Cycle Philadelphia, Sightseeing & Road Ride, The Art Museum to Manayunk

Want to add a little something extra to the Loop? Head to Manayunk! This is a great ride for confident beginners who want to bike a little bit farther than they are accustomed to. Main Street acts as the prime connector between two portions of the SRT: Philadelphia and Valley Forge, so you’ll be in good company, and there are a few bike shops in Manayunk that will help you change your first flat.

Terrain

The ride to Manayunk begins on the flat Schuylkill River Trail, and then moves across the softest of hills before reaching Main Street.

Traffic

After you turn off the SRT, there will be steady car traffic on Main Street. Cars are parked on both sides of the street here, so even though this is a heavily traveled bike corridor, make sure you watch out for the errant car door.

Access

The starting point for this ride is just behind the Art Museum - Septa bus routes 7, 32, 38, 43 and 48 serve the museum area. If driving, you’ll find ample parking behind the Art Museum and Boathouse Row.

Food and Drink

There are restaurants and cafés all along Main Street, many with outdoor seating. Le Bus and La Colombe are favorites.

Side Trip

Check out the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, just past the Ridge Avenue hill on Hagy’s Mill Road. One of the first urban environmental education centers in the country, the Schuylkill center offers visitors 340 green acres, three miles of hiking trails and a variety of exhibits, courses, and speakers.

 

More Details

This bike ride is a decent choice for confident beginners who want to start riding in traffic. If you are an experienced cyclist looking for more miles, this route will connect you to Valley Forge and the path out to Perkiomenville. You’ll start along the river, heading away from the city. This part of the Schuylkill River Trail will become very familiar to you if you take up cycling in Philadelphia!

You’ll pass the Girard, Columbia and Strawberry Mansion bridges. But, rather than cross Falls Bridge to MLK Drive as in the Loop, you’ll go straight across Calumet Street and head towards Ridge Avenue. This section is more like a sidewalk than a path, and sometimes cyclists play chicken. It won’t look like the rest of the SRT, but rest assured, you are heading in the correct direction. Once you hit Ridge Avenue, you’ll have to make a left turn to head towards Main Street (The Septa Wissahickon Transfer Center will be on the corner).

You’ll have two options here – take the hard left, which will put you on the path towards Main Street, Manayunk (you will see an enormous sign beckoning you towards Manayunk). There are a couple of bus lanes that you can abuse to make your way over to Main Street. If you make a mistake and take the soft left, you will find yourself heading up the very long, and very steep Ridge Avenue Hill. You will pass a movie theater to your right and then a few revitalized warehouses. The shops, restaurants and cafés that line Main Street are just ahead. The streets get more congested along this strip and there are also quite a few stoplights.

If you haven’t cycled in traffic before, take it slow. If you feel like riding farther, you’ll find an entrance to the gravel towpath just off Lock Street. Or just lock up your bikes and walk around town.

 

Ride Log

Hop on your bike anywhere on the Schuylkill River Trail near Lloyd Hall. The ride log begins at Boathouse Row.

  • 0.0 Start out on the Schuylkill River Trail heading towards the Viking Statue at the end of Boathouse Row. You’ll be riding northwest. Follow the path as you would if you were to do the Loop Ride.
  • 0.6 Pass under the Girard Bridge, and continue to follow the path.
  • 1.5 Pedal under the Columbia Bridge, past the grandstand and John B. Kelly (The Rower) statue.
  • 2.5 Pass under the Strawberry Mansion Bridge.
  • 3.6 The boxy, mint colored Falls Bridge will be to your left. Cross Calumet St and continue on the narrow path ahead.
  • 4.1 Pass under two highway overhangs and follow the curve to the right; the path will feel like a sidewalk.
  • 4.4 Make a left on Ridge Ave and then bear left. You will be heading towards Main St in Manayunk (FYI the entrance to Forbidden Dr Ride is just across Ridge Ave). There is a huge sign over the street directing you towards Manayunk. This is a heavily traveled bicycle route, and there are some decent shoulders here, but it can be awkward to bear left while moving to the right side of the street.
  • 4.8 Cruise along Main St Manayunk. There will be steady car traffic, but also plenty of cyclists.
  • 5.2 You are now in the heart Manayunk. Welcome!
  • 5.4 The entrance to the Tow Path Ride is by the river, just off Lock St. Le Bus, a café and bakery is just past Rector St. La Colombe, aka the city’s best coffee roaster, is just after Grape St. Swap to the log for Schuylkill River Trail to Valley Forge Ride if you’d like to venture further on towards Valley Forge.
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    8.575 km / 5.328 mi

    Total Distance

    137 m / 451 ft

    Total Ascent

    131 m / 429 ft

    Total Descent

    18 m / 59 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Easy (Blue)
    Ride Duration: <1 hr
    Fitness Level: Medium
    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: 5.4
    Elevation Gain: 93
    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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