Best Cycle Paths to Explore Staten Island

By Nicholas Rizzi on July 16, 2012 7:35am 

For bike riders who want to avoid the traffic of Staten Island streets, the borough has plenty of separated paths in parks.
For bike riders who want to avoid the traffic of Staten Island streets, the borough has plenty of separated paths in parks.
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DNAInfo/Nicholas Rizzi

STATEN ISLAND — For bicyclists, Staten Island can be a dangerous place to ride.

The most suburban of the boroughs has the motor traffic to go along with, making its streets hazardous for cyclists trying to share the road.

For riders like John Swoffard, 56, who commutes from his New Brighton home to his advertising job in Manhattan by bicycle every day, riding  without bike lanes can be a scary experience.

"I ride during commuting times, and everybody with me is trying to race to the boat," said Swoffard. "I'm fairly comftable until I get to the location where the bike path stops.

"From that moment on, my ride becomes a little more dangerous."

Swoffard, a member of the Staten Island Bicycling Association, said that sometimes drivers eager to catch a traffic light or wanting to driver faster see bicyclists as a nuisance.

"I, as a bicylist, am annoying them," he said.

"I'm taking up space, so they can't go fast. I ride a six gear and it weighs 18 pounds. A 2,000 pound car always wins."

But, there's hope for some recreational riders wanting to enjoy the summer weather on two wheels.

Staten Island has several bike paths at city or state run parks and beaches, separated from traffic and free from worry.

The multi-use paths — which allow runners and walkers — provide a safe way for bicyclists to get some exercise.

However, for faster riders like Swoffard and his friends, having to dodge parents with baby strollers and walkers make most of these paths useless for him.

"People that I ride with tend to be serious recreational riders, they're going anywhere from 14 to 18 miles an hour and they don't want to be dodging runners," he said.

"If you're going like 5 to 10 miles per hour, it's OK, but you're constantly having to be aware on a multi-use path of people either running or walking or moms with the baby carriages."

But if riding a little slower outweighs the fear of taking your bike into the street, here's a roundup of the larger public bike paths on Staten Island.

Riders at South Beach can enjoy the two and a half mile Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk.
Riders at South Beach can enjoy the two and a half mile Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk.
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DNAInfo/Nicholas Rizzi

MIDLAND BEACH

Before the Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk, Midland Beach features a bike path along the beach. The path features separate lanes for bike riders and is far removed from the heavy traffic of Father Capadonno Boulevard.

SOUTH BEACH

The 2.5-mile Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk, which connects Midland to South Beach, allows bike riders from 5 a.m. until 10 a.m., according to the Parks Department website.

After 10 a.m., riders can enjoy the long, windy bike paths next to the boardwalk, which leads them off into Fort Wadsworth park.

WOLFES POND PARK

If a relaxing bike ride near the beach doesn't excite you too much, head on down to Wolfes Pond Park's mountain bike paths.

The Tottenville park has a four mile trail for mountain biking and hikers. Wolfes Pond Park has trails for all levels of riders throughout the park.

Half of the trails are designated for beginner riders, while the rest give intermediate riders and expert riders the chance with downhill and free ride terrain.

BLOOMINGDALE PARK

Downhill mountain biking may be too extreme for some, but if you don't want to leave the South Shore and still want some safer cycling, head to Bloomingdale Park.

The Rossville park has a 650-yard multi-use fitness path on the outskirts of the park, with space large enough for bikers and runners to share the road with no problems.

LATOURETTE PARK

LaTourette Park features a 3.5 mile multi-use path for bicyclists and walkers.

The paths have gravel on them, which may be tougher on some bikes and riders. The trail runs along the western part of the LaTourette Park's golf course. Watch out for golf balls while riding.

CONFERENCE HOUSE PARK

If the idea of biking near golfers scares you, head on down to the far tip of Staten Island at the Conference House Park.

Enjoy the paths in the park's woods, and then visit the several historical buildings in the area.

Some date to 1680. One was home to a failed Revolutionary War Peace Conference, the Parks Department said.

However, watch out for ghosts, as some believe one of the houses is haunted.

In addition, there are several other smaller bike paths around the Island, including Willowbrook Park, Fairview Park and several near the Ferry Terminal.

The Department of Transportation has several more planned or in construction bike paths, so visit its website for more information and a map of the trails and bike lanes in the borough.

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