30 mile intermediate/advanced route.
Starts Williamsburg, Brooklyn ends in LES, Manhattan.
A- Continental Army Plaza
B- Manhattan Little Italy
C- Bronx Little Italy
D- Shore Blvd
F- The Baylander
G- Kings County Imperial Co.
This 30 mile route intermediate/advanced route takes you on a variety of bicycle infrastructure around Manhattan and the Bronx, including some protected bike lanes, some completely separated bike paths, and some unprotected bike lanes. The variety of infrastructure and the length of the ride makes this ride more suitable for someone who is familiar with city riding!
This ride starts at the Williamsbridge Bridge on the Brooklyn side, but if you wanted to cut out the bridge portion and start in Manhattan, you could take the JMZ line to Essex Street or Delancey, or even just start right over at the first Little Italy in Manhattan. A good starting point would be Grand Street and Mulberry Street, which is the real beginning of Manhattan's Little Italy. Before the pandemic, I never saw Manhattan's Little Italy as a place that I wanted to visit, it seemed so crowded and full of tourists, all crammed on tiny sidewalks! Though it is supposed to be pedestrianized during the summer, usually there was still enough cars driving through that made you not want to walk in the middle of the street. Now that it has been turned into an Open Restaurant Street, I found the experience of exploring Little Italy to be much more enjoyable, and it actually felt like I was in Italy! Once you get to the beginning of Little Italy, I would recommend disembarking from your bicycle and strolling down Mulberry Street. It is fun to check out all the outdoor restaurants, and the restaurant purveyors are there to entice you to come to their restaurant, sometimes offering free drinks or discounted food! Since this was the beginning of a long ride, I had some espresso and stuffed mushrooms at Caffe Napoli, which was a tasty and filling snack to fuel up and energize for the rest of the ride, with a plan to have dinner in Bronx's Little Italy. After you explore and fuel up, it's off to the rest of the ride!
The best way up to Bronx's Little Italy at Arthur Avenue is to take 1st Avenue all the way up until you reach the Willis Avenue Bridge. 1st Avenue is a parking protected bike lane with separated bicycle signal timing, so it is generally a pretty good route for riders of any skill level. The only thing to watch out for here is drivers taking the right turn, which they will often do without checking for cyclists, even if you have the green bicycle signal. To avoid this, sometimes I go into the turn lane to go around the turning car, and still are able to ride through with the green. Another trick is to just ring your bell a bunch and wave your arms! (I'm not even joking) 1st Avenue can be taken at a pretty easy pace because of all the lights, so just take your time and watch for turning cars and soon you'll be at the tip of Manhattan!! The 1st Avenue bike lane will take you right to the Willis Avenue Bridge.
The intersection going up to the entrance of the bridge is pretty busy, but you should be okay entering with the light. Once you get onto the bridge, you will see that there is a wide path for cyclists and pedestrians. After you cross the bridge, it brings you to a 2 way parking protected bike path, which I recommend you stay on, even though Google suggests that you turn onto E138th Street to St Anne's Avenue. St Anne's Avenue only has sharrow's for a good portion, a sharrow being a marking on a street that indicates that it is a shared cycling and vehicle lane, and generally considered the lowest level of cycling treatment. In doing testing, I took St. Anne's, not realizing that the roads a couple blocks to the west have bicycle infrastructure the whole way up!
Once you make it up to the end to 183rd Street on Park Avenue, you can turn off to Little Italy! The Bronx's Little Italy is larger than Manhattan's Little Italy, with a few more streets to explore, but is still generally contained on Arthur Avenue. Arthur Avenue is now also operating as an Open Restaurant Street, and it was great to see all the outdoor restaurants set up I recommend checking out the Arthur Avenue indoor market, an indoor market that features all types of vendors, including fruits, vegetables, olive oils, olives, and even people making hand rolled cigars. The Arthur Avenue Market was opened in 1940 by Mayor LaGuardia with 117 pushcart vendors inside. While now there are only 12 vendors inside, it definitely feels like a piece of history. While you are there, ask to go to the bathroom where you will get an inside look at some of the old upper level seating, and get to wash your hands in a sink that looks like it is probably from 1940!
Since you have been riding around a while, you definitely deserve a pastry, and Egidio Pastry is the place to get it! Established in 1912, this Arthur Avenue staple will satisfy your sweet tooth. After a little pre-dinner pastry, continue your stroll around and make your choice for dinner. I ate at Gurra Cafe, and there pasta sauce was incredibly delectable, but I don't think any restaurant on Arthur Avenue will disappoint (check out this Eater guide for more options)! Zero Otto Nove, Mario's, and Dominick's are also great restaurants in the area. After your choice of dinner and maybe a drink, make sure you are well fed and hydrated because it is time to hop back in the saddle.
To make things interesting, you are going to head over to the West Side Highway on the way back, which means you get to ride over to the Highbridge! The Highbridge was built in 1848 to carry the Old Croton Aqueduct over the Harlem River, but was closed for 45 years until it re-opened in 2015 and a cyclist and pedestrian walkway. It is now open, as an important connector from the Bronx to Upper Manhattan. I was pleasantly surprised by some of the cycling infrastructure found right off the Highbridge, a separated bicycle path in between the trees! If you follow this path, it will take you out to Edgecomb Avenue. Once you've made it out to Edgecomb, you just need to get across Manhattan on 159th and 158th Street until you hit the West Side Highway bicycle path, which is a separated bicycle path on the Hudson River. If you are lucky like me, you will have timed it so the sun is going down and your ride home will include a beautiful sunset! Options once you've made it to the West Side are to just continue your journey home, or stop off for a drink at The Baylander, a new restaurant/bar that just opened on the deck of the Baylander IX-514. I didn't actually end up stopping here because it looked a little crowded, but I am intrigued by the idea of having a drink on a ship that was used during the Vietnam War! The rest of your ride is an easy continuation down the West Side Highway, where you can then continue your journey and stop at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge for a late night snack at Kings County Imperial Co., or grab the train somewhere in Manhattan to get you home. It's been a long one!
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!