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  1. #1
    Senior Member streetstomper's Avatar
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    Riding in Philly

    I'll be visiting Philly for a few days sometime in the fall and was considering whether or not to bring my bike. Is this a good idea? I'll be staying probably around the Italian Market, Bella Vista or Passyunk areas and visiting Center City, Chinatown, Logan Square, the historic district and the vicinity. How is traffic in and around Center City, especially after dark? Is it less busy than in daytime? South Broad, from what I understand, can be dangerous with high speed traffic and careless drivers. Am I naive to think that part of the city is fairly safe in terms of crime after dark?

  2. #2
    on the river trail Doug S.'s Avatar
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    I live in South Philly, right where you would be staying it seems. I bike a lot - both kitted up for exercise and on a singlespeed to get to bars and what not. No real issues, just need to be aware of your surroundings and if you give cars respect, you usually get the same back. And just watch for car doors opening. I'm not afraid of riding in traffic. I obey all rules for the most part.

    Riding at night usually less traffic yes. South Broad, there is no real reason to even ride on it. Bike lanes on Spruce and Pine Sts make east and west riding easy. And mos of the north-south numbered streets are no big deal.

    There are bikers everywhere. Cars are use to it, more and more.

    If you want to do a longer ride, the Schuylkill River Trail is nice and I can give you specifics on that. Can do up to 60 miles roundtrip...

    Doug

  3. #3
    on the river trail Doug S.'s Avatar
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    I will say bike theft is an issue. Bring two locks. Don't keep it outside overnight.

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    Doug, I'd love the SRT info. Jay

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    Senior Member streetstomper's Avatar
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    Thanks. The only reason I'd want to ride Broad is to see the sights. I know 13th and 15th have marked bike lanes. Don't really have time to do a 60 mile ride. Just wanted to squeeze some riding in while I was there, visit a few places like Reading Terminal Market, ride around the city center. With only a few days, I'd rather ride around than be stuck in a bus or subway. I only carry one lock, an Onguard Pitbull, but won't be leaving the bike out overnight.

  6. #6
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    If you like urban riding, you'll like riding in Philly. If you don't know whether you like urban riding, it's worth a try. Some people who are from rural and suburban areas are surprised to find out how much fun it can be.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  7. #7
    Senior Member Papa Tom's Avatar
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    Stomper: I would take the Schuylkill River info from Doug S. You don't HAVE to go 60 miles. It's a great ride even if you do two or three miles.
    Papa Tom

    "I just need a rest...and by 'rest' I mean a really long bicycle ride."

  8. #8
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    There ain't much to see on Broad Street other than City Hall.

    Bring lights for night riding.

    Through the end of October, MLK Drive is closed to cars between the Art Museum and it's end at the East Falls Bridge from 6 or 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.. although the 1 mile stretch between the museum and Sweet Briar is open to cars starting at noon (there is a shoulder and a parallel rec. path).

  9. #9
    Senior Member streetstomper's Avatar
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    As noglider surmised, I like urban riding, so being among the buildings on the north end of South Broad and around Center City interests me. Seeing that area on Google Street View, it reminds me of the avenues of Manhattan, maybe Park Avenue. South of Spruce, it reminds me of the southern half of Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. The section around Roosevelt Park on the south end even looks like the southernmost part of Flatbush in Marine Park. I can understand why some people call it the sixth borough of New York City. No offense to Philadelphians.

    Any areas around or near Center City I should avoid for safety reasons when riding in the evening? I know what neighborhoods to avoid after dark in NYC, but nothing about Philly.

  10. #10
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    Nothing really to avoid in and around center city.

    Watch out for the construction around City Hall. There is a massive project underway affecting mostly the SW side of the circle around the building.
    "I've wanted you to succeed, but watching you find excuse after excuse after excuse and then laugh it off as the loveable, quirky, chubby guy is getting old."--Ill.Clyde

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    Quote Originally Posted by dsljay View Post
    Doug, I'd love the SRT info. Jay
    I didn't see anyone else post this: Schuylkill River Trail Map - Schuylkill River Trail

    I take that trail for ~50 miles round-trip routinely. I'm looking to add the Perkiomen Trail that branches off of it to the trip one day soon. It's a very pleasant and easy ride. If you have a road bike, I'd keep to the roads in the canal is flat-land in my experience.

    I agree with those that say there isn't much to see on Broad. It's also not very bike-friendly compared to many of the other N-S streets. 15th street has a "bike lane" but I think it's a terrible place for it and many of the cars seem to also. There is plenty to see by bike that doesn't involve that traffic-filled area.

