Just a month late for bike-to-work day ...
April 19, 2010 5:15 PM   Subscribe

NYC bikers! What's the best way to get from Ridgewood, Queens, to the Financial District?

Hey, y'all-- I'm moving back to New York after 10 years of living in Charlottesville, the sort of South. The move brings up a number of questions (such as how long it will take for me to stop saying "y'all"), but my primary one is this: I've been biking to work primarily for the past year or so, and want to keep doing it once I move up to the city.

I'm a little worried about biking through the city, not to mention the insane climb over the Williamsburg bridge. Are there any routes that aren't that hard / safer than others?

(Also, if you don't know, since I didn't and most of my friends didn't, Ridgewood can be roughly defined as "Just north of where the M crosses the L.")
posted by thecaddy to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total)
 


Sorry, I should have specified: I'm aware of the google maps link, but considering their subway directions are more or less useless (take this transfer that will cost you five minutes so you don't have to walk half a block!), I'm looking for personal recommendations on routes.
posted by thecaddy at 5:25 PM on April 19, 2010


I use this site Bikely for finding routes. I searched for Ridgewood, Queens so perhaps you will find a chunk of your route there (or all of it).
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 5:44 PM on April 19, 2010


Flushing Ave is the best street in Brooklyn to bike on BY FAR. And the Manhattan Bridge is easier than the Williamsburg.
posted by nathancaswell at 5:56 PM on April 19, 2010


Ride the City is a better bike route mapping site.
posted by moedym at 5:59 PM on April 19, 2010


I'd take Atlantic Avenue to Adams street and take the Brooklyn Bridge. Then head south.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:59 PM on April 19, 2010


I'm hardly a professional bike rider, and I think biking across the Williamsburg Bridge really isn't that difficult. (of course, I've never tried it on a fixed gear bike)
posted by dcjd at 7:16 PM on April 19, 2010


I asked about which bridge to take before, and I've been biking both since. The Williamsburg is currently under construction, only one side is dealing with all of the traffic the first warm weeks bring, but I still prefer the Williamsburg half of my commute to the Manhattan half.

yoyoceramic's link has a pretty good Manhattan-side route. I don't know where, precisely, you'll end up, but it's a good start. Clinton> E B'way>Pike>FDR is as simple and safe as you can get (although I find getting onto the East River Greenway itself a pain). Once you get used to riding on the streets, (which should scare you even if you do it every day; it'll keep you alert!) you'll be able to take more direct routes. I've found the streets down there a bit more harrowing than further uptown, but manageable.

While I can't speak for the Queen/Brooklyn side, it certainly looks very reasonable.

I don't know how Charlottesville was, but NYC is brutal on tires. Invest in bulletproof tires, and blissfully ignore all of the glass and debris that is scattered everywhere. I'm very happy with my Schwalbe Marathon Pluses.

Always carry a Metrocard, and have a general sense of where the subway lines run in relation to your route.

Check other Ask questions for tons of amazing advice on NYC and general city biking.

About Flushing Ave: it's not all that great all the time, and there's a lot of speeding there by careless drivers. The city is converting it to a one-way street with a two-way protected lane, at which point it will definitely be a great route. It's also an extra mile of riding to get to the Manhattan Bridge which is not as smooth or wide as the Williamsburg, not to mention the fact that it's a chained-in corridor vs. a beautiful open platform, so still not the best route for you.

Do not ride Atlantic Ave. It is the most direct route for many destinations, but it's not great for biking. If it's a weekend, between 11am and 3pm, and you're on it for a couple of blocks, maybe. But that's it. Of course, it's way out of your way, but thought I should mention that it's a street you should generally avoid riding.

posted by mhz at 7:35 PM on April 19, 2010


Have you seen the NYC bike map? That link is to a PDF (4Mb, 2010 edition); it'll give you something to think about between now and moving to somewhere you can pick up a large-format printed copy. I'm new to cycling in New York, but my impression is that there are a lot more bike-routes about than in the past.
posted by lapsangsouchong at 8:38 PM on April 19, 2010


Don't know the Bklyn side too well, but mhz's thread has a lot of useful info. If you need to cross over quicker you might skip FDR and take E Broadway through five points and city hall plaza to Reade.

although I find getting onto the East River Greenway itself a pain
If you take a left at Grand or E Broadway, Montgomery has a bike lane straight down to the FDR.

What I'd like to know is how to do the turnaround from the bike path at the Staten Island Ferry terminal to the West Side Highway.
posted by minkll at 11:14 PM on April 19, 2010


What I'd like to know is how to do the turnaround from the bike path at the Staten Island Ferry terminal to the West Side Highway.

I used to do a loop with my pal from UWS down the WSH and around the battery backup the east side. There is no decent connecting bike path between where the promenade on the waterfront ends in that small kind of "park," and where the bike path on the east side begins (which is a ways above the ferry terminal, actually). Most of the promenade on the west side is bike-friendly (unlike on the UWS, where there's a separate bike path), so you can use that all the way to the bottom of Battery Park, but then your only option is to take the streets that border the Financial District, wind around in front of the (old) ferry building, and then take the streets along the FDR and in front of the hospital building until the bike path finally starts (be careful here with vehicle traffic).

The rather under-developed bike path in this lower section on the east side is why I would recommend to the OP to take the Brooklyn bridge into the city, unless the route that would require on the Brooklyn side is somehow worse than the limited choices on the east side of Manhattan.
posted by allkindsoftime at 2:40 AM on April 20, 2010


Your new employer has bike storage, right? Many a Manhattan bike-commute plan fails on that...
posted by MattD at 3:26 AM on April 20, 2010


The rather under-developed bike path in this lower section on the east side is why I would recommend to the OP to take the Brooklyn bridge into the city, unless the route that would require on the Brooklyn side is somehow worse than the limited choices on the east side of Manhattan.

The route in Brooklyn can be good. I stand by my Flushing Ave comment from earlier. But if you're not taking the Williamsburg the Manhattan bridge is better than the Brooklyn bridge because the Brooklyn bridge is often crowded with tourists standing around staring at stuff and taking pictures. The Manhattan bridge is ugly but has two separate paths, one for cyclists and another for walkers. The worst thing you usually encounter there is the occasional rollerblader, who are tricky to pass on the small path, you have to time it right.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:44 AM on April 20, 2010


Although I will admit that the path exiting the Manhattan bridge on the Manhattan side is a pain in the ass on a fixed bike without brakes. It's pretty steep, and has a 90 degree turn directly into Chinatown traffic. Get your skip on, cause you can't really skid the stop, it's too steep.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:47 AM on April 20, 2010


Just came across this website, which might be useful to you in a more general kind of way. For example: You mentioned the Williamsburg Bridge--they have a page where they try, especially in winter, to post reports about whether the bike paths on the bridges are open. Other stuff, too.

If anyone's still there.
posted by lapsangsouchong at 7:46 PM on May 9, 2010


« Older What are hubcaps for?   |   Does civility work? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.