different, there’s no need to travel far. My two favorite go-to’s will likely become yours too. Shore Parkway offers a beautiful view of the New York Bay, and the Flatbush Ave. path along Floyd Bennett Field leads you straight to the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge and the Rockaways. Ironically, both paths span the side of a highway but still have a peaceful out-of-the-city air you really can’t help but enjoy.
The Belt Parkway spans the length of the path, so you can’t just cross over wherever you feel like. Instead, pick a go-to starting point. Depending on where you’re coming from, my 3 suggestions are to enter from:
- Bay Parkway (green point on the map): The Caesar’s Bay Shopping Center is also conveniently located here should you choose to visit Kohl’s, Modell’s, Best Buy, Toys “R” Us, or grab a slice of pizza at Pizza D’Amore after your ride. If you’re driving to this path, you should definitely start here so that you can easily park your car in the enormous parking lot. You might get annoyed with the handful of pedestrians in the first half mile or so, but there aren’t as many later on. Promise.
- Bay Ridge Avenue (red point on the map): This point is located right next to Owl’s Head Park, full of peaceful greenery and breathtaking views. Pro tip: plan a relaxing picnic day there and incorporate the bike ride into it. There’s usually an ice cream truck here too, so grab a cone and enjoy it on the American Veterans Memorial Pier.
- 17th Avenue (slightly before the 1 mile mark on the path): This is my preferred entry point, mainly because it lets me avoid all those pedestrians in the first half mile of the path (plus, it’s closer to me). If you ride down 17th Ave. you can cross right through Bath Beach Park, climb over a small bridge, and get to riding. Here is a close-up map:
When you get off the bridge, look around for Maria’s Breezy Dog, the famous Rockaway food truck serving to-die-for milkshakes and filling food. I give their chicken pita bread a 5 out of 5. Grab something, head the boardwalk and relax before you head back.
What’s your favorite Brooklyn bike path?