5 mile intro route
Starts in Ridgewood, Queens, ends in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
A- OPC (Other People's Clothes)
B- FEELS Vintage, Vinyl, Home
C- 28 Scott
D- Known To Man
E- Home Union
G- Awoke Vintage
H-Van Leeuwen Ice Cream
Did you know that bikes mean business? This 5-mile intro route is great for a biking newbie! Designed with lots of stops and on all relatively low-stress streets, this route will take you around Ridgewood, into Bushwick, and end in Williamsburg. Along the route, you will have ample opportunity to score some great deals on cute vintage. Think you can't go shopping on a bike? Think again! It's easy enough to use your bike for a full day of shopping transportation if you have the right equipment, and it doesn't have to be anything fancy.
Options for carrying things on your bike:
A rack is a great investment for transporting goods on your bike. Once you install a rack on your bike, a world of options for carrying things opens up. A rack also takes the weight off your back and makes it possible to do things like buy groceries on your bike and go bike camping. It is amazing the amount of weight that you can put on a bike rack and still have a pretty seamless ride.
I use this canvas pannier from Hill and Ellis on everyday trips. It's great because it has internal pockets and a detachable strap for carrying, and even lets you zip up the attachment components so they aren't jamming into you when you carry it around. I also have Ortlieb waterproof panniers, which I find are great for longer rides and not as great for taking on and off your bike and carrying around the city (and the perpetrator of the aforementioned jamming). However, friends of mine have just attached milk crates to their back racks, which is an option if you want the carrying capacity without spending any money on panniers.
If you don't want to invest in a bike rack quite yet, there is always the backpack option. For the shopping I did on this route, I just used my everyday backpack, and it worked just fine for holding my vintage duds. It just depends on the amount of weight you foresee yourself carrying on a regular basis, but once you start using your bike for light shopping you might find you want to start using your bike for grocery runs and make the investment in a rack. My rack is from Ortlieb and has held up amazingly over the years.
The first stop on this route is a buy/sell/trade consignment and thrift store, OPC, Other People’s Clothes. This shop opened recently and is the second store location for a local Ridgewood couple. Their first shop location FEELS is a long time favorite of mine, so I was very excited to see OPC open during the pandemic. It's definitely worth a visit as they have an amazing selection of clothes for everyone, including coats, pants, shirts, dresses, and shoes all at super reasonable prices (and even better yet, free, if you bring in some clothes to trade!). I was excited to score a 100% wool Pendleton button down to use as a winter layer for when I'm on colder weather rides and a bright blue FILA windbreaker for those in-between biking days. The store is located on Woodward Avenue, which is one lane and has a bike lane, making it a relatively low-stress street, but also one that seems ripe for pedestrian improvements. As my friends were walking to get to OPC from our coffee and sandwiches at Porcelain, we were nearly taken out by a car driver cutting a fast turn from Catalpa Avenue, a phenomenon that shop owner Pat says he sees happen often. This location seems like a great contender for traffic calming measures such as bulb-outs (extra sidewalk that juts into the street and gives greater visibility to pedestrians), or potentially even a whole Open Street treatment.
Since we had all locked our bikes up around OPC, we decided to walk over to the second spot on the list, FEELS Vinyl Vintage Home shop on 71st and Myrtle. FEELS is an adorable shop with a great selection of carefully curated vintage, as well as the home to the creations of many local residents, such as rugs, art, ceramics, tie-dye, and others! It always amazes me how much they can fit into their location without it ever feeling overwhelming. While I was there I picked up a silk-screened t-shirt where 50% of proceeds are going to fight voter suppression. Thrifting for a good cause! (FEELS below)
The third stop on this list is 28 Scott, a vintage store I had never been to before but was pleasantly surprised by. It was easy enough to get to from OPC, just head down Woodward Avenue and turn left onto Troutman Street, with a sharp right onto Scott Avenue. Both Woodward Ave and Troutman St. are one-lane roads with bike lanes, definitely easy to navigate for a beginner rider. When we arrived, I wasn't too surprised I hadn't been there before as it isn't very easy to find. Just look for the cellar door marked 28 and head down the steps.
