Cycle Philadelphia, Road Ride, University City Ride
Just over the bridge but worlds away, University City has a vibe all its own. Old Victorian homes mix with tiny ethnic restaurants and big shady trees, trolleys whizz by, and everyone always seems to be outdoors – whether it be college kids flooding the streets around Penn and Drexel, friends sipping coffee outside of Greenline Café, or families enjoying Clark Park – University City is one of the greenest, most inviting neighborhoods in Philadelphia.
This route is all on road, taking advantage of the many bicycle lanes throughout University City and West Philadelphia. Be sure to watch out for the trolley tracks and cross them as close to 90 degrees as you can. There are a couple of baby hills along the way.
You will be riding through University City — a distinctive part of town. Some of the streets, including 38th, 34th and Spruce will have a constant flow of traffic. Luckily, these roads also have bicycle lanes. Quiet side streets are sprinkled in lovingly.
Take regional rail to the University City stop and pick up the Spruce Street bike lanes towards Clark Park on the corner of 43rd and Baltimore. Bus routes 42, 30, and 21 will bring you to University City.
Food and Drink
There are lots of options for food and drink along this route – visit one of the many fantastic Penn food trucks, or the restaurants along Sansom Row. You can also park your bike around 40th and Chestnut to choose from even more possibilities!
Stop by the Institute of Contemporary Art on the corner of 36th and Sansom. There are always interesting exhibits, and admission is free.
This bike ride is short on miles but big on flavor. You’ll start at Clark Park on 43rd and Baltimore and head north. Clark Park is a fun spot for people watching and a picnic; there are also lots of festivals here throughout the year and a farmer’s market in season. If you haven’t experienced them before, you will soon have your first encounter with trolley tracks.
They are uncomfortable – riding along side of them might cause worry that your front will get lodged in the track if you veer slightly, and crossing them can be intimidating without practice. When riding over tracks, make sure you hit them deliberately, and try to make as close to a right angle with your tires and the tracks as possible. After a while, this will become second nature. With trolley tracks under control, you’ll ride up 43rd Street and then have the option of turning down Chestnut or Ludlow.
Chestnut is very busy with traffic, but is also a fun street with shops and cafés. Comparatively, Ludlow (just a block north) is amazingly quiet. If you take Ludow, please note that there is a median in the middle of the left turn onto the 38th Street bike lanes, not a terrible hassle, but you’ll have to navigate accordingly.
After 38th Street, you’ll pedal down the Powelton Avenue bike lanes heading east through Powelton Village and eventually arriving at Drexel Park. There is a little known, and very excellent, view of the Philly skyline from this park. A portion of the East Coast Greenway travels up 32nd Street, which you will take in a roundabout way through the Drexel campus before picking up the 34th Street bike lanes. These lanes will take you through the heart of Penn’s campus (if you have a hankering for Middle Eastern food during the week before 4pm, visit the Magic Carpet food truck on the corner of 34th and Walnut – it’s a gem). After 34th Street, you’ll make a left onto the Spruce Street bike lanes and head back towards Clark Park.
If you have some more time and energy, then head a little bit farther west on the Baltimore Avenue bicycle lanes. There are more trolley tracks for you to contend with, but the area around 50th and Baltimore is awesome.
6.375 km / 3.961 mi
63 m / 208 ft
63 m / 208 ft
32 m / 105 ft