  12. #12
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    Visited Philly last year and had my bike with me. I'm used to riding in urban areas so felt
    comfortable riding there. I liked riding the schuylkill river trail; but it was winter time then
    so it wasn't very crowded.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kt5M...IoDLA&index=21

  13. #13
    Member Sailor73's Avatar
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    I recently moved to the Philly burbs and was frustrated at the lack of long winding roads with minimal traffic (I live along the Main Line). Thanks for the links to the SRT. I'm going to ride on it this afternoon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sailor73 View Post
    I recently moved to the Philly burbs and was frustrated at the lack of long winding roads with minimal traffic (I live along the Main Line). Thanks for the links to the SRT. I'm going to ride on it this afternoon.
    I don't know that area well, but I know that Keswick Cycle in Glenside leads rides out there as do some groups. There is also a nice trail along 202 that I rode some of as part of the Tour de Cure: Bike Ride Profile | Tour de Cure Metric Century 2014 near Ambler | Times and Records | Strava

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sailor73 View Post
    I recently moved to the Philly burbs and was frustrated at the lack of long winding roads with minimal traffic (I live along the Main Line). Thanks for the links to the SRT. I'm going to ride on it this afternoon.
    The SRT will have heavy bike traffic on most nice weekends. If you have the time and access to a car, drive up to Hunterdon County, NJ and ride there and in Warren County. Lots of great riding and plenty of hills. From the center of the city, Lambertville, Bull's Island and Frenchtown are with about a 1 hr. drive or less. I can give you a few cue sheets if you would like.

    The Central Bucks Bike Club does some rides in those areas and on the PA side of the river. There is also a trail that runs from Trenton, NJ all the way to Frenchtown, NJ. It's not paved, but doable even on 23c tires, although you might prefer 25c or larger. There are places to eat in L'Ville, Stockton and Frenchtown. Bull's Island Recreation area, between Stockton and Frenchtown, has bathrooms and water, and you can take a dip in the river from the boat launch.
    "I've wanted you to succeed, but watching you find excuse after excuse after excuse and then laugh it off as the loveable, quirky, chubby guy is getting old."--Ill.Clyde

  16. #16
    Member Sailor73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcg878 View Post
    I don't know that area well, but I know that Keswick Cycle in Glenside leads rides out there as do some groups. There is also a nice trail along 202 that I rode some of as part of the Tour de Cure: Bike Ride Profile | Tour de Cure Metric Century 2014 near Ambler | Times and Records | Strava
    Thank you!

  17. #17
    Member Sailor73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
    The SRT will have heavy bike traffic on most nice weekends. If you have the time and access to a car, drive up to Hunterdon County, NJ and ride there and in Warren County. Lots of great riding and plenty of hills. From the center of the city, Lambertville, Bull's Island and Frenchtown are with about a 1 hr. drive or less. I can give you a few cue sheets if you would like.

    The Central Bucks Bike Club does some rides in those areas and on the PA side of the river. There is also a trail that runs from Trenton, NJ all the way to Frenchtown, NJ. It's not paved, but doable even on 23c tires, although you might prefer 25c or larger. There are places to eat in L'Ville, Stockton and Frenchtown. Bull's Island Recreation area, between Stockton and Frenchtown, has bathrooms and water, and you can take a dip in the river from the boat launch.
    If you wouldn't mind, I would definitely appreciate the cue sheets. Thank you!

  18. #18
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sailor73 View Post
    If you wouldn't mind, I would definitely appreciate the cue sheets. Thank you!
    I don't think you have enough posts to be able to send me a private message. I will send you a PM on Monday with my email address. You can mail me and I will send you back files with the cue sheets, which are on my work computer.
    "I've wanted you to succeed, but watching you find excuse after excuse after excuse and then laugh it off as the loveable, quirky, chubby guy is getting old."--Ill.Clyde

  19. #19
    on the river trail Doug S.'s Avatar
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    For the SRT trail:

    Ride West River Dr or Kelly Dr away from the city.

    If West River, make a right onto Falls Bridge at the end of West River and then left onto Kelly Dr.

    Follow that around (pass a bus terminal and over the Wissahickon creek) to Main St. in Manayunk. There is a sign. Stay to the left of the fork.

    Stay on Main St through Manayunk.

    Then make right onto Leverington St. when you come to a Y. And then first left onto Umbria St. Nice hill on Umbria!

    Follow that around a bend, and then sharp left (watch for cars!) onto Shawmont Ave.

    Then you pick up the train again on your right. Take that as far as you want, all the way to Phoenixville for a 60+ roundtrip from Center City.

    In city riding:

    Spring Garden St has a nice bike lane.

    Ride north into Fairmount and then ride E-W on Spring Garden for some nice city views.
    Last edited by Doug S.; 08-04-14 at 08:54 AM. Reason: typos

  20. #20
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    You don't have to do that riding in lower Roxborough anymore. The Manayunk Tow Path behind Main St. was resurfced with limestone a few years ago. It's easily doable on skinny tires. You might want to avoi it after heavy rain as you bike can get messy.

    Also, W. River Dr. (now called MLK Dr. is closed to cars on weekends starting the first full weekend in April and ending the last full weekend in October between 6 or 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., alhtough the 1.25 miles between the Museum and Sweet Briar Dr. opens for cars at noon.

    If you do take MLK and cross the Falls Bridge, I recommend taking either tha path along Kelly Dr. (not the road) or staying straight to the gas station and making a left on Ridge to Main St. just past the water fall and the transportation center. Drivers fly on the portion of Kelly above the Falls Bridge, and the edge of the roadway leading into the city is banged up.
    "I've wanted you to succeed, but watching you find excuse after excuse after excuse and then laugh it off as the loveable, quirky, chubby guy is getting old."--Ill.Clyde

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