Short Bike Rides-Long Island, by Phil Angelillo, The Globe Pequot Press, has managed to cover virtually all of my favorite rides in Nassau County, and most of those I have taken in Suffolk as well. Starting at the Queens line, the book perpetuates the mistaken conceit that many Long Islanders share, that this geographic lump of sand ends at the city line. Long Islanders refuse to accept Queens and Brooklyn as part of the same topographic feature, and the city folk seem similarly inclined to deny us as well. But hey, aside from that, the book is right on!
A great book, I recommend it highly!
Featuring a four page introduction, in which the author explains his philosophy and modus operandi, as well as his overview of basic safety concerns, the book wastes little time getting down to the hard tacks of route description. Each ride begins with list of ride features including; Length, Approximate Pedaling Time, Terrain, Surface, Traffic and Things to See. Immediately following the list the author launches into a prose description of the flavor and highlights of the particular ride. Phil has obviously ridden these rides as he makes it a point to mention all the items that are of interest to the average cyclist, and of absolutely no import to the four wheeled sojourners.
The ride cue sheets and a graphic route map are strategically placed opposite each other and have been set in type legible enough to photocopy for use. Realizing that many Long Islanders will ride their cars to their two wheeled jumping off points, "How to Get There" directions are inset into each map. All of the routes are closed loops leaving you off where you started (back at your car) and most feature extensions for the more motivated rider.
The only thing I find missing in his data is the location of the nearby bike shops. Although you don't need one unless you really need one, if you need one you really really need one! Of course the rides in this book are short rides, generally less than 21 miles with shorter routes listed for all of them, but it can be a ruined outing if you have a problem that you are not prepared to handle. So the addition of Bike Shop Listings would be nice touch that I'd like to see. The longest rout listed in the book is a total of 30 miles.
42 Rides are listed throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties and most of the routes (in Nassau at least) that I have settled on as reasonably safe. This book is an invaluable aid for a club director looking to select routes outside his own private bailiwick. But it is also perfect for a dad or mom looking to plan out a route for an easy Sunday afternoon bike ride with the family.
Because Long Island is mostly developed suburban sprawl, the preponderance of the routes described are road rides, but the limited number of protected bike trails on Long Island are all included!
This book is a wonderful resource for Long Island biking residents, but it is an ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY item for anyone thinking of a Long Island vacation that could involve biking as well a beach going.