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?For more casual cycling than Manhattan's death race, cross the bridges to Brooklyn, where the scene is more serene and you can traverse a small world's worth of interlinking ethnic ?hoods in a day. Start in Williamsburg, the city?s epicenter of bike and creative culture, pedaling south past refurbished factories, old-world Hasidic orthodoxy, and brownstones in Fort Greene and Park Slope; through Sunset Park's Chinatown and Bay Ridge; and eventually take the salt-sprayed sea wall to Coney Island and Brighton Beach. Or skip from Prospect Park down Ocean Parkway directly; the nation?s first bike path was installed here in 1894. A final push past marshlands and over a bridge brings you to the Rockaways in Queens, a sandy stretch of crusty bungalows and public housing, quickly becoming a hipster haunt in its own right.
The entire route is 27 miles -- an intrepid trek -- so therein lies the key to biking in NYC: Pick your start, play your finish by ear. There?s always a subway at the ready.
High-performance, sharply tailored clothes get you from bike to boardroom. Brooklyn-designed, Garment District sewn, made specifically for cyclists.
87 Richardson St.
It ain't kosher, but it sure is right. Next to South Williamsburg?s Hasidic area, Malaysian-inflected BBQ makes for a killer brunch: house-smoked coriander bacon, country grits, fresh watermelon juice spiked with kaffir lime.
91 S. 6th St.
Over 150 vendors, from antique junkers to full-time artisans and food stalls distill the creative energy of the city into a borough-anchoring bazaar. Saturdays, 10 a.m.?5 p.m. (April?November)
176 Lafayette Ave.
Brooklyn?s somewhat wilder version of Olmsted & Vaux?s Central Park. Chill in the Nethermead, the city sounds all but a whisper over the tree tops.
Grand Army Plaza
Antipodean-style meat and veggie pies -- plus a proper flat white coffee -- for easy picnicking or a quick refuel.
211 Prospect Park West
A slice of faded Americana sandwiched between Hispanic South Slope and Sunset Park?s Chinatown. Duck in for a round of brewskis and neon disco bowling.
461 37th St.
The báhn mí are among the city?s best and cheapest ($4.50). The avocado milkshakes are a palette-bending mash-up.
4222 Eighth Ave.
>STAI SHUANG SPRING RESORT
Thai-style massage so cheap ($25 an hour), it?s almost more necessity than indulgence.
820 54th St.,1st floor
Endless types of sausage, chilled pear soda, and frosty Baltika beer?the perfect brown bagger for the boardwalk.
239 Brighton Beach Ave.
Whiz down greenways past intrepid kite surfers and unending acres of salt marsh as you begin to wonder if you?re still in New York City.
Ave. U & Stuart St.
Salty shack with scruffy surfer clientele. Skip the carne and load up on fish tacos (topped with ?slaw, radish, and spicy aioli) with a side of Cukes salad (mango, cucumber, and jicama doused with chili and lime).
95-19 Rockaway Beach Blvd.