Cycle Philadelphia, Road Ride, Kristin’s Mega Loop

Thanks to Kristin Sullivan, who biked from Fairbanks, Alaska to Ushuala, Argentina in 2005. Kristin now works for the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, but remains an avid outdoorswoman. This loop is Kristin’s take on the city as her playground, and it’s neverending! You’ll bike from Fairmount Park to FDR Park in one giant loop, hopefully taking in views of the city you’ve never seen and trekking down paths you didn’t know existed.

Terrain

You will be treated to decent hills in the first eight miles through Fairmount Park, followed by a flat ride through the city.

Traffic

This route picks up a lot of bike lanes, some streets will have you riding alongside cars. The Fairmount Park section will be on the quiet side, but you’ll be pedaling alongside steady traffic for most of the way through the city.

Access

The ride log starts smack in the middle of Center City on 16th and Arch. There are unlimited choices for buses, trains, and subways to bring you here.

Food and Drink

You’ll pass many, many spots for a bite on this route. You can stop at Sitar Indian Buffet on 38th Street between Market and Chestnut. The lunch buffet is basically rocket fuel.

Side Trip

Oh geez… the Please Touch Museum, the Japanese Tea Garden, the Horticulture Center, The Mann, South Street, the Naval Yard, the Stadiums, Love Park… you’ll pass them all!

 

More Details

This ride begins on 16th and Arch, just below the headquarters of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. You’ll hit the bike lanes along Benjamin Franklin Parkway and head towards the Art Museum. For the most part, you’ll stay off the SRT, instead picking up a road that will take you over the Girard Bridge and into West Fairmount Park. Once across the bridge, you’ll be treated to a network of bike lanes as you pass the Please Touch Museum, the Horticulture Center, the Whispering Bench, and Belmont Plateau, among other unique sites.

This area has some strong hills and a few weird intersections – you might lose your way the first few times you come up here but it’s a great place to ride your bike. Make sure to take in the view from Belmont Plateau – it will be an instant favorite. After Fairmount, you’ll head through West Philadelphia via Lancaster Avenue. Watch for the trolley tracks here! You’ll pedal inside bike lanes on 38th Street and Spruce Street over the new South Street Bridge, which is beautiful, and then head South on 15th Street. Be sure to take it slow if you’re not used to riding on narrow streets with parked cars.

Need a coffee break? Stop into Ultimo on 15th and Mifflin. Need a beer? Visit South Philly Tap Room on the same corner. Eventually you’ll make your way to FDR Park - a big park in South Philly. After riding around the loop here, you’ll pop out at Broad and Pattison – a busy intersection. You’ll follow Pattison past the stadiums and through an industrial landscape before reaching Columbus Boulevard. If interested you can pick up the short Delaware River/Pier 70 Trail.

You’ll then continue north on Columbus Boulevard, which has steady traffic but whose bike lanes provide a good north-south cycling option, until you reach Spring Garden, which also has bike lanes. Hang a left on Spring Garden and head back towards 16th and Arch to finish your ride. 

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Start out on 16th and Ben Franklin Pkwy, head towards the Art Museum in the parkway’s bike lanes.
  • 1.5 Make a right onto Poplar, heading away from Lloyd Hall.
  • 1.6 Left on W Sedgley Dr and head towards Girard Bridge.
  • 2.0 Left on Brewery Hill Dr to cross Girard (caution, please!).
  • 2.2 Post bridge, make a right onto Lansdowne Dr.
  • 2.4 Right on Sweet Briar and follow bike path to the left.
  • 3.1 Pick up Black Rd and follow it until you reach Lansdowne Dr (again).
  • 3.5 Make a tight right at Lansdowne, you’ll pass the Please Touch Museum.
  • 3.8 Right on Belmont Dr (follow signs for Japanese Tea House), then a quick right on Horticultural Dr to loop around the Horticulture Center.
  • 4.3 Right on Belmont Dr (caution crossing Montgomery Dr). Climb the hill to the plateau!
  • 5.1 After the mansion, make a right on Chamounix Dr.
  • 5.7 Left on Ford Rd.
  • 6.3 Left on Monument Rd.
  • 6.8 Make a right and then bear left on Georges Hill Dr. Big downhill here.
  • 7.0 Left on Georges Hill Dr, and enjoy the downhill.
  • 8.0 Bear right towards S Concourse St.
  • 8.5 Right on Belmont Ave.
  • 9.4 Left on Lancaster Ave, heading towards Center City (watch out for trolley tracks!).
  • 10.2 Right on 38th St.
  • 10.8 Left on Spruce St, follow until it becomes South St.
  • 11.6 Cross the new South St Bridge! Pick up South St bike lanes, which end abruptly, but it’s a nice gesture.
  • 12.6 Right on 15th St – narrow and with street parking.
  • 14.5 Right on Oregon Ave.
  • 14.9 Left on 20th St. Take 20th all the way to FDR Park.
  • 15.7 Follow the FDR path around The Lakes.
  • 17.1 Exit FDR at Pattison and Broad. Cross Broad (caution!) and head East on Pattison.
  • 18.8 After the stadiums, Pattison becomes Columbus Blvd. Look for bike lanes here.
  • 20.5 If you want to check out the new Pier 70 trail along the Delaware, hang a right into the Walmart parking lot. The trail starts behind the store and ends at Washington Ave. If not, stay on Columbus.
  • 23.4 Left on Spring Garden.
  • 24.8 Left on 15th St. 
  • 25.3 Right on Arch.
  • 25.4 Back to the start by Love Park.
  • Trail map

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    40.904 km / 25.416 mi

    Total Distance

    214 m / 702 ft

    Total Ascent

    213 m / 699 ft

    Total Descent

    75 m / 247 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
    Ride Duration: 2-4 hrs
    Fitness Level: High
    Terrain:
    Shared Bike Path - Paved
    Shared Bike Path - Dirt
    On-Road Bike Lane
    On-Road
    Off-Road - Fire Trail
    Off-Road - Rail Trail
    Off-Road - Single Track
    Off-Road - Downhill
    Mobile Coverage: Excellent
    Estimated Distance: 25.4
    Elevation Gain: 229
    Services:
    Water
    Food
    First Aid
    Toilets
    Bike hire facilities
    Carparking
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber

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