Weekend Wheeling in Philadelphia

The Drives
By Patricia Vance
  |  Gorp.com
Page 2 of 4   |  

Getting There

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a popular spot for area cyclists to meet since free parking is available in a public lot on Aquarium Drive. To get there, take the Ben Franklin Boulevard exit from I-676 and follow signs to the art museum and Kelly Drive. Go straight on Kelly Drive. Immediately after passing the art museum on the left, follow the small traffic circle to the left around the back of the two-story statue of Abraham Lincoln. Once behind the statue, go straight onto Aquarium Drive, between the art museum and the boathouses. Lloyd Hall, Number 1 Boathouse Row, sells snacks, fast food, and soft drinks and there are public rest rooms.

The Ride

Start the ride by turning left from Aquarium Drive onto the Kelly Drive bike path. It is 3.8 miles to the Falls Bridge. Along the way you will encounter other cyclists, walkers, runners, and skaters of all ages enjoying the view and the sculpture along this flat, paved surface. When you reach the Falls Bridge — the first place where crossing the river from the bike path is possible — you have two options.

For a flat, easy 8.5-mile ride, turn left and cross the Schuylkill River. On the other side, turn left again and follow the West River Drive bike path back to the art museum. For a 23-mile ride that includes some hills, continue straight on the Kelly Drive bike path until it ends at Ridge Avenue at 4.5 miles. Follow the sidewalk to the left across Wissahickon Creek. Just on the other side of the creek, cross Ridge Avenue, using the walk signal.

Go straight ahead onto the bike path that follows Wissahickon Creek. After 1.2 miles, turn left, through the parking area onto Forbidden Drive. This wide, flat gravel road is 5.3 miles long. You will share the road with other cyclists, pedestrians, plus maybe a horse or two. After 2.8 miles, Valley Green Inn is on the left where you can buy snacks, soft drinks, and replenish the water bottles from a drinking fountain.

At the end of the gravel road (at 11.1 miles), you come to a T-intersection. Northwestern Avenue goes to the right, and Andorra Road goes to the left. If you are ready for a lunch break, Bruno's Restaurant is to the right about half a mile away. Otherwise, go left on Andorra Road and head up the hill. At the T-intersection that occurs approximately one mile farther, turn right on Park Avenue and take it for one-tenth of a mile, turning left on Church Road. Cross Ridge Avenue at the light where Church Road becomes Hart's Lane. Follow Hart's Lane up and over the ridge and then down, down, down to the river. At the T-intersection, turn left onto River Road after having ridden approximately 14 miles from the start.

River Road merges with Nixon Street after crossing the railroad tracks about a mile and a quarter later. Nixon Street ends about a mile and a half beyond that. When it does, go straight onto the Manayunk Towpath, which is unpaved and rough in spots.

The towpath ends and turns left onto Lock Street. Ride one block and turn right onto Main Street. Continue for a mile until Main Street merges with Ridge Avenue. One block farther, you will cross the Wissahickon Creek again. Follow the sidewalk to the right and rejoin the Kelly Drive bike path.

Continue on Kelly for approximately three-quarters of a mile to the Falls Bridge. Turn right and cross the Schuylkill River and then turn left on West River Drive. Follow the bike path. You will cross the river again at about 22 miles from the beginning of the ride. Use the crosswalk to get onto the path around the art museum. Keep the museum on your left and watch for the left turn onto Aquarium Drive that will take you back to your car.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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