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Old 03-16-11, 01:38 PM   #1
mx22
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NYC: Brooklyn newbie - got the bike, what's next?:)

Hi guys,

Last time I rode the bike was around 20 years ago and now I again have one Completely clueless what to do next... Ordered helmet and some warm gear from real cyclist and hope to start riding this weekend, but... are there any safe places to learn riding the bike again and train? I live in Sheepshead Bay area and can only think of the route near Verrazano Bridge. I know there are bike lanes along Belt Pkwy, but those bridges look like a sure way to get myself injured...

Would appreciate any advice...

Thank You!
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Old 03-16-11, 03:38 PM   #2
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If you're anxious about riding in traffic, get yourself to Manhattan Beach and ride those streets until you feel comfortable.
When you feel more confident, ride the bike path on Ocean Parkway to Prospect Park and do laps in the park.
Good luck!
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Old 03-16-11, 06:29 PM   #3
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Try riding in Prospect Park, very enjoyable and safe especially on weekends. Also if you can get over to the West Side in Manhattan, the ride along the Hudson is terrific and very safe.
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Old 03-16-11, 06:50 PM   #4
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HEY, You're in Brooklyn !. GET used to traffic. Really, get over your fears and ride like you're a car.

Till that point, the bike path along the Belt is good to Flatbush Ave. Then head south on the path on the east side (ya' gotta' cross Flatbush), then head to the Marine Parkway Bridge ('Ya 'gotta cross again). The path over the bridge says "No bike riding". Ignore it, everybody and his uncle, INCLUDING the 50 or so newbie NYPD Bike Patrol officers, ride over the bridge (Yes, I encountered them all riding over the bridge one morning on my bike commute). Once in the Rockaways, you can go into Fort Tilden for some exploring, or head west to Breezy Point (Bikes allowed), down to Jacob Riis and along the water for a while, along the bike lane on Rockaway Beach Blvd, to B124 to the boardwalk and from there to Nassau County.

Or detour into Floyd Bennett Field before the Marine Parkway Bridge and just ride around for a while.

Note that the Belt Path is in disarray at Plumb Beach where a spring storm washed away the path. It's a short detour around in the grass and sand.

Also good is Bedford Ave. up to one of the cross streets before Brooklyn College (J or I) and head to Ocean Ave. then up to Prospect Park for a few laps.

After that, download the NYC bike map and explore.
http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bic...bikemaps.shtml

Riding in the boroughs is so friggin much fun. You see things you never new existed
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Old 03-17-11, 07:46 AM   #5
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I'll also recommend trying some rides with this group: www.5BBC.ORG
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Old 03-17-11, 07:59 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by mx22 View Post
I know there are bike lanes along Belt Pkwy, but those bridges look like a sure way to get myself injured...
The bridges aren't so bad (there's only one without a barrier where you're just on a raised sidewalk). Whenever I ride the Belt Pkwy bike path I'm always afraid of getting a flat, though. There's so much broken glass, at least on the section west of Canarsie. Somehow I never seem to get a flat, though. And there's a lot of construction now so it prob won't be as fun.

But yeah, Ft Tilden and maybe Floyd Bennett Field would probably be perfect to putter around and practice. No traffic, lots of space, & interesting stuff to see.
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Old 03-17-11, 09:57 AM   #7
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Thanks a lot for the response!

I guess I'll start with the path close to Verrazano and maybe venture out to Floyd Bennett Field a bit later. Is it still open though? I think you can only access Aviator and rest of the field is closed for access?
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Old 03-18-11, 12:58 PM   #8
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I would also recommend that you check out the 5 Borough Bike Club's day rides at 5bbc.org. In particular look for the easy rides with a happy face that are geared to people who are new to cycling or just getting back into it. And don't forget that you can take your bike on the subway 24/7, so if a ride starts at 10:00 at say City hall in Manhattan, just take the train to the start of the ride.

Also, you might want to consider checking out Bike New York and their classes for new/returning cyclists.

Good luck and this time next year hopefully you will move beyond happy face rides and be doing the 5BBC training rides and signed up to ride the Montauk Century in May.
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Old 03-18-11, 06:56 PM   #9
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Thanks a lot for the response!

I guess I'll start with the path close to Verrazano and maybe venture out to Floyd Bennett Field a bit later. Is it still open though? I think you can only access Aviator and rest of the field is closed for access?
All of Floyd Bennett is open to bikes, the entrance is just north of the bridge toll booth. No bike lanes, but the roads are wide and safe, some are runways.