Once inside, we were greeted with a wide variety of vintage treasures! They had a well-curated selection of tops, pants, jackets, and dresses. The basement location gave it a cozy vibe, I can imagine myself spending a winter afternoon searching for goods here. Once we had finished up our browsing, it was on to the fourth location, Known To Man on Graham Avenue. While the most efficient route to this location from 28 Scott would be to take Flushing Ave to Knickerbocker Ave to Morgan Ave to Grand Street, that route certainly isn't for the faint of heart! To this day I still mostly refuse to bike on Flushing Avenue, and if I do end up on it, will usually only go for a block or two before I get off. Since I was leading a bunch of newer cyclists, I decided to take the meandering back way shown on the route above. Walk your bike back to Troutman Ave, take Troutman Ave to Knickerbocker Avenue which turns into Morgan Avenue. Morgan Avenue has a bike lane now, which is great, but it is also a fairly well-trafficked truck route, so I would take a quick turn onto Meserole Street to enjoy a low-stress street with a bike lane until you have to turn onto Graham Avenue. Since I usually take Grand Street and not the back way I was leading my friends on, I was pretty surprised to see that Graham Avenue didn't have a bike lane. This gap in the bicycle network is crazy to me as it is the main through-fare from Bushwick to Williamsburg, and home to many local small businesses. Bike lanes are known to calm traffic, and as I was hit by a car driver and broke my wrist at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Graham Avenue last year, it seems like there is definitely a need for traffic calming measures here. On our way to Known to Man, we discovered one of the many pleasures of riding your bike, getting to stop quickly when you see something you want to check out, in this case, a vintage market at the corner of Grand Avenue and Graham Avenue in front of Ore Bar. The vintage market was quite a find, as they had vintage clothes, ceramics, books, and home goods! I picked up a cute ceramic vase. This market is happening every Sunday while the weather holds up. After we got our fill of the market (and my friend got an amazingly embroidered velvet bomber jacket), we headed over to Known to Man. We were quickly distracted by vintage furniture shop Dobbin Street Vintage Co-Op and stopped in there for a minute to check out their home goods. This spot is always fun to browse, as they have awesome furniture from the 80s and some mid-century styles as well. After peeling our eyes away from that store's glories, we moved to Known to Man, our intended destination and another cute vintage basement shop. The owner had a great selection of vintage clothes and some other fun things like candles and a variety of stones and crystals. I found a gold iridescent button down here so I was very happy!
I'm going to imagine that by this part of the route, you are ready for a meal, or at least I certainly was. We were in luck because Thai standby Sage is on this block, and they have a whole side yard set up for socially distanced seating. There were also brunch specials available when we were there, involving a free drink with your meal, so we were all quite pleased! My tofu scramble over rice was delicious and the portions were well-sized, the majority of us still had some to take home, making it cost-effective as well.
After eating, it's time for your last vintage stop. This stop is a quick bike ride away, just turn down Powers Street or Devoe Street and hop over to Manhattan Avenue. Manhattan Avenue is a nice low-stress one-lane street with a bike lane, and drivers here are usually cautious. Head on over to Driggs, and then a quick turn onto Lorimer Ave and you have arrived! There is a nice pedestrian plaza in front of Awoke Vintage that they have taken advantage of by setting up a portion of their shop outside for the socially distant shopper. You can also go inside (mask-on, of course) to browse their selection of designer vintage duds. I particularly love their selection of earrings, and this shop is usually my go-to when searching for a fresh pair! The most glaringly obvious thing about the location of Awoke Vintage from an urban planner's point of view is how the section of Bedford Avenue that cuts through the plaza should be closed! I'm not sure what the reasoning is behind not creating a full pedestrian plaza at this location, but it certainly seems like a missed opportunity.
And since no route through this section of Williamsburg would be complete without a trip down magnificently open (to pedestrians and cyclists that is) Berry Street, why not combine that trip with some pumpkin-flavored ice cream from Van Leeuwen. Ignore the route's suggestion to take Wythe Avenue and take your trip down Berry (it wouldn't let me change the route because Berry is technically one-way), exalting in the extra space! My friends certainly enjoyed it. Something to note about this ride, all of it is in a Citibike zone. This route would be great to bring a friend to, especially one who is a timid rider and one that hasn't taken a New York City bike ride yet. As made clear in this recently published New York Times article "if someone takes their first ride, they are much more likely to continue cycling", so let's keep that cycle going! Enjoy the 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!