Hop on your cruiser or souped-up road bike, it's time to hit the road and take in the sights! Summer is the perfect season to enjoy some sweeping views of the outer boroughs. Visit the Rockaways, Socrates Sculpture Park and more, and be sure to stop at our recommendations for delicious eats along the way. Get ready to explore and bike New York with these fantastic itineraries.
Destination: Fort Tilden
Fierce waves and an unofficial clothing-optional policy made Fort Tilden hugely popular among New Yorkers without Hamptons homes, until the National Park Service closed it after Hurricane Sandy. Great news: The beach has finally reopened. It’s a long ride, but it’s mostly flat. Let the Atlantic wash away the sweat of a solid trek, and make headway on that paperback you’ve been toting around.
Refuel: Cruise over to Rockaway Taco (95-19 Rockaway Beach Blvd at Beach 96th St, the Rockaways, Queens; 347-213-7466, rockawaytaco.com) for an antojito taco ($3.50), along with a refreshing cucumber, mango and jicama salad ($4).
Route: From the Williamsburg Bridge, take Wythe Avenue south and continue along Franklin Avenue, passing doughnut shop Dough. Turn left at Nostrand Avenue, and take an immediate right onto Bedford Avenue. Take Bedford Avenue south—past Brooklyn College and the Sears, Roebuck Building—until it ends at the waterfront. Turn left onto Emmons Avenue, then continue for a half mile and merge onto the Belt Parkway Greenway for two miles. Merge onto Flatbush Avenue, pass Floyd Bennett Field and cross the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge. Turn right on Rockaway Point Boulevard, and theFort Tilden beach entrance is on your left. From the beach, head east along the Jacob Riis Park promenade and take Rockaway Beach Boulevard for 2.5 miles to Rockaway Taco.
Destination: Crotona Park
If you’ve exhausted the obvious uptown destinations—the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden; both are accessible by bike—check out Crotona Park (1700 Crotona Ave at Claremont Pkwy, Bronx). The green space boasts an Olympic-size pool—the Bronx’s largest—a 3.3-acre lake and 28 species of trees (the shade will come in handy).
Refuel: Since 2008, Mexicocina (503 Jackson Ave at 147th St, Bronx; 347-498-1055,mexicocinabronx.com) owner and chef Antonio Vilchis has served classic dishes from his home state of Puebla with a few original twists (e.g., bacon in the cheesy meat-fest alambres).
Route: From Manhattan, bike across the Willis Avenue Bridge and take Willis Avenue north. Continue onto Third Avenue, and then turn left onto East 150th Street. Take an immediate right onto Melrose Avenue and continue onto Park Avenue. At Claremont Parkway, turn right and enter Crotona Park. Then ride south on Prospect Avenue and take a slight right onto Southern Boulevard. Turn right onto East 147th Street and continue for four blocks to Mexicocina.
Destination: Socrates Sculpture Park
Socrates Sculpture Park (32-01 Vernon Blvd at Broadway, Astoria, Queens; 718-956-1819, socratessculpturepark.org; free) was a derelict waterfront dumping ground until 1986, when a coalition of artists and community leaders, led by sculptor Mark di Suvero, enlisted local youths to transform it into an outdoor exhibition space and public park. On May 11, the space welcomes two new pieces: Queen Mother of Reality, pictured, a stunning megalithic sculpture by visionary Polish artist Pawel Althamer, and Scarecrow, a site-specific installation by artist Žilvinas Kempinas.
Refuel: After you enjoy the art and stunning views of Roosevelt Island and Manhattan, ride into Jackson Heights for authentic North and South Indian delicacies. Dosa Delight(35-66 73rd St at 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, Queens; 718-397-1000, dosa-delight.com) offers gut-busting thalis, or combo plates ($8.99–$14.99), and dosas that will steal your heart.
Route: From the Williamsburg Bridge, take Kent Avenue north past East River Park and continue onto Franklin Street. Turn right onto Eagle Street and cross the Pulaski Bridge to Long Island City, Queens. Turn left onto Jackson Avenue, then right to take 51st Street to Vernon Boulevard. Turn right and follow the Vernon Boulevard bike path for two miles, passing under the Queensboro Bridge, to Socrates Sculpture Park. From the park, head south on Vernon Boulevard for two blocks and turn left onto 34th Avenue. Just before Northern Boulevard, turn left onto 47th Street, and then right on Broadway. Turn left onto 60th Street and then make an immediate right onto 34th Avenue, crossing under the BQE. Turn right on 73rd Street and continue for two blocks to Dosa Delight.
Destination: Fort Wadsworth
The ground on which Staten Island’s Fort Wadsworth (Bay St at Wadsworth Ave, Staten Island; nps.gov/gate; free) now stands was originally fortified by the British in the middle of the Revolutionary War, and continued to operate as the oldest active military installation in the United States until 1994. Explore the site including the derelict Battery Weed and the catacomb-like tunnels and gunpowder rooms; the brave can rent a campground ($20).
Refuel: Visit nearby Da Noi (138 Fingerboard Rd at Tompkins Ave, Staten Island; 718-720-1650, danoinyc.com), a white-tablecloth Italian joint serving traditional fare like risotto milanese ($19) and linguine frutti di mare ($19).
Route: From the Staten Island Ferry Terminal (easily accessible by bike along the East River Bikeway), take Bay Street south past Staten Island Borough Hall and the Alice Austen House to Fort Wadsworth. For Da Noi, take Lily Pond Road under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Turn left onto Lincoln Place and then right onto Garfield Avenue. Continue onto Tomkins Avenue and turn right onto Fingerboard Road.
Destination: Salvation Army warehouse
The massive Salvation Army warehouse (39-11 61st St at 39th Ave, Woodside, Queens; salvationarmyusa.org) is a little-known gem for thrift-shoppers seeking designer clothing, musical instruments, kitchen appliances—even furniture. Of course, you won’t be riding home with a John-John sofa strapped to your back, but you could stuff a backpack or pannier with some high-end loot. It’s not unusual to dig up Prada shoes and Armani skirts.
Refuel: Ride a few blocks east to Sripraphai (64-13 39th Ave between 64th and 65th Sts, Woodside, Queens; 718-899-9599, sripraphairestaurant.com). This longtime destination for Queens-bound epicures constantly draws new devotees into its flock: Its reasonably priced entrées (most $9–$11) keep us coming back. The sinus-clearing drunken noodles ($10), whole red snapper ($23) and crispy watercress salad ($11) are especially tasty.
Route: From the Queensboro Bridge, turn left at Skillman Avenue, then right onto 43rd Avenue for a mile. Turn left onto 48th Street, and then right onto 39th Avenue. At Woodside Avenue, turn left and then make a sharp right to continue on 39th Avenue. Turn right onto 61st Street. From the store, take 61st Street to 39th Avenue, turn right and continue for three-and-a-half blocks.