NEW YORK — It's Bike-to-Work Week. To celebrate, DNAinfo pulled together the choicest bicycle routes and greenways in the five boroughs that are worth checking out either when you're en route to the office or looking to take a leisurely ride.
With more than 1,000 miles of routes in the city’s network of bike lanes, there are myriad options, many of which feature waterside paths and scenic stops.
Nocella also recommends the Hudson River Greenway and the Shore Parkway Greenway in Jamaica Bay, which some of his employees ride before coming in to work. Most of the routes are on protected bike paths, but there are a few stretches in which you'll have to bike on street.
One thing’s for sure: If you’re going for a summer ride, you’ll want to grab more than just the SPF before heading out the door. This week the NYPD is launching its initiative to crack down on motorists who park in bike lanes or fail to yield to cyclists, but protecting yourself as a cyclist is the first line of defense.
“Absolutely wear a helmet without any doubt,” Nocella said. “Even if it’s just going around the park or going around the block. I can’t say that enough.”
Here are some of the best summer bike routes in the city:
► Ocean Parkway to Coney Island (Brooklyn):
The ride to Coney Island is a summer classic. Start at Machate Circle at the southern end of Prospect Park and head down Ocean Parkway, known as the nation’s first bike lane, for 5.5 miles until you hit Surf Avenue.
“You can spin a few laps in Prospect Park and head south on Ocean Parkway,” Nocella said. “That’s a great ride and it’s super easy. It’s tree-lined and it gets you to Coney Island, which is a great destination.”
Ocean Parkway was first envisioned as a tree-lined path connecting Prospect Park to Coney Island by park designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, according to the parks department. It became the country’s first bike path in 1894.
Once you get to Coney Island, stroll down the boardwalk, take a ride on the Cyclone, pick up one of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, root for the home team at a Brooklyn Cyclones game, or get a real taste of Russia at Brighton Beach’s Little Odessa.
► Jamaica Bay Greenway (Brooklyn and Queens):
For the more athletically inclined, the Jamaica Bay Greenway can be tacked on to the Coney Island route by hanging a left onto Neptune Avenue from Ocean Parkway, then heading straight on Emmons Avenue to the Belt Parkway Bike Path.
Alternately, you can catch the B/Q and get off at the Sheepshead Bay/East 16 Street station at Avenue Z for a nice 6-mile ride to the beach. From there, go south on Sheepshead Bay Road and make a left on Emmons Avenue to the Belt Parkway Bike Path. Take a right on Flatbush Avenue and cross over the Marine Parkway Bridge to get to Jacob Riis Park.
Nocella said some of his employees who start at noon take the Shore Parkway Greenway to Jacob Riis before work.
“That’s a nice bike path,” Nocella said.
If you’re more into wildlife than beach life, keep on the Belt Parkway Bike Path to Cross Bay Boulevard and head south to the Rockaways Boardwalk. Along the way you’ll pass through Four Sparrow Marsh, the Shore Parkway through Canarsie Park, Fresh Creek Park, Spring Creek Park, and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.
Pedal west along the boardwalk and you’ll pass the Gateway National Recreation Area.
► Hudson River Greenway (Manhattan):
The popular Hudson River Greenway runs along Manhattan’s west side for 13 continuous miles of bike path. The greenway stretches from Battery Park in lower Manhattan up to Fort Tryon Park in northern Manhattan, and passes through Riverside, Hudson River and Fort Washington parks.
Start at Peter Minuit Plaza and take the Battery Bikeway through Battery Park. Head northwest through the park until you get to the Hudson River Greenway and take it north to Fort Tryon Park.
Historic sites along the way include Ulysses S. Grant’s Tomb in Morningside Heights, the historic Little Red Lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge and the Cloisters Museum in Fort Tryon Park.
Bike and Roll NYC offers rentals at State and Water streets (just north of the Staten Island Ferry) starting at $28 for two hours, $39 for four hours, and $44 for a full day.
► Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk (Staten Island):
This 7.2-mile ride offers a prime view of the Verrazano Bridge and Lower New York Bay.
Start at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal and bear left onto Bay Street. Take a right onto School road and a slight left onto Lily Pond Avenue. Make another left at Ocean Avenue to get into Ocean Breeze Park and onto the Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk. The bike lane continues through the park’s Miller Field and ends at New Dorp Lane.
You can park your bike for free on the Staten Island Ferry’s bottom deck if you’re coming in from Manhattan.
► Bronx Greenway from Van Cortlandt Park to Orchard Beach (The Bronx):
Take an 8.5-mile ride through the Bronx Greenway, which connects three of the borough’s biggest parks, from Van Cortlandt Park to Orchard Beach.
Start at Van Cortlandt Park by the Van Cortlandt Park/242nd Street 1 stop and head east through the park to the Mosholu Parkway Greenway. Head south on Mosholu Parkway until you hit the New York Botanical Garden, head south through Bronx Park and connect to the Pelham Parkway Bike Path. Cross Pelham Bridge Road with caution, turn right onto City Island Road and left on Park Drive.
Known as the “Bronx Riviera,” Orchard Beach is the borough’s only public beach.