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  1. #1
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    Where can I ride in New York City and Long Island?

    I live in New York however I plan to travel around more rather than rely on a car. I know that "bicycles are allowed on ANY street or road except for Interstate Highways & other "limited access roads". Does this include turnpikes such as Jericho Turnpike? I'm thinking of having my parents bring my bike along in the car when we go to church then change into biking clothes to ride back home while they drive. Luckily, there seems to be side roads that I can use that are less traffic heavy.

    Also, are there any areas in the 5 Boroughs (Queens in particular) and Long Island (Between Queens and Nassau County that have great bike routes (Plenty of long descends and ascends and nice, large curves to speed around.)

    In my area, there is quite a bit of dirt and gravel on the streets as well as the lack of very smooth streets. Accordingly, I got a cyclocross bike with knobbed tires so I can handle such conditions. Unfortunately, there aren't too much long stretchs that have ascents, descents, and large curves to get into the spirit of road biking.

    Any suggestions from fellow cyclists in the NYC and Long Island area?

  2. #2
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    First, have you joined the New York Cycle Club or Five Borough Bike Club yet? If not, they're a fine way to learn interesting routes around the city and surrounding areas -- join the club, sign up for rides, and off you go.

    In terms of climbing and descending, I don't know LI too well -- it's kinda flat, so I don't head that way much. But if you head the other way, into the city, there's some options. Central Park actually is pretty hilly, particularly the northern part (though go at times when the tourists aren't out in force). The descent around the northern loop is fast with two sharp turns, and the climb up Harlem Hill is relatively short, but no joke. (The Cat's Paw on the east side is also a good time.) There's some interesting climbing in a small section on very northern park of the Hudson river park -- including one grade that's just about as steep as anything I've ever gone up (so steep I once lost traction), and a descent under the GWB that's super fast. (Mind the pedestrians in both areas, though.) And there's even a mountain biking course somewhere in Manhattan, if you're really adventurous.

    Beyond that, you'll want to get into New Jersey. There, we're talking Bradley Tweed, all the trees (Walnut, Chestnut, etc.), that hellacious climb out of the Palisades park -- lots of great riding, with ascents, descents, curves, the works. It's worth the trip. But join the clubs -- they'll take you out there and show you where to go.

    By the way, I'm sure you have a legal right to ride the Jericho Turnpike (it's just a four-lane) -- it just may not be that exciting.
    The most important thing is simply to ride.

  3. #3
    Senior Member OntheRun.'s Avatar
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    I guess you live closer towards Nassau County?

    I know Queens pretty well. Do you want to use more bike lanes if possible? If so, You should go to Northern Blvd and head over to where Cross Island Parkway is and ride through the park named "Joe Michaels Miles". (Do a few laps!) then head towards Little Bay park. This park is way shorter but still a nice view and road. When you get to the end I would probably just take Utopia all the way towards 46th ave (you just made a pretty big circle). Make a right on 46th and then a left on 164th street. Take 164th street all the way to Jewel ave, and make a right on Jewel. Head Towards Willow Lake/Fresh Meadow.

    You can either continue to take jewel Ave to Queens Blvd and take Queens Blvd all the way to the Queensboro Bridge and head over to Manhattan or Go through the park and head over to Northern Blvd, or 34street which is one block over from Northern that has a bike lane. Which will also take you to the Queensboro Bridge. There are also great places when you go head towards Astoria/Astoria Park.

    If you dont really care about using bike lanes, I also have some other roads you can take that are well paved and fun to ride. Lemme know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OntheRun. View Post
    I guess you live closer towards Nassau County?

    I know Queens pretty well. Do you want to use more bike lanes if possible? If so, You should go to Northern Blvd and head over to where Cross Island Parkway is and ride through the park named "Joe Michaels Miles". (Do a few laps!) then head towards Little Bay park. This park is way shorter but still a nice view and road. When you get to the end I would probably just take Utopia all the way towards 46th ave (you just made a pretty big circle). Make a right on 46th and then a left on 164th street. Take 164th street all the way to Jewel ave, and make a right on Jewel. Head Towards Willow Lake/Fresh Meadow.

