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Join Us to Celebrate the Return of Trail Season - April 15!

Join us on April 15th for a celebration of trails! In just one month the Circuit Trails will take a major step forward with the launch of a new awareness campaign, encouraging people to use, visit and share their stories about the Circuit.  Along with a new look and feel, the Circuit Trails will be launching a new, user-friendly website at  Please plan to join us on April