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.
You will be treated to decent hills in the first eight miles through Fairmount Park, followed by a flat ride through the city.
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.
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.
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!
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.
40.904 km / 25.416 mi
214 m / 702 ft
213 m / 699 ft
75 m / 247 ft