    You can either continue to take jewel Ave to Queens Blvd and take Queens Blvd all the way to the Queensboro Bridge and head over to Manhattan or Go through the park and head over to Northern Blvd, or 34street which is one block over from Northern that has a bike lane. Which will also take you to the Queensboro Bridge. There are also great places when you go head towards Astoria/Astoria Park.

    If you dont really care about using bike lanes, I also have some other roads you can take that are well paved and fun to ride. Lemme know.
    I live in Queens. However, I go to Long Island occasionally on other days besides Sundays. Thanks for those roads.

    Please also tell me about roads w/o bike lanes.
    Last edited by j814wong; 05-15-13 at 10:43 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheOtherBob View Post
    First, have you joined the New York Cycle Club or Five Borough Bike Club yet? If not, they're a fine way to learn interesting routes around the city and surrounding areas -- join the club, sign up for rides, and off you go.

    In terms of climbing and descending, I don't know LI too well -- it's kinda flat, so I don't head that way much. But if you head the other way, into the city, there's some options. Central Park actually is pretty hilly, particularly the northern part (though go at times when the tourists aren't out in force). The descent around the northern loop is fast with two sharp turns, and the climb up Harlem Hill is relatively short, but no joke. (The Cat's Paw on the east side is also a good time.) There's some interesting climbing in a small section on very northern park of the Hudson river park -- including one grade that's just about as steep as anything I've ever gone up (so steep I once lost traction), and a descent under the GWB that's super fast. (Mind the pedestrians in both areas, though.) And there's even a mountain biking course somewhere in Manhattan, if you're really adventurous.

    Beyond that, you'll want to get into New Jersey. There, we're talking Bradley Tweed, all the trees (Walnut, Chestnut, etc.), that hellacious climb out of the Palisades park -- lots of great riding, with ascents, descents, curves, the works. It's worth the trip. But join the clubs -- they'll take you out there and show you where to go.

    Seems like I have to get some road slicks instead of using my current Kenda Kwick Trax.

    By the way, I'm sure you have a legal right to ride the Jericho Turnpike (it's just a four-lane) -- it just may not be that exciting.
    Those clubs seem to be focused in the city and I am not able to commute that far to participate in rides there. However, I'll eventually take a trip to those spots you suggested to give them a go.

    For a beginner like me, a four lane is plenty of thrill. Of course, I already know safety guidelines and rules like signalling so it's only a matter of not being intimidate by faster moving traffic. But I pass through there on various family trips to Nassau County so I would instead ride my bike instead of coasting along in the comfort of a car.

  6. #6
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    For a leisurely, not challenging ride in eastern Nassau, a big thumbs up for the Bethpage Bikeway:

    http://www.traillink.com/trail/bethpage-bikeway.aspx

    But if you're looking for big climbs, descents and curves this may be too tame for you. You might want to check out the Cold Spring Harbor area, but I don't have any specific suggestions there.

    Also of course you should be able to get useful info from a good LBS. I would definitely check in with the folks at Bike Junkie in Bethpage (google them) - knowledgeable, helpful people, and a bunch of MTB/Cross types seem to hang out at the shop.

    You could probably also get some good info on BF's NY Regional forum if you haven't checked in there yet.

  7. #7
    your god hates me Bob Ross's Avatar
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    The service road that parallels the Long Island Expressway in both directions is a fun bike route (presuming your definition of "fun" means "mostly flat"). Nice place to work on sprints & intervals since you can often go a couple miles at a stretch without encountering any traffic lights...and believe me, until you either go way out into Eastern Long Island or up into Westchester, Bergen, or Rockland counties, 2 miles without encountering a traffic light is a rarity. Enjoy it where you can.

  8. #8
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    Oh, all these wonderful routes, was in N.y in the '80s and boy would I love to return and cycle some of these places

  9. #9
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    Bikes are allowed on turnpikes, like Jericho Turnpike (Rte. 25)...which aren't real turnpikes; they're just called by that moniker. [You probably wouldn't want to ride on Jericho though...it would be very dangerous, until you're east of about Coram out in Suffolk county].

