A bicycle is the best way to get around, and if you’re reading this article in Philadelphia, you live in the most-biked big city in the United States. So, what’s holding you up from getting on a bicycle yourself? Why not make 2018 the year you begin your new life as a cyclist, or something like it? And to get you started, I came up with four great Philadelphia (and Philly-area) rides.
1. Ride to work or school
You know you’ve thought about it. 2018 is the time to do it. Take your bike out of the basement, the shed, or wherever; get on it; and ride to your daily destination. Bicycling is the best way to explore a city, and riding to work or school lets you explore your city as part of your daily routine.
Bonus:Don’t have a bike? Take an Indego bicycle. Even if you don’t have a bike share membership, it’s still only $4 per ride.
2. The Schuylkill River Trail
A portion of the Circuit Trail Network throughout the Greater Philadelphia Region, you can ride the Schuylkill River Trail almost completely off-road between Center City and Valley Forge National Park, and essentially all afternoon if you’ve got the time.
Bonus: In addition to seeing some fantastic nature and fellow travelers along the way, a stop at the Conshohocken Brewery is a great way to break up the ride.
Bonus No. 2: Take a Detour in Manayunk, head over the ManayunkBridge, and take a slow roll on the Cynwyd Heritage Trail.
3. Philly Naked Bike Ride
The Philly Naked Bike Ride is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. In addition to the as-advertised nature of the the ride, it is truly the most-judgment free zone you will ever find yourself in. It’s hard to come across anyone having a bad time at the PNBR — whether they’re participating or watching from the sidewalk. It’s also a great way to see Philly’s neighborhoods with a thousands-strong group ride.
Bonus: A stranger will slather whatever part of your body inbody paint, if you want them to.
4. Philly’s most-ridden bike lane network
Biking is a great way to get around, but it can also be worrisome and, sometimes, dangerous. That’s why I suggest everyone, whether you’re a cyclist or not, gets on a bike and ride’s Philly’s most-ridden network during rush hour. The bike lanes along Spruce and Pine Streets are Philly’s most-ridden and, when installed, well-known as the best. But as I’ve discussed in this column many times, they’ve become the most worn down and, according to the PPA, the most parked-in throughout the city.
To really understand why cyclists advocate for better protection and better networks, it’s worth taking a ride yourself to see what it’s like to have people using your lane to store their empty vehicle, reading their phones as they drive next to you, and failing to yield to you before making a turn.
Bonus: The network will objectively be better, hopefully in the Spring, when protected bike lanes are installed along 27th and South Streets leading to, and from, the South Street Bridge.