Cycle Philadelphia, Sightseeing & Road Ride, Boathouse Row to Bruno’s Ride
This bike ride from Center City to Bruno’s in Chestnut Hill is a longstanding tradition for the Bicycle Club of Philadelphia. You’ll cover a lot of ground on an array of streets – some are busy urban arterials, while others seem like slow country roads – before finishing up with a few miles on the SRT and a quick jaunt through Manayunk.
This ride takes you on road through Chestnut Hill, which, as the name implies, has one very large hill. You’ll encounter some climbing along the way and a few luxurious downhills.
Most of the roads are quiet, though a couple (including Ridge and Henry avenues), will have steady traffic. Bike lanes pop up here and there, as does a few miles of the Schuylkill River Trail.
The log begins at Lloyd Hall on Kelly Drive. 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
Bruno’s, a neighborhood diner with great food, marks the halfway point of this loop. There is a small ice cream shop next door as well.
Morris Arboretum of course! Talk about a place to lose yourself for an afternoon – the gorgeous historic gardens span 92 acres and contain sculptures, lovely walkways and streams, in addition to over 13,000 labeled plants, flowers and stately trees.
This is a great bike ride if you are ready for something more advanced but would still like the comfort of knowing that there are poop out options along the way. The full ride is a solid 27 miles, but for you, the non-committal rider, it can be shortened to 11 miles by catching the Chestnut Hill West line at Highland Avenue back to Center City, or to 16 miles by taking the Manayunk/ Norristown line at Spring Mill. So go for it! The majority of this bike ride is on quieter roads, though a few will have steady traffic. Most have a wide shoulder.
There are a handful of bridges to cross and circles to navigate, but if you take your time, relax, and follow the flow of traffic, you shouldn’t encounter any trouble. The first portion of this bike ride takes you from Boathouse Row to Chestnut Hill, a quiet neighborhood with beautiful old houses and big trees in the northwestern section of the city. There are a few good climbs and busy streets, most notably Ridge Avenue, Henry Avenue, and Germantown Avenue, but you will not be on these roads for long. Bruno’s is on the corner of Northwestern and Germantown avenues.
If you wish to make a day of the trip and visit Morris Arboretum, simply make a right on Northwestern. The entrance to the arboretum is just down the hill. There are two options for your return – Forbidden Drive or the long way through Manayunk. The second portion of your bike ride, should you choose the long way, all leads up to the very long, rolling Barren Hill Road. This is by far the loveliest road on the bike ride.
After a few turns, you’ll pick up The Schuylkill River Trail and bike ride towards the city. The third portion of this head brings you up Umbria Street and down Main Street in Manayunk. Main Street will have steady traffic, but drivers are generally accustomed to seeing cyclists (Umbria is the main connection between the Kelly Drive portion of the SRT and the Valley Forge portion). After your ride through Manayunk, you’ll pick up the loop along Kelly Drive and bike back to the boathouses.
42.741 km / 26.558 mi
550 m / 1,806 ft
552 m / 1,811 ft
125 m / 410 ft