Adventure

Keep Riding – 2 of Brooklyn’s Most Preferred Bike Paths

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.

Riding Along Shore Parkway
The entirety of the Shore Parkway path is about 4.5 miles one way. If you’re riding there, get ready for a 10+ mile trip. There are plenty of benches along the way if you need a break.Map of Bike Ride Along Shore Parkway

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:
Google Map of Brooklyn Bike Ride Path
If you perfectly time your entrance (or exit) from here, you’ll come face to face with:
Brooklyn Bike Riding
Beware: a short span of the path makes for a shaky ride due to post-Sandy road damage, but most of it has been redone. Enjoy looking at the Verazzano-Narrows Bridge, take in the peaceful scenery, and have a safe ride.

Brooklyn Bike Ride with the Verazzano-Narrows Bridge in the Background

Riding Along Flatbush Ave. and Floyd Bennet Field

Starting at the corner of E. 15th St. and Emmons Ave., crossing the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge and riding to the end of Beach 169th St. near Fort Tilden makes for about 5.7 miles one way. There are no benches here, so make sure you bring lots of water and snacks!
Google Map for Riding Along Flatbush Ave. and Floyd Bennet Field
The path can be slightly confusing at times, but there are plenty of signs to follow! It varies from quiet, tree-shaded spans to loud car-packed highways with clear blue-water views. Eventually, you’ll get to the bridge in this picture (make sure you take a minute to take in the view too):
Brooklyn Bike Ride
If you’re up for the ride (and why wouldn’t you be?), the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge will take you straight to the Rockaways.
Brooklyn Bike Ride Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge
It’s quite narrow, and I highly recommend you dismount your bike and walk it rather than death-grip your bike handles while trying to maneuver around the pedestrians and other cyclists. The walk is quite peaceful when you take the time to focus on the water.
Scenic Bike Ride in Brooklyn
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?

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