The inaugural event on October 15th sees you cruising through the city — from the Art Museum to Penn’s Landing, all the way out to Manayunk and back.
Philly has always been a big cycling city — and for a lot of reasons: narrow streets, relatively flat terrain, its compactness, hundreds of miles of stellar trails. And although biking has especially boomed because of the pandemic, staying safe while pedaling through city streets can be… difficult to say the least.
If you’re tired of stressing over road-raged drivers, doors from parked cars opening without warning, dodging SEPTA buses, pedestrians not looking both ways before crossing the street, and other cycling-related frustrations, you’re in luck this fall. On Saturday, October 15th, the inaugural Philly Bike Ride will close down 20 miles of city streets so that bikers of all ages can pedal worry-free throughout Philadelphia. That’s right: No! Cars!
The new-to-Philly event is being put on by American Bike Ride — an organization that brings cycling events to major US cities — in partnership with the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The social ride — yup, it’s not a race! — actually started in DC back in 2016, and has seen over 40,000 participants since its inception, according to organizers.
Sounds amazing, right? Below, find all the deets about the Philly cycling event so you know what to expect before donning your helmet and hitting the road.
The full course spans 20 miles across Philadelphia — from Penn’s Landing to Manayunk. The route starts and ends by the Art Museum and focuses on some of the city’s most notable, ‘grammable sites. Some course highlights include:
- Mile 0.6 — The Franklin Institute along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
- Mile 0.8 — The iconic LOVE statue
- Mile 1.2-1.4 — City Hall and Reading Terminal Market
- Miles 2-4 — Independence Mall, Penn’s Landing and the Delaware River Waterfront
- Miles 4-6 — South Philly
- Mile 7.5 – Benjamin Franklin Parkway
- Mile 8 – Boathouse Row
- Mile 13.4 – Main Street in Manayunk; loop back down to the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Mile 20)
If you don’t want to bike 20 miles in a single day, but still want to participate in the ride, opt for the six-mile course. It follows the same route as the start of the 20-miler, but excludes the Kelly Drive/Manayunk portion.
Who can participate?
Because it’s closed-course and non-competitive, the Philly Bike Ride is open to riders ages three and up — meaning it’s great for the whole family.
If you’re bringing little ones, know that kids who are three to seven years old ride for free, but must be in a child bike seat, tag-along/tandem bike, bike trailer, or bike cargo. Kids ages eight through 17 can ride their own bikes at a discounted rate, but have to be accompanied by a parent or guardian in order to participate.
The Philly Bike Ride will take place on Saturday, October 15th at 7:30 am Although everyone begins at the same time, the ride is go-at-your-own-pace, meaning the event will end when the final rider crosses the finish line line.
Also, this shindig is happening rain or shine. If the forecast is looking like rain that morning, wear a poncho! Unfortunately, no refunds will be given, but you can transfer your ticket to someone else — or a future event — at no cost by August 31st.
If you have your own bike, you’re encouraged to ride your own. The event also welcomes class 1, 2, and 3 e-bikes (with a motor that does not exceed 750 watts). If you’re riding an e-bike, your speed must be below 18 miles per hour the entire time.
If you don’t have your own bike, you can rent one through the event’s Rent & Ride program, which is designated on the registration page. Several hundred bikes — including adult, youth, and electric — will be available for rent, thanks to a partnership with Unlimited Biking. Your rental includes a helmet, and you’ll need to pick up your gear between 5:30 and 7 am on the day of the ride. (You’ll be emailed specific details if you choose to rent.)
Registration starts at $70, which might seem steep for riding your bike at 7:30 am on a Saturday, but just remember: No! Cars!
In addition, the event is partially philanthropic, as a portion of all registration fees benefit the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, including its youth cycling program which focuses on creating healthy lifestyle habits and skills via biking for kids ages 12 through 18.
There are several opportunities to get a discounted rate by bundling registrations with friends and family members. Plus, participants ages three through seven years old ride for free, while registration costs $35 for anyone ages eight through 17. Bonus: Registration includes a 2022 Philly Bike Ride custom water bottle, the course itself, and access to a post-ride party featuring live music, food trucks, and family-friendly entertainment.
Register for the ride here.