Do people bike in Philadelphia? You bet they do! Philadelphians can shred with the best of them. And while many residents aren’t aware of it, bike trails are located all over the city. If you plan to cycle the city this summer, here are the four best places to ride in Philadelphia.
Anyone who is looking for challenging mountain biking trails should head over to Fairmount Park, in Roxborough (northwestern Philly). There you will find Wissahickon Creek (or “the Wiss,” as locals call it), a scenic set of trails, many of which follow its babbling creek namesake.
The trails in Wissahickon amount to over 14 miles of single track, on both sides of the valley. Be warned, though, these trails are quite challenging with their fast descents and technical climbs.
Many avid bikers in Philly consistently come back to Wissahickon, as very few bike trails in Philadelphia provide so much nature so close to the city. Access to the area is easily done via Forbidden Drive, which will give you access to all sections of the trail system.
If you’re hitting up Wissahickon during bug season, be sure to pack some bug spray, as the little buggers can get quite brutal in Fairmount Park.
For those looking for an area to bike in Philadelphia that is under five miles, we bring you Kelly Drive. This road, in the Manayunk part of Philly, follows the picturesque Schuylkill River for four solid miles. The terrain offers a relatively breezy ride, making it ideal for easy-rider bikers. Beware of Kelly Drive during special events though, as the sculling races and other regular events fill the nearby park up, making an easy bike ride somewhat more difficult.
Another solid option located within the Fairmount park system is the Belmont Plateau. With similar beauty to Wissahickon, the Belmont Plateau bike trails provide an easier ride. This trail system, which has fewer elevation changes than Wissahickon, can be done on a single speed.
If you’re not a lone rider, then be sure to join the Thursday Night Races, a weekly group ride that has been going on in the Belmont Plateau for over 20 years. If you’re wondering why a committed group of Philly bikers head out there every single week, it is for the unique course selected each week, created by Belmont Plateau riders who know these trails better than E! knows the Kardashian sisters. There are three different difficulties within the group ride, so don’t be afraid to join these crazy bikers. Just stay in your “weight class.”
The Ben Franklin Bridge Trail
Yes, the Ben Franklin Bridge is a bit of a twisted addition to this list, but the views offered from this iconic Philly area are truly unbeatable. So, when you tire of all the natural beauty on the outskirts of town, ride in the thick of it on the Ben Franklin Bridge trail. You won’t be disappointed by the views of the impressive Philly skyline, or the smooth riding of the trail itself. Be aware though that you do have to turn around at some point, or you’ll end up in New Jersey!
Be warned: This trail isn’t for bikers faint of heart, as you will be following a trail that hovers more than 100 feet above the Delaware River. Thankfully, there is a super-thick guardrail to keep you from falling to your doom.
The city of brotherly love is a great place for both road and mountain bikers. Just be sure to follow safety rules and carry a map.