This is the first place we legally pedaled off-road in New York City. The trails have been official for only a while, but they’re already well-known, probably because New Yorkers who ride cherish trails close to home. There’s a pretty cool dirt-jump park in the middle of Cunningham. Of the three parks that allow mountain biking in the city, this one has the best trail network, the best signage, the most looked-after trails, and probably the most bike traffic as well. Queens Cunningham Park Bike Ride is most excellent, party on dude, but best experienced with knobby tires.
Cunningham, along with Highbridge in Manhattan and Wolfe’s Pond on Staten Island, contain the only sanctioned mountain bike trails in the city. The trails in these three parks are allowed by the Parks Department. The New York City Mountain Bike Association, which was formed to help in the building of the Highbridge trails built the trails here and maintains them, as they do all the official NYCMTB trails. If you find you love urban mountain biking, volunteer to help them in their mission.
(always remember the IMBA code)
While the park has beginner, intermediate, and advanced trails and a dirt-jump park, noobs should stick to the beginner’s trails that ring the park. The route laid out on the map follows those trails. As you feel your skill and confidence increasing, follow the signs off the beginner loop to the harder trails.
The park is small, so it’s impossible to get lost for more than a few minutes. The beginner trails are easy enough that a skilled cyclist can ride them on a road bike, which should mean anyone with knobby tires should be able to handle getting dirty in Cunningham. BMX bikes, knobby-tired hybrids, gravel bikes, and of course rigid, front suspension, and full-squishy mountain bikes (MTBs). Cyclocrossers take their rides into these woods for training.
Food and Drink
There’s nothing in the park, but there is food aplenty in Bayside and Flushing (great Chinese, said to be the best in the city), and there’s a commercial strip at the intersection of 73rd Avenue and Bell Boulevard.
Side Trip to the middle.
The Dirt Jump Park in the middle of Cunningham is, if you’re good enough, a great way to polish your skills and have some thrills. If you’re new to mountain biking, it’s the perfect place to observe skilled mountain bikers do their thing. Stop, observe, ask questions. Skilled riders are usually happy to share their knowledge.
The Dirty Deets. (Queens Cunningham Park Bike Ride)
Distance: 6.5 miles
Terrain: rolling, curving, rocky, rooty dirt trails.
Ride Rating: @@
Notes: Can be ridden with pretty much any knobby-tired bike: BMX, cyclocross, MTB, even a hybrid with knobs could work. If you’re skilled, a slick-tired road bike can work, but takes care.
Q01, Q02, and Q04 are also nearby.
Includes: A PDF with intelligence and a GPX file to upload to your bike computer or mobile device.