Teaser (Great Kills Bike Ride)
Great Kills Park, the southernmost section of Gateway National Recreation Area within New York City, is, like much of the city; constructed nature. There was an island, Crooke’s Island, and then the northern section of the channel, between Crooke’s and Staten islands was filled in creating a peninsula and the Great Kills Harbor, which has marinas on both sides of it, and plenty of room for protected sailing.
The Main Story
If you’re wondering about the name, it’s derived from old Dutch, as are many place names in Staten Island; it basically means “many streams” or “channels” and the area indeed has a bunch.
Having ridden around Staten Island, there’s a great feeling you get when turning off Hylan Boulevard, a fairly busy street by Great Kills, and getting on to Buffalo. It’s like turning into a private driveway. And as much of this island feels quite crowded, it is a welcome respite.
Great Kills Park is the fifth ride along Staten Island’s Atlantic coast. Like the others, it has a big virtue in that car access is extremely limited. While you’re riding on an access road for the first half, the road dead ends shortly after the turnaround.
But you’ll be on a bike path back to the start for the rest of the way. And if riding near car traffic makes you uncomfortable, you can ride the bike path both ways.
If the distance of the ride isn’t quite enough for your fitness level or time, do a second lap, and when you get to the turnaround, keep on going. First to the parking lot at the end of Buffalo Street, then do a U-turn, ride back to the first turnaround, and then go left. That will also take you to another parking lot. Two laps of the loop plus these detours boosts your mileage up to about eight miles.
This ride can also be a part of a larger route, one that starts at Miller Field, Fort Wadsworth, or even the ferry itself. Conversely, you can start at Tottenville and head north along Hylan here. You can always reverse course to get back or take the train. It’s free to ride once you’re away from the ferry terminal and the Tompkinsville stops.
Ride to the southernmost point of the island and you come across the osprey platform at the southern tip of the peninsula. If you think riding a bike takes time, get a gander of these birds. They winter in the Caribbean or South America and visit Great Kills in April and May en route to points north. In summertime, some of the birds hang out at Great Kills because the fishing is good and the climate agreeable. You can see them sitting in tree branches eating their catch.
The Numbers (Great Kills Bike Ride)
Borough(s): Staten Island
Distance: 5.5 miles
Terrain: Flat. Road and paths are in generally good condition. Very little car traffic.
Ride Rating: @
Notes: A quiet park where the pedaling and ocean-gazing are easy.
Includes: A PDF with intelligence and a GPX file to upload to your bike computer or mobile device. Print out the PDFs or put them on your phone. Put the GPX files on your phone or a GPS-enabled bike computer. Pump up your tires. Get on your bike. Go!
If you need a tutorial, here’s where you find that info: Download Rides.
LInks to: SI02, SI03, SI05