For some, Queens probably evokes images of the Unisphere and Citi Field along with sounds of the 7 train clattering overhead. As you now find yourself mentally mapping approach patterns to LaGuardia and JFK, think about this: Queens is New York City’s largest borough in terms of geography, encompassing 35% of the city’s total land area. More languages and ethnicities are represented in Queens than anywhere else in the United States, making it one of, if not the most diverse place on the planet. Beyond these exciting tidbits, Queens doesn’t disappoint from behind the handlebars!
Today’s adventure begins on the Queens-bound leg of the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. The stunning views of midtown from the walkway will rank high on any bridge enthusiast’s list of favorites. As you descend, be advised that there are several sections of the bridge walkway, broken up by staircases. You will have to carry your bike for some portions, or roll it down the slide rails bolted on top of the steps. Be sure to ride slowly as you cross, especially to avoid collisions with oncoming cyclists.
Once your wheels hit the pavement, it’s time to roll east towards the borough’s unsung, outermost areas. A word of warning: Queens can be notoriously confusing to newcomers, including non-native GPS devices. Be sure to bring a good old paper bike map (available for free at any local bike shop) and pay attention to route signage as you ride. That said, if you take the bike lane on 34th Avenue (not to be confused with 34th Street or 34th Road), you’ll hit some twists and turns but eventually find yourself in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. As the city’s geographical center, this huge park is loaded with interesting landmarks. Starting at the Queens Museum, you can take a few laps around the Unisphere. This borough icon, donated by the American Steel Corporation, is a remnant of the 1964 World’s Fair, the second of two to take place in NYC. As you continue east toward the Industry Pond, envision hordes of spectators from around the world, decked out in Mad Men-era attire jostling for position at numerous, retro-futuristic exhibition tents. If you bike around the area any time in the next few weeks, be wary of pedestrian and vehicle traffic around Arthur Ashe Stadium. In addition to frequent Mets games at Citi Field, Flushing Meadows Corona Park also hosts the U.S. Open (which is currently underway for those who don’t follow tennis).
At this point, if you whip out your trusty bike map and follow the east-bound orange bicycle path leading, you’ll end up in Kissena Park. If you happen to be on a fixed gear or track bike, you’ll want to stop by the Kissena Velodrome during public hours. If you want to take a break from riding and watch some live athletic action, the park hosts frequent cricket and soccer matches. When you hop back on your saddle, the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway runs straight through Kissena and takes you farther east. Alternatively you can turn south into the bike lane on 164th Street heading towards Rockaway.
As mentioned above, Queens is huge! This ride brings you to the borough’s center. From there, there are a whole range of bike paths, greenways and parks. Tell us your Queens biking stories (email@example.com)!
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