Sunday, April 17, 2022

Philadelphia Bike Path Roubaix

I drove down to Carlisle, PA Easter weekend to spend some time with my daughter at her college since she wasn't coming home for the holiday. After breakfast, I dropped her off at her dorm and started heading towards Philadelphia and it started snowing! It didn't last long and two hours later I was hunting for a parking spot in South Philly.

Since I was heading back to Connecticut, I opted to drive through Philadelphia where I arranged to ride with my friend Steve Taylor, who lives in South Philly. I met Steve a few years back via social media because we both enjoyed riding dirt roads. Our previous rides have been in my neck of the woods and this was the first time for me to ride in Philadelphia and Steve was the perfect guide.

I will say this now, riding in the city is scarry! Watching out for opening car doors and tight, one way, roads make riding here adventurous to say the least if not downright crazy.

We stopped at the Smith Memorial Arch

Where Steve sat on one end and I on the other

and we were able to talk to one another due to the curvature of the bench

and how it carried sound waves to the other end.
It was really cool to be talking to him and he was 50 feet away.

We stopped at the Last Stop Cafe for lunch at the end of the Cynwyd Commuter rail line

As you can see, very bike friendly

We both got Grilled Cheese sandwiches.

Mine had Dijon Mustard in it.
I have always put ketchup on my grilled cheese but the mustard blew my socks off!

We had vanilla cream Beignets for desert

The Cynwyd Commuter Rail line ends and the Cynwyd Heritage Rail Trail begins

We rode half way down the trail

and then rode into the West Laurel Hill Cemetery

It was cool riding around the cemetery

and eerie at the same time

Back on the Cynwyd Trail we crossed over the Shuykill River on the Manayunk railroad bridge

and then worked our way down to the Manayunk Towpath trail to Port Royal. 

Steve showed me this cobblestone road that is a 20% climb

and a must ride for any cyclist worth his/her mettle

It was a brutal climb and you couldn’t get out of the saddle because the cobbles were smooth and slippery.

Having a car coming the other direction was a little disconcerting.

Riding back towards Shuykill River we ducked into the other Laurel Hill Cemetery and stopped for a marvelous photo op of the active train bridges going over the river.

Philly is bordered by the Shuykill and the Delaware Rivers

The views from the cemetery were great

We had to walk down a few flights of stairs carrying our bikes to get back to the trail

Then we rode across north Philadelphia

to the Delaware River bike path

Across the river was the WWII Battleship New Jersey

On the Philadelphia side was the Cruiser Olympia that saw service from 1895 until 1922.

According to Wikipedia, it was the flagship of Commodore George Dewey at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish–American War in 1898

A section of the trail was fenced off but you could still go through and we did.

The last leg back to Steve's house was all headwind and it sucked.
Despite the last bit this was a great ride and just the tip of the Phily cycling iceberg and I hope to ride down here again some time.

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