Belt ParkwayCanarsie Pier
Type of Bike: Hybrid , Road Bike
Distance: 4 miles one way-with many options for longer rides
Bike path with some urban street riding
no motorized vehicles on bike path but lots of joggers, cyclists and walkers
NYC Cycling info: http://www.ci.nyc.ny.us/html/dep/html/welcome.html
Great NY Harbor Views, Coney Island, Sheepshead Bay
This trail was originally built in the 1940's to provide bike and pedestrian access to the beaches and recreational areas along Jamaica Bay. Recently, it has been re-surfaced with a fresh coat of blacktop from just east of the Canarsie Pier all the way to Knapp Street in Sheepshead Bay, and special lanes have been designated for bikers, walkers, and rollerbladers. It's a bit of a disappointment to me, though, as it hasn't really been maintained very well.
Directions to Start Ride
Start the trail at The Canarsie Pier in the Gateway National Recreation Area. You can reach this by taking the Belt Parkway to Exit 13 (Rockaway Avenue) and following the signs a short distance south of the parkway.
Mile by Mile
Connecting To The Western Section of The Trail
When you reach Knapp Street after approximately five miles, you have the option of connecting with the western portion of this trail by riding ''on-road'' for about 4.5 miles through some interesting sections of Brooklyn. To do this, at the end of the path at Knapp Street, continue straight onto Emmons Avenue and carefully ride or walk your bike through Sheepshead Bay. You may even want to stop here to watch the fishing and party boats take off into the harbor or to have a snack or meal at one of the area's great Italian restaurants. Where the water ends, you'll see a Holocaust Memorial Park on your left. This is Manhattan Beach. Shortly after, the name of the road changes to Neptune Avenue. If you're interested, ask someone here for the best way to detour to Coney Island for a look at what that once bustling tourist spot has become. If not, continue on Neptune to Cropsey Avenue and make a right. Here, you'll cross over a small bridge. At the very end, make a left onto 52nd Street, and a quick right onto the sidewalk that parallels the Belt Parkway service road. Take this sidewalk all the way to the Toys R Us shopping center in Bensonhurst and find the continuation of the paved path in the far corner along the water.
Western Section - Bensonhurst to Bay Ridge
If you don't mind putting up with a lot of trash scattered along the bike path, this is a great ride full of waterviews, history, and interesting characters! To start at this point, take the Belt Parkway to Exit 5 (Bay Parkway) and enter the Toys R Us parking lot just south of the exit. Park legally and enter the trail in the far corner of the lot, along the water. Otherwise, continue from the point described in the above connection.
This path will take you right under the Verazzano Bridge, the world's largest single-suspension bridge (built in 1964) and past Fort Hamilton, built on a hill from which the Continental Army confronted invading British warships in 1776. For the entire trip, you'll be riding along the lower New York Bay, watching giant freight vessels from all over the world enter and exit New York Harbor. This historic waterway housed a prison for Confederate officers during the Civil War (now the Brooklyn footing for the bridge) and, during WWII, was protected from German U-Boats by a giant net, now on display at the Harbor Defense Museum in Fort Hamilton.
The trail runs about 4 miles until you reach the DEP Wa up Bay Ridge Parkway (on the road now, so be extremely careful!) to Ridge Avenue. Make a left (Ridge becomes 2nd Avenue) and continue approximately 13 blocks to 58th Street (first left after Brooklyn Army Terminal). This will take you to the ferry. NOTE: The ferry costs $5 each way and only runs during morning and evening peak hours!
2. To reach the Brooklyn Bridge from Owl's Head Park, take 66th or 67th Street to 3rd Avenue, which runs under the Gowanus Expressway, and make a left. At approximately 2.5 miles, bear left onto Hamilton Avenue. At less than a mile, make a right onto Clinton Street. At 1.5 miles, Clinton bends right and turns into Tillary Street. As you approach Flatbush Avenue, you'll see the bridge on your left and the entrance to the bike path. Be careful crossing the streets here! NOTE: This route was sent to me by a visitor to the site. I haven't tried it myself, but I'll try to add more detail when I do. Also, note that Brooklyn Heights, just a few blocks from the entrance to the bridge, has a lot of outdoor cafes for lunch or dinner. BONUS OPTION! After you cross the Brooklyn Bridge, if you can work your way across town to Battery Park City (just ask!) you can connect to the bike trail that runs all along the water there. This is turning into a whole day's worth of riding, isn't it???