Cycle Philadelphia, Road Ride, Center City to Johnny Brenda’s
This ride has so many fantastic details, including the Fifth Street tunnel, the bike lanes on Spring Garden and Pine, and one of my all time favorite roads in Philadelphia: 19th Street across Logan Circle. This fairly simple route will take you pretty far, but you’ll be pedaling alongside traffic for the duration of the ride.
You may find the road work, trolley tracks, and broken glass to be a hassle on your way to Frankford and Girard, or you may enjoy racing through the obstacle course that the city has so graciously laid out for you.
You’ll see steady traffic for most of the ride. There is significant traffic on Fifth Street and Girard, as well as the area around Logan Circle.
The ride begins in Rittenhouse Square, which is located on 18th and Walnut in Center City. If on bike, it’s a short ride from the top of Schuylkill Banks Park. If coming from afar, your best bet is to hop on the train to Suburban station and make your way to Rittenhouse.
Food and Drink
There are places to stop on nearly every block of this route, with a number of great spots on Second and Third in Northern Liberties. Also, Johnny Brenda’s has a pretty excellent menu.
This ride brings you direct to the Independence National Historical Park. So, if you want to check out the Constitution Center, Independence Hall, or the Independence Archeology Laboratory, then take Pine to Fifth, make a right on Fifth, and lock your bikes up before you hit the cobblestones!
Start off in glorious Rittenhouse Square, the largest greenspace in Center City and one of the best places in town for reading on a blanket, people-watching, and playing foursquare. From Rittenhouse, you’ll hop on Locust and pedal east, making a right on 17th Street to pick up the Pine Street bicycle lanes. After about 10 blocks on Pine, you’ll shimmy up Seventh Street and ride a few blocks on Market on your way to the Fifth Street bicycle lanes.
When on Market Street, please use caution and try to get in the left turning lane as soon as possible. Sure this appears to be a roundabout way to get toFifth Street, but it’s the best approach to avoid the grid of cobblestone streets in this part of town. Once on Fifth, you’re in for a delight – the traffic moves quickly but the bicycle lane gives you a good buffer. You’ll hit the Fifth Street tunnel soon after the Constitution Center; it is very wide and there’s a little downhill for added speed. You’ll take Fifth to Spring Garden, and then Third Street up through Northern Liberties (there’s a turn signal at the light) all the way up to Girard. T
ake note: Girard has trolley tracks!! So be careful and see University City Ride to learn how to conquer the tracks. Johnny Brenda’s is on the corner of Girard and Frankford, and it has a delicious menu of fresh local foods, a terrific beer list, and good shows too. On your way home, you take Second Street through Northern Liberties, see a little more Spring Garden action, and then you’ll be treated to 19th Street. You might not love this stretch as much as I do, what with its busses, narrow confines, bumpy portions and merging with Ben Franklin Parkway, but it sure is fun (especially late at night with little traffic).
There’s a slight downhill here, adding to the buzz. Stay to the right as you wind around Logan Circle, taking short advantage of the Ben Franklin bike lanes, and then peel off to pick up 19th Street again, which will take you back to Rittenhouse. Enjoy!
11.777 km / 7.318 mi
101 m / 332 ft
99 m / 325 ft
23 m / 77 ft