The nuts and bolts of my commute

I live in Mt. Airy, near Hortter St. and Lincoln Dr.,  and  work at Penn, near 33rd and Spruce.  Depending on weather, lights, traffic on the trail and my starting point, my commute in can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 50 minutes.  Coming home, since it is uphill near the end, usually takes a bit longer.

My starting place varies because sometimes I bike in directly from home, but other times, if I am in charge of dropping off one or both kiddos, I might park near my son’s school (in Germantown), near Rittenhouse Town off Lincoln Drive, or even in East Falls (on Midvale).  We have one car and therefore keep a bike rack permanently on the back to make taking the kids in to school, parking the car, riding in, and having the other parent able to bike quickly to the car for kiddo pick-up as easy as possible.  On a typical day I’ll have one ride that is about 6-8 miles and one ride about 10 miles.

Both of our schedules are somewhat flexible so when we ride in and back varies a lot day to day.   Typically I take the train home if I am commuting home after dark, but my husband and I both have lights for our bicycles (more on safety in another post).

The route from home to work:

Ride down Hortter St.

Cross Lincoln Drive and continue on Hortter.

Turn left at Wissahickon.

Just after Walnut and before Wissahickon crosses Lincoln Dr., take a sharp right onto the path through Rittenhouse Town.

This is where the trail section of the commute begins, and this section is often referred to “Rittenhouse Town Trail” and is paved in some sections and is packed gravel in other sections.

Follow path and turn right to stay on trail just before the trail runs into Lincoln Drive.

Follow path to the parking lot at the end of Forbidden Drive trail.

Go through this small lot, turning slightly to the left to the continuation of the paved trail.  (There is a wooden bridge on this section.)

This section of the trail is referred to as Lincoln Drive Trail, and the entire path is paved. 

Follow this paved trail to Ridge Ave.

Cross Ridge Avenue, turn left, and follow the sidewalk around to the right to the bike trail.

This is the  Schuylkill River Trail, and the entire section between Ridge Avenue and Chestnut St. Bridge is paved.

Continue on this trail until the Chestnut St. Bridge.

Go up to the ramp at the bridge to the street level and cross the river to West Philadelphia.

The rest of the ride at this point is in bike lanes on the roadway, unless the biker chooses to go through Penn Park.

At light, go left to Walnut Street.

Take bike lane to campus.


There are alternate routes for my commute.  Two of my favorite are:

Instead of taking the Schuylkill River Trail the entire way from Ridge to Chestnut St., sometimes I cross the Schuylkill River at Falls Bridge and ride to the museum on the west side of the river on the West River Drive Trail.  This trail tends to be less crowded than the east side of the river.

When I want to do more trail riding, instead of taking Wissahickon Avenue to the trail (or the reverse on the way home), I ride down Westview or Carpenter’s Lane to Kitchen’s Lane and from there ride down to Forbidden Drive Trail (packed gravel), which merges with the Lincoln Drive trail.  Kitchen’s Lane is a steep hill (paved) and there is also a rocky hill down to Forbidden Drive so it can be more challenging (and fun!) than the street route, but note that after a storm the rock path down to Forbidden Drive Trail can be difficult to navigate on a bicycle.


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