A creek runs through it.
Gerritsen Inlet, an inlet to Jamaica Bay, is home to saltwater marshes and one of the areas designated “forever wild” by the Parks Department. It is fed by Gerritsen Creek, which you can’t see anymore, as it is now an underground storm drain. It still empties into the inlet, feeding the habitat and helping host a diverse ecosystem. The inlet, and the value of protecting it was the reason for the creation of Marine Park.
Between two parks and some hard places.
This ride goes around the two biggest parks in Brooklyn, the federal government’s Gateway National Recreation Area and the city’s Marine Park. Both are efforts to preserve natural habitats, particularly fragile wetlands in a sprawling metropolis. Both are succeeding.
You start at the northern end of Marine Park, right next to the Marine Park Oval described in the previous ride. From here, you’re basically going to circumnavigate Marine Park. The far end includes riding along Gateway grounds.
The Gerritsen inlet is straight ahead. After some twists and turns, you get to Flatbush Avenue. Flatbush, the outgrowth of a footpath hundreds of years old almost feels like a highway here, so make sure you turn onto the bike path. At the moment, it looks like a sidewalk and you can barely see the painted lines for bikes on it, but that’s where it is.
Ride over the Belt Parkway overpass, and turn. You’re still in Marine Park, but Gateway’s Floyd Bennett Field, also a site of a ride, is across the street.
You’ll be riding next to the Belt Parkway for a spell. The cars are boring, but once you get to the inlet bridge, you’ll start to get great views of the water and The Rockaways. Plumb Beach, which is on your left, is part of Gateway. Not a huge beach, but looking out over the water while relaxing on sand is always peaceful.
When you get to Sheepshead Bay, it’s time to turn and start heading back to the northern end of Marine Park. Knapp Street can feel a bit crowded for the first few blocks, but it settles down. Before you know it, you’ll be at Allen Avenue. Turn and traffic will just about disappear. When you get to Gerritsen, you’re in the midst of sleepy suburbia, a world away from the bustle of the Belt Parkway. You’ll have a bike lane on a pretty quiet street that runs back to the water. You can then ride back to where you made the detour, and then follow the edge of Marine Park back to the oval, around the oval and to your starting point.
LIbations and grub.
Go a few blocks east of the park on Avenue S and you’ll find both food and coffee. Pizza Emporium gives you the time and atmosphere to savor the day and some slices.
Visit the Salt Marsh Nature Center just south of Avenue U. It is not only a home to bird watchers, but also a center for environmental education.
Ride Minutiae (Gerritsen Inlet Bike Ride)
Getting there: Take the B or Q train to Avenue U and ride along U until you get to the park.
Distance: 6.6 miles
Elevation gained: 344 Feet
Terrain: Flat. More than half the ride is on bike paths
Ride Rating: @@
Notes: Squeezing around some huge parks. Near a bunch of other good riding.