It’s a sunny afternoon in good old New York City. You’re riding your bicycle, minding your own business like you should. The sun is shining, the sky is clear, and all is well on God’s green earth. That is, until some soccer mom driving a SUV totally cuts you off and sending you up and over the bicycle handle and smack onto the concrete pavement. But wait a minute – this must be your lucky day, because to cushion your fall there was a piece of dog poop which was clearly waiting in anticipation. So, who’s to blame? Well, with due justification, it’s you wise guy, because that’s what bike lanes are there for.
Back in 2007, Queens had around 1.5 miles of bike lanes. That number grew significantly over the past few years, and bike lanes in Queens are likely to cross 26 miles during the next few years as well. As May is NYC bike month, here’s a list of some of the bike lands in Queens. So, get up, dust off your jeans, and blow on your open wounds. Now read this.
Cross Island Parkway Greenway-Bayside
The Cross Island Parkway Greenway goes all the way up to Alley Pond park, which means there’s plenty to explore apart from the open sky and the sailboats. The trail also goes past two other parks, Crocheron Park and John Golden Park, both of which offer some great views.
Forest Park Trail
Another scenic route is the Forest Park Trail. Cyclists will notice that there are three types of trails here, yellow, orange and blue. The Yellow trail is obviously made for hikers, with lots of stairs to climb, while the blue offers cyclists a twisted single track. The orange trail is nice and long, and offers a couple of down hills cyclists will definitely appreciate.
credit: Scott Dexter
If you’re looking for panoramic views of the city, the Astoria bike lanes extend all the way from 20th Ave to Astoria Park South, which splits up between Astoria Park proper and Ralph deMarco Park. Beware that the bike lane is shared by walkers, runners, bladders and cyclists once you hit Ditmars Blvd. and 20th Ave.
Flushing Bay Promenade-Flushing
Just behind LaGuardia Airport you will find the Flushing Bay Promenade bike lane, which is not exactly one of the more picturesque routes, but is definitely one that does not deserve to be ignored by the frequent cyclist. While you paddle your way through this relatively empty route, you can see the boat docks and even have a peek in a popular Indian wedding banquet hall while you’re at it.
credit: Doug Kerr
Vanderbilt Motor Parkway-Fresh Meadows
The Vanderbilt Motor Parkway is probably one of the most peaceful bike ways you will find in Queens. Once a toll road and an automobile racecourse, today Vanderbilt Motor Parkway has managed to shake off its rugged past and provides a calm and peaceful getaway for cyclists in New York. The Motor Parkway also happens to be one of the most picturesque bike lanes in the city, because of the lush green forest of Cunningham Park. The Vanderbilt Motor Parkway is also home to some of the best mountain biking trails in New York, so there’s also something for those who are looking forward to something a bit more rugged than the bike ride.
Queensboro Bridge & Queens Plaza-LIC
Once upon a time, making your way to the Queensboro Bridge meant grinding your pace to that of a limping snail. Fortunately, there are now two buffered two-lane bike paths which lead up to it, which makes the ride all the more relaxing, and presses the urge to jump off the bridge. This bike lane offers a satisfying climb and a safe decent along with a rewarding view, which you will have to enjoy before you hit midtown.
34th Avenue-Jackson Heights-Corona
34th Avenue is mostly a bike lane heaven today, but when it comes to bike-friendly streets, 24th Avenue, Jackson Heights is one of the better known bike lanes in the city. Enjoy the views of the tree lined bike lane along with the famous Jackson Heights as you make your way all the way to 114th Street. And while you will find double parked cars and the occasional jay walker, it still is a fun and quick way to soak in the vibe of three very different neighborhoods within 15 minutes, a good deal for the explorer.
May is the official bike month for New Yorkers, with quintessential biking events strategically sprinkled across the city. If you want to spend some time on two wheels, look up the many cyclist-loving events in New York City, and challenge your levels of fitness.