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My Favorite Brooklyn-Queens Bike Route

Issue 281

Enjoy this 69-mile bike ride all in one day, or do it in sections.

Derek Ludovici Aug 3, 2023

One of my favorite activities in the summer and fall is taking long bike rides around the outer boroughs. It’s a great way to get to summer fun like the Rockaways, or to meet up with friends at a park. With a transit system designed to carry people to and from Manhattan, biking is a great alternative to explore all that the outer boroughs have to offer. My go-to loop takes you along much of the perimeter of Queens and Brooklyn in just under 69 miles. If this already sounds intimidating, don’t worry; each section can be done as a much shorter loop.

The ghost of Robert Moses joins you as you navigate around expressways. 

For this ride, I would bring spare tubes, enough snacks for two stops and plenty of water. A smartphone will be useful, as some parts of this ride are a little complicated. I try to give precise directions at the most convoluted parts, but it’s useful to look at the map ahead of time, and if you are in an area that’s new to you, at the start of each section head.

I’ve written directions that sketch out the way I normally take the route, but you can start anywhere. If you will be on the Bay Parkway, Belt Parkway, or Cross Island Parkway sections of this route after dusk or dark, I suggest riding the route in the opposite direction of what I wrote, or you will have headlights in your face, and it will be dangerous and unpleasant.

Northern Queens

Take 20th Ave. to Hazen Blvd, Ditmars ave. from Astoria park. This will take you all the way to Marine Terminal at LaGuardia Airport. Take caution merging onto 82nd St. and then turning onto 23rd ave, which will lead to a traffic circle where Ditmars ave begins again, at the Laguardia Marriott. Its worth the traffic and hills to enter the Flushing Bay Promenade. Where you can stop and watch the planes land, along with egrets fishing in the tall grass of the bay.

For those who want a short ride, you can turn off at Citi Field and enter Flushing Meadows Park before looping back home, but this path will take you all the way to the pedestrian bridge on the northern blvd bridge to Main St. Flushing.

Exit onto prince st, making a right onto 35th ave and then a left onto the shared bike path on Parsons Blvd. Continue until the Hua Lian Supermarket, making a right on Willets Point Blvd. taking this all the way to Utopia Parkway. After you get passed the Cross Island Exps Exit, there is a path that will take you into Little Bay Park/Fort Totten.

Take in the view of the Whitestone and explore the preserved buildings of the fort. This is a good time to hydrate and refill your water.

Eastern and Central Queens

From there take the Cross Island Greenway, a nice pedestrian path squeezed between the expressway and Little Neck Bay. It will take you all the way back to northern blvd. Make a right onto the bike lane and ride up to 223rd St, make a left and follow the bike path for a ride around Alley pond park and some of the hillier riding of this trip.

The ghost of Robert Moses joins you as you try to find a safe route not cutoff by expressways. I have found the best route is to take 73rd Ave all the way to Parsonson Ave making a left onto it. From Parsons take a right on Coolidge, then left on 135th and right onto Hoover. This will take you across Queens blvd. If you have the green light, sprint across Queens Blvd to take one of the toughest hills of the loop. Make a right onto Kew Gardens Blvd, then a left 80th rd, another left onto Park Lane, and then enter the park at Metropolitan.

You can stop and watch egrets fishing in the tall grass of the Flushing Bay Promenade.

Once in Forest Park enjoy the serenity and cooler temperatures that Queens’s only forest can provide. If you are looking to get back to Western Queens follow the path all the way over Woodhaven Blvd, past the bandstand, and loop around the golf course. Once out of the park take 80th St. and the bike lanes and signs should guide you in the right direction home.

Southern Queens to South BK

If you are continuing on your 69 mile journey, take the path in forest park only until the exit that meets up again with Park Ln. Go down to 105th and then 104th at Jamaica Ave. Take 104th to Rockaway Blvd. Make a left and then turn right at Centerville, which will turn into Linden. Make a left at Hawtree, which will turn back into Centerville, and then a left onto Eckford, which will merge you onto the continuation of Hawtree, in turn becoming Cohancy and taking you over the Belt Parkway. Make a right onto 157th ave and take it to 84th St, make a right and then a left onto the Belt Parkway Greenway.

Belt Parkway section

Alternatively you can cross woodhaven on 157th and then bike south all the way to bike paths through Broad Channel over to the Rockaways. Bike all the way to Riis and over the bridge to meet back up with the belt parkway. [note: for the full 69 miles, take the Rockaways]

If traversing the Rockaways I highly suggest eating at Tacoway Beach on Beach 87th St. and Rockaway Fwy to refuel. The boardwalk also has plenty of options along your way.

Alternatively pack a lunch and eat at Shirley Chisholm Park along the Belt Parkway.

For shorter rides, take the belt and exits at Fountain Ave, Pennsylvania Ave, Carnarsy Piers, or Flatbush Ave for routes north through Brooklyn to your preferred path home.

South Brooklyn and the Water Front

The Belt Parkway will take you all the way to Plumb Beach Recreation Area, dropping you on Emmons Ave. From Emmons you can either wind down to the board walk or take Neptune Ave. to Cropsey Ave. Make a left onto Bay 53rd st and follow the bike path all the way to the Shore Parkway Bike Path.

Once you cross Bay Pkwy, enjoy the path as it becomes a promenade that runs along the Hudson, under the Verrazano, all the way to Owls Head Park. Take the path through the park and then go up to 4th Ave which will get you to downtown brooklyn. Or, as I prefer, cut into Red Hook via the 9th st. bridge and ride outside the piers until Brooklyn Bridge park. I always make a stop at Four and 20 Blackbird (3rd ave. and 8th St.) on for a slice of pie before the final push.

For a shorter route, take Bedford Ave. It’s a straight shot from Emmons Ave. in Sheepshead Bay to McCarren Park Greenpoint.

North Brooklyn to Astoria

Go through Dumbo via front st. to Navy St. and then down to Flushing Ave. Take the path around the Navy Yard, then follow the bike path up Kent taking either West or Franklin St. to Eagle over to the Pulaski Bridge. Once over the Newtown Creek take Vernon Blvd all the way to 8th St. One final hill gets you to 27th Ave. Take a right and then a left on 12th St. Coast down hill to Astoria Park. Stretch out while enjoying its grassy meadows and view of the river as trains pass on the Hell gate Bridge.

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