Center City Bike Lane Heaven

Cycle Philadelphia, Road Ride, Center City Bike Lane Heaven

The fabulous addition of bicycle lanes on Spruce and Pine allow riders of all kinds to enjoy pedaling through Center City. This is a great ride if you’re just starting out with a bicycle in Philly, or if you live in the suburbs and want to give city riding a go. You’ll pass a bevy of cafés and unique shops, galleries and museums, and a seemingly endless supply of buildings on the Historic Register.

Terrain

These new, buffered bike lanes offer a flat, if bumpy, ride through the center of Philadelphia.

Traffic

There will be a steady stream of traffic to the left of the bike lanes. Cars and trucks are permitted to stop in the lanes for loading purposes, so try not to be too upset with them!

Access

From the ‘burbs, take Regional Rail to 30th Street station. Cross the Market Street Bridge to Center City and take the ramp down to the Schuylkill River Trail. Head south on the trail and cross the train tracks to exit on Locust Street. Buses 7, 12, and 40 will drop you nearby.

Food and Drink

Nearly every block boasts fine options for food and drink! For a quick pick me up, head to Spruce Street Espresso – a fair trade coffee bar with large windows and ample outdoor seating – on the corner of 11th and Spruce.

Side Trip

There are dozens of historical sites along this ride, including St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Powel House, and the Independence Living History Center (an open archeology laboratory with artifacts from recent Philadelphia digs on display). The Headhouse Square Farmers Market takes place on Sundays during the summer under the shambles on 2nd and Lombard, or if you’re looking for more passive entertainment, the three Ritz Theaters in Old City feature independent and foreign films.

 

More Details

This simple loop takes you through the heart of Philadelphia. We start off at the Schuylkill River Park, which features a playground, community garden, and a dog run. The park offers a lovely green for a picnic either before or after your bike ride. Riding east on Pine Street, you’ll notice that the bike lanes do not begin until 22nd Street. The four or so blocks preceding the lanes are mixed use but fairly quiet.

After you cross Broad Street, you’ll ride through Historic Antique Row on Pine between Broad and Nineth Street. Before the turn around, you’ll bike ride through the distinctive Society Hill section of Philadelphia. Simply choosing between the museums, historic buildings, and walking tours in this area could take the entire afternoon! Please note: if you go exploring some of the more historic blocks, you may encounter a Philadelphia (and Tour de France) favorite: cobblestones. After the turn on Third Street, you’ll pick up the bicycle lane on Spruce to head back to the Schuylkill River Park. The next 20 blocks between you and the end of the bike ride are urban and gorgeous.

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Exit Schuylkill River Park on Pine St and head east. You’ll be on a quiet, mixed use road for a few blocks before the bike lanes start.
  • 0.2 Pass Fitler Square to the right.
  • 1.0 Cross Broad St (watch for potholes! There are a lot of uneven surfaces for the next few blocks).
  • 1.8 Pass St. Peter’s Episcopal Church between Third and Fourth St.
  • 1.9 Left on Third St. Watch for horse drawn carriages!
  • 2.0 Make a left onto Spruce and pick up the bike lanes heading west.
  • 2.8 Ride by lots of places to stop for lunch or coffee.
  • 3.0 Cross Broad St again. The Wilma Theater is to the right, The Kimmel to the left.
  • 3.6 Optional – make a right on 18th St for a visit to Rittenhouse Park.
  • 3.9 Continue down Spruce to finish at the entrance to Schuylkill River Park.
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    6.295 km / 3.911 mi

    Total Distance

    105 m / 343 ft

    Total Ascent

    103 m / 339 ft

    Total Descent

    17 m / 57 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Gravel
    Various
    Difficulty: Beginner (Green)
    Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
    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: 3.9
    Elevation Gain: 68
    Services:
    Water
    Food
    First Aid
    Toilets
    Bike hire
    Carparking
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber

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