Note that there is MAJOR construction underway on the Belt from Flatbush east and while the path is open, it's often a 6ft wide lane wedged between jersey barriers. No view, a friggin mess for the next 5 to 6 years while they re-build bridges. The Gerritsen inlet/Plumb Beach bridge is scheduled for construction as well in near future.

FWIW, I always found the Belt path east of Knapp street to have far less glass then the section west of Coney Island to the Verrazanno. The section east of Knapp St is easy to reach as it's right at the end of Emmons Ave.

SB
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Old 03-21-11, 09:39 AM   #10
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Thanks a lot for all of the responses! Tried the Verrazano route over the weekend; will do Prospect Park in the coming weeks.

Thank You!
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Old 03-24-11, 09:55 AM   #11
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Get a NYC Cycling Map, available at bike shops free or call 311.

From Sheepshead Bay: Head to the eastern end of Emmons Ave, where Knapp St. meets it. Enter the bike lane at the start of that parking lot. Proceed east.

Like someone noted, the path gets disrupted due to damage by the storm, but you can work your way through.

Bear right and cross Flatbush Ave. at the traffic light. Once on the other side, head left, which will bring you east. There are drawbridges. If you don't like riding on them, just walk your bike.

From there, you have miles of traffic free riding, with the exception of crossing the parking lot entrence of Canarsie Pier. There is construction around there, but you can proceed through it.

You can turn around whenever you want. My friends and I take that route to 84th Rd in Howard Beach, Queens, go south and eventually into Rockaway, making it back into Brooklyn over the Marine Parkway Bridge. Its basically one big loop around Jamaica Bay.

If you also like casual, social rides, and have nothing to do some nights, add your email address on Times-up.org. They do a lot of fun rides!
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Old 03-24-11, 10:00 AM   #12
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Go along the Belt Park, east of the Belt Parkway

Get a NYC Cycling Map, available at bike shops free or call 311.

From Sheepshead Bay: Head to the eastern end of Emmons Ave, where Knapp St. meets it. Enter the bike lane at the start of that parking lot. Proceed east.

Like someone noted, the path gets disrupted due to damage by the storm, but you can work your way through.

Bear right and cross Flatbush Ave. at the traffic light. Once on the other side, head left, which will bring you east. There are drawbridges. If you don't like riding on them, just walk your bike.

From there, you have miles of traffic free riding, with the exception of crossing the parking lot entrence of Canarsie Pier. There is construction around there, but you can proceed through it.

You can turn around whenever you want. My friends and I take that route to 84th Rd in Howard Beach, Queens, go south and eventually into Rockaway, making it back into Brooklyn over the Marine Parkway Bridge. Its basically one big loop around Jamaica Bay.

If you also like casual, social rides, and have nothing to do some nights, add your email address on Times-up.org. They do a lot of fun rides!
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Old 03-27-11, 11:52 AM   #13
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Yep, the NYC cycling map is excellent.
The best advice I've ever received regarding urban riding is to ride as if you are invisible. Always always keep that in mind, and never make any assumptions about what cars are going to do. Just because that car has a left blinker on doesn't mean they aren't going to turn right and mow you over.
NYC has always been a challenging place to ride, but Mayor Bloomberg has made the city a much safer place for cyclists. Stick the routes on the map at first, and you should be fine.
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Old 03-27-11, 06:52 PM   #14
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Yep, the NYC cycling map is excellent.
The best advice I've ever received regarding urban riding is to ride as if you are invisible.
Garagegirl, I assume you mean, Assume the cars can't see you so try to make yourself very visible, no?

When I first started riding in NYC 10 years ago, I hugged the cars on the right for fear of taking up any of the cars' turf. Since then I've learned you gotta get in the mix and make it very clear to cars that you're there, take the lane, point where you're turning, and, as you say, don't assume cuz the car has his left blinker on doesn't mean he's not turning right. Most of my near crashes were from getting in someone's blind spot on the right and him/her not having their signal on... and then turning. It's taught me to always use my directionals when I drive a car.

Anyway, MX22, welcome. Lots of great riding out there, and not only back into the heart of the borough but also toward Long Island. When you finally take to the streets, as others have said, pick up the NYC bike map and take it slowly. Soon you'll see it's the best way to see the city.
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Old 03-27-11, 08:14 PM   #15
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I meant never assume that a car sees you, no matter how assertive a rider you are.
And yes, you should also try to make yourself as visible as possible. Hugging the right makes you more likely to get doored or right hooked. Although yesterday I almost got doored on the left on a one way by a double parked car's passenger door. Gah!

Last edited by garagegirl; 03-27-11 at 08:22 PM.
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Old 05-10-11, 10:40 PM   #16
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Shore/Belt Parkway!!!
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