27 mile intermediate route
Starts and ends in Ridgewood, Queens.
B- Martha's Country Bakery
C- Queens County Farm Museum
D- Finback Brewery
Looking for some fall fun in NYC that you can bike to? Look no further than this 27 mile intermediate route through Eastern Queens to the Queens County Farm Museum located in Floral Park, NY. You will spend the day surrounded by farm animals, fall foliage, and have the opportunity to enter (and hopefully leave) New York City's one and only corn maze! This is a pretty low-stress ride, though it does have some elevation and some higher stress roads with multi-lane traffic that makes it more appropriate for an intermediate rider (or a group of beginners, power in numbers!). The real highlight of this route is the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway, a paved path completely separated from cars that runs through Cunningham Park and Alley Pond Park. If you travel this path later in the season, it will be great for doing some leaf peeping!
This route starts off in Ridgewood, and while I have been trying to vary the starting locations of these routes so they don't all end up in my neighborhood, it seems Ridgewood is a relatively good starting location for venturing off into Eastern Queens when you are meeting up with Brooklynites. If you are coming from one of the three other boroughs, feel free to hop on the train and get off at the Forest M stop, the closest train stop to your first destination. Since this is a long ride, I needed to start off caffeinated and with a snack in hand. My go-to place in Ridgewood is our one of our local cafes, Porcelain. Porcelain has great coffee, snacks, and a great outdoor seating setup if you are planning to stick around for a bit. Once you've fueled up, it's off to the second stop!
The first part of this route involves a bit of meandering through Ridgewood and Glendale, and I will be honest, my group got a bit lost trying to make it over to Forest Hills! It can be a bit confusing with the Queens way of displaying road names where the same number is repeated multiple times with different signifiers after it (think Place, Lane, Road, Street, Drive..) This can become especially confusing if you have only looked at the directions once or twice and are going quickly on a bicycle, so just watch out to make sure you are making the correct turn. This stretch of the route is not the most cyclist friendly, though most of the streets were residential with no bike lane, the rest were a bit higher traffic with only with a painted bike lane. Once you arrive in Forest Hills, I recommend checking out Martha's Country Bakery, a bakery that was started in Forest Hills and since grown to other locations in Brooklyn and Queens. It was cool to check the original location since I had only been to their one in Williamsburg previously. There was a long line but it moved quickly, and their cases were filled with all sorts of delicious looking baked goods. It was also fun to check out the area surrounding the Forest Hills train station. The red cobblestone and the brick buildings with the peaked red tile roofs definitely gave me small European village vibes, and the cobblestone roundabout appeared to work as a car/pedestrian mixing zone. I would love to see more of these mixed zone treatments in other places in NYC.
After you have admired the architecture and possibly filled up with another snack, it's time for the final push over to the Queens County Farm Museum. Again, biking through this section of Queens was not idyllic, as the majority of the roads were multi-lane with only a painted bike lane. I was definitely grateful for the bike lane and there wasn't too much double parking, but cars did drive relatively quickly on these streets and didn't seem to have a lot of extra caution when driving by cyclists. I think if you are a regular city rider it shouldn't be an issue, but as it was my first time really venturing this far out into Eastern queens it was a slight disappointment that the only biking infrastructure was painted lanes. Again, the highlight of this ride was definitely the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway Path that starts in Cunningham Park. My group took a wrong turn and missed the entrance, but if you just stay on 73rd Avenue you will come across the path eventually. However, it is not well marked with a sign and there isn't a curb cut that would make it easily accessible from the street, so just pull over when you see the start of a path on 73rd and take your bike over the curb (or hop it over the curb if you are the cool type of cyclist who can manage that type of thing without falling over!)
Once on the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway you can enjoy a respite from car traffic! This path, also known as the Long Island Motor Parkway, was the first all-elevated road for cars in the United States before it was transformed into a cycling path. Previously, this path was used by the Vanderbilt family for car racing, and later as a tolled public road that was most frequented by the upper-class leaving the city to their Long Island estates. Our favorite urban planner we love to hate, Robert Moses, was integral in transforming this path from a parkway into a bicyclist path in 1938, after his building of the free Northern State Parkway all but put this Parkway out of commission. The New York City Parks department still maintains this parkway, one of the few out of the 65 to survive from the Robert Moses era. This path will take you almost all of the rest of the way to Queens County Farm, with just a short stint on unpleasant Little Neck Parkway before the turn off to the museum.
Queens County Farm Museum was a lot of fun to check out! I had never been there before and thoroughly enjoyed the day exploring the corn maze, the farm stand, the animals, and eating the apple cider donuts! I was there on their September Sunday event, when they had a beer garden, food alley, live music, as well as the Amazing Maize Maze. But don't fret if you missed that, it looks like they have a variety of fall activities planned for the month of October including the corn maze, a pumpkin patch, and "Fall Escape" featuring a giant Pumpkin Spiced Latte (a floral version, not a real one!). Since getting out of the city is a little harder these days, its a great opportunity to enjoy some fall fun in town. My group hung out until 5 or so, and they made our way back through Vanderbilt Motor Parkway and into Glendale, where we stopped at Finback Brewery. I love their beers and the location on a relatively quiet street in Glendale is a great way to kick back from your ride!
Hi! I'm Rachel.
I'm creating curated bike routes in all 5 boroughs of NYC. Routes include downloadable route map, descriptions of the bicycle infrastructure, and suggestions on places to eat and things to see. Enjoy!