Julie’s Sunday Morning Ride

Cycle Philadelphia, Road Ride, Julie’s Sunday Morning Ride

This route showcases the best stuff to see from a bike in Philadelphia. The buildings flutter between old and new, serene open spaces are jammed into a hustling city, ethnic neighborhoods appear to pop up out of nowhere, and it finishes off with a short stretch along that gorgeous Schuylkill River. If you don’t like weaving in and out of traffic, then make this trip early on a Sunday morning.

Terrain

This is a city ride, through crowded city streets, with lots to look at absolutely everywhere you turn your head, and even more potholes.

Traffic

Heavy. Unless you are an experienced city rider, this is a loop for an early Sunday morning, long before the city wakes up.

Access 

The ride log begins at the entrance to Schuylkill River Park, on 25th and Locust. If coming from the burbs, take Regional Rail to 30th Street station, cross the Market Street Bridge towards Center City and take the ramp towards the Schuylkill River Trail. Septa buses 7,12 and 40 will drop you nearby.

Food and Drink

Almost every street will have options for you. Highlights include cafés around Rittenhouse square, Pho 75 on Washington Avenue, Sabrina’s in the Italian Market on Ninth and Christian, and the portions along South and 18th streets. You’ll ride through Chinatown, too!

Side Trip

The opportunities for people-watching and public sitting throughout this loop are pretty great – you’ll want to park your bike and hang out on almost every corner of this ride (I do!). Rittenhouse Square, Independence Mall, City Hall, Love Park, Logan Square, and the Art Museum steps are just a few of the stops.

 

More Details

You’ll begin the bike ride at Schuylkill River Park and bike through beautiful brick homes in Fitler Square. Then make a couple of left turns at Rittenhouse Square to hug the perimeter of the park along Locust. This is an area where bikes almost always have the ability to beat cars. You’ll continue to Broad Street and then race southbound to Washington. Take Washington through the beginning of the Vietnamese section of Philadelphia and then turn up Ninth Street straight through the Italian Market.

This will be super cramped, but also awesome. Continue up Ninth all the way to South through Bella Vista. You’ll also pass my go-to bike shop – Via Bikes on Ninth and South. But wait there’s so much more! You’ll ride along busy South Street and up Fifth Street through the tunnel to Spring Garden. The whole reason for this is so you can bike south on 10th Street – which is right through the Chinatown arches. Take it slowly here! After 10th, hop on Market towards City Hall and make a couple of lefts to ride around the perimeter, much like you did for Rittenhouse Square.

City Hall is beautiful, by the way. You’ll end up southbound on 15th Street and then hang a right on Walnut through the heart of Center City. If you want to skip this short portion, which swings through 18th Street and Chestnut Street, then stay on Market to 16th Street and make a right to pick up the log at mile 7.2 (at the Arch/Ben Franklin/16th Street intersection).

Benjamin Franklin Parkway bicycle lanes are next! Ride around the fountain at Logan Square and head down the parkway towards the Art Museum. You’ll loop halfway around Eakins Oval to bike past the museum and head towards the river trail. Once at Schuylkill Banks, make a left to end your fantastic ride along the river and back to the Locust Street entrance. 

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Start 25th and Locust, by the entrance to Schuylkill Banks Park. Head east on Locust.
  • 0.4 Come to the edge of Rittenhouse Park. Make a right at the light and follow Locust around the south end of the park.
  • 0.6 Left on 18th St at the light, then a quick right at the next right to stay on Locust.
  • 1.0 Right on Broad St to head south. If you don’t want to ride on Broad or Washington, then stay on Locust through the Gayborhood until you reach Fifth St. Pick up the ride log at mile 3.2.
  • 1.7 Left on Washington Ave bicycle lanes.
  • 2.0 Pass Pho 75. Yum. Soup and Vietnamese coffee, only.
  • 2.2 Left on Ninth St to pedal through the Italian Market.
  • 2.7 Right on South St.
  • 3.0 Left on Fifth St.
  • 3.2 Come to Fifth and Locust. If coming from Locust, make a left onto Fifth St.
  • 3.4 Pass Independence Mall.
  • 3.6 Cross Market St and pick up the Fifth St bicycle lanes. Sail through the tunnel on your way up north!
  • 4.4 Left on Spring Garden bicycle lanes.
  • 4.8 Left on N 10th St.
  • 5.2 Ride southbound through Chinatown!
  • 5.6 Right on Market St.
  • 5.9 Hit City Hall and make a right on Juniper St.
  • 6.0 Left on Filbert to go around the City Hall block.
  • 6.1 Left on 16th St.
  • 6.4 Right on Walnut St to pedal through Philadelphia’s (short but sweet) lux shopping district.
  • 6.6 Right on 18th St. Watch for potholes on this one!
  • 6.8 Right on Chestnut St.
  • 7.0 Left on 16th St.
  • 7.2 Come to the Arch/Benjamin Franklin/16th St intersection. Make a right on Ben Franklin Pkwy at the light and pick up the bicycle lanes.
  • 7.5 Follow the bike lanes around Logan Circle and keep heading down the parkway towards the museum.
  • 8.2 Bear left to snake in front of the museum. Make your way over to the right lane and, after you pass the museum, pedal under the overpass towards the river. See the sign pointing you to the Schuylkill Banks Park. Cross Ben Franklin Pkwy at the light and make a left onto the bike path.
  • 8.9 Pass Race St entrance to the bike path.
  • 9.4 Pedal under the Walnut St Bridge.
  • 9.5 Arrive at the end of Schuylkill Banks Park and the entrance at 25th and Locust.
  • Trail map

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    14.96 km / 9.296 mi

    Total Distance

    134 m / 441 ft

    Total Ascent

    135 m / 442 ft

    Total Descent

    18 m / 59 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Gravel
    Various
    Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
    Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
    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: 9.5
    Elevation Gain: 53
    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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