There’s almost no contest here—the Williamsburg Bridge is the clear winner. The Brooklyn Bridge is way too crowded; all attempts to bike across it are certain to be thwarted by foreign tourists, who stop anyone in their path and demand that you take their picture against the Manhattan skyline. The Manhattan Bridge is more efficient, but it’s lonely and also noisy, thanks to the constant blasting sound of the Q train that chugs along nearby. The George Washington Bridge, also efficient, is terrifying—that guardrail was built for pedestrians, not cyclists with a higher center of gravity! The Queensboro, meanwhile, is a haul, and the Triborough is even further away. So the Williamsburg span beats the rest for so many reasons: The wide bikeways are above the car traffic for much of the way, the slope is a good workout without being unreasonable, and, most important, the view is great—and we don’t mean the cityscape. We’re talking about the pedestrians, a fascinating mix of Hasidim and hipsters making their way between Williamsburg and the Lower East Side. Enjoying that culture clash is a great way to keep your mind off how much you’re working to pedal uphill.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 21, 2009