    Best places on the Island to ride are out in Suffolk- where you have thousands of miles of suburban streets to meander around... Nassau, for the most part, is too congested to be any fun- and not in the good way, like Manhattan [I'd rather ride in Manhattan than Nassau! At least in Manhattan, you are part of the traffic- and can usually even beat the traffic. Nassau, you're just in the way, on throbbing streets full of speeding motorists].

    Queens: Nothing really ride-worthy there, except perhaps Forest Park...or some of the more out-of-the-way places, like the Rockaway peninsula [hard to get to].

    My favorite places to cycle around Queens, were riding over the Triboro bridge to Wards Is./Randall's Island- you can keep busy there on a bike, and get some really nice views, in a park-like setting, without a lot of traffic.

    If you've never been to Roosevelt Island (In the East river, between Queens and Manhattan] you might want to also do that. You can ride over the bridge at the foot of 36th Ave. in Astoria, Queens- and Roosevelt Island- except for a few buses and maintenance vehicles, is car-free...and offers spectacular views of the skyline! I'd pick those islands before Queens, any day- or even before Nassau (I HATE Nassau!).....but if you get out to central or eastern Suffolk, or the north shore of Suffolk, that's where you can really ride.

    A cool ride might be to take the Triboro Bridge to Wards/Randalls...and if you get bored and need more...continue on to the Bronx; through Pelham Bay Park, and over to City island. See some of the lesser knon places.....

    EDIT: Oh, and if you're looking for some big, steep hills....you might want to brave Blue Point Road and Adirondac St.s in Farmingville, in Suffolk. Whoa! (It's the highest point on Long Island)
    11565047.jpg
    Last edited by MetalPedaler; 02-26-13 at 05:27 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member OntheRun.'s Avatar
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    Some roads without bike lanes that I enjoy are Metropolitan ave (my commuting route mainly), Woodhaven Blvd (this one has a bit of traffic), Main Street (I think they added bike lanes not too long ago in some parts), Union Turnpike which is pretty long and mainly flat with good roads. 73rd ave is quite good too. Riding around Cunningham park is quite fun. And then the last one is Forest Park which is a decent sized park to ride through. I ride through Jamaica sometimes, but I dislike it. Too many cars/traffic and messed up roads.

  11. #11
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    If I had to ride in Queens, one ride I would do, is the route of the Q67 bus, from Queens Plaza to Maspeth. That route goes through mostly off-beat industrial areas, where there is more space and less traffic....and when you get to the residential area of Maspeth, it's one of the nicer places in Queens [Well..it was..don't know if it still is...] and there are even hills there. [Nothing really big...but about as big as you'll find in Queens]

  12. #12
    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    If you're looking at Nassau, and want climbs and descents, stick to the north shore. Most of the south shore is pancake-flat.

    I've lived in a few places over the years. Long Island drivers are by far the worst I've ever encountered.

    Suffolk is a little better, both terrain and traffic wise. If you have a car, and a bike carrier, try some routes out there. North Country Road, from Kings Park to Port Jeff, is pretty nice. Rolling hills. It's actually a designated NYS bike route. Which won't insulate you from the occasional idiot motorist. But you'll run into fewer of them out there, especially at off-peak traffic times. Be careful of getting "doored" when you're riding in the commercial areas of the towns.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MetalPedaler View Post
    Bikes are allowed on turnpikes, like Jericho Turnpike (Rte. 25)...which aren't real turnpikes; they're just called by that moniker. [You probably wouldn't want to ride on Jericho though...it would be very dangerous, until you're east of about Coram out in Suffolk county].

    Best places on the Island to ride are out in Suffolk- where you have thousands of miles of suburban streets to meander around... Nassau, for the most part, is too congested to be any fun- and not in the good way, like Manhattan [I'd rather ride in Manhattan than Nassau! At least in Manhattan, you are part of the traffic- and can usually even beat the traffic. Nassau, you're just in the way, on throbbing streets full of speeding motorists].

    Queens: Nothing really ride-worthy there, except perhaps Forest Park...or some of the more out-of-the-way places, like the Rockaway peninsula [hard to get to].

    My favorite places to cycle around Queens, were riding over the Triboro bridge to Wards Is./Randall's Island- you can keep busy there on a bike, and get some really nice views, in a park-like setting, without a lot of traffic.

    If you've never been to Roosevelt Island (In the East river, between Queens and Manhattan] you might want to also do that. You can ride over the bridge at the foot of 36th Ave. in Astoria, Queens- and Roosevelt Island- except for a few buses and maintenance vehicles, is car-free...and offers spectacular views of the skyline! I'd pick those islands before Queens, any day- or even before Nassau (I HATE Nassau!).....but if you get out to central or eastern Suffolk, or the north shore of Suffolk, that's where you can really ride.

    A cool ride might be to take the Triboro Bridge to Wards/Randalls...and if you get bored and need more...continue on to the Bronx; through Pelham Bay Park, and over to City island. See some of the lesser knon places.....

    EDIT: Oh, and if you're looking for some big, steep hills....you might want to brave Blue Point Road and Adirondac St.s in Farmingville, in Suffolk. Whoa! (It's the highest point on Long Island)
    11565047.jpg
    Thanks. I'll go out to Suffolk some time. Roosevelt Island seems like a nice place to go to having a city feel but having far less cars.


    I definitely need to join a bike club to get to more places. The closest one to me, Kissena Cycling Club, has not responded to my emailk, Facebook message, Facebook thread posts, and Strava club posts. -.-

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    Quote Originally Posted by mprelaw View Post
    If you're looking at Nassau, and want climbs and descents, stick to the north shore. Most of the south shore is pancake-flat.

    I've lived in a few places over the years. Long Island drivers are by far the worst I've ever encountered.

    Suffolk is a little better, both terrain and traffic wise. If you have a car, and a bike carrier, try some routes out there. North Country Road, from Kings Park to Port Jeff, is pretty nice. Rolling hills. It's actually a designated NYS bike route. Which won't insulate you from the occasional idiot motorist. But you'll run into fewer of them out there, especially at off-peak traffic times. Be careful of getting "doored" when you're riding in the commercial areas of the towns.
    Thanks. N Country Road looks like a nice route. Maybe it's time for me to get some slicks instead of the commuter tires I got with my cyclocross bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MetalPedaler View Post
    If I had to ride in Queens, one ride I would do, is the route of the Q67 bus, from Queens Plaza to Maspeth. That route goes through mostly off-beat industrial areas, where there is more space and less traffic....and when you get to the residential area of Maspeth, it's one of the nicer places in Queens [Well..it was..don't know if it still is...] and there are even hills there. [Nothing really big...but about as big as you'll find in Queens]
    Off beat industrial areas? How safe is that?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by j814wong View Post
    Off beat industrial areas? How safe is that?
    Actually, they're in one of the safest areas of the city..... On the outskirts of some nicer residential areas...and not convenient to the subway. I used to WALK around that area late at night! Now if we were talking about the industrial areas of Brooklyn...well, then I might suggest an armored Hummer!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MetalPedaler View Post
    Actually, they're in one of the safest areas of the city..... On the outskirts of some nicer residential areas...and not convenient to the subway. I used to WALK around that area late at night! Now if we were talking about the industrial areas of Brooklyn...well, then I might suggest an armored Hummer!
    Ah ok. Thanks. I'll give it a go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MetalPedaler View Post
    Actually, they're in one of the safest areas of the city..... On the outskirts of some nicer residential areas...and not convenient to the subway. I used to WALK around that area late at night! Now if we were talking about the industrial areas of Brooklyn...well, then I might suggest an armored Hummer!
    gb-armored-poweredquadracycle-june18991.jpg

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by j814wong View Post
    I want one! [And that guy dresses better than most cyclists today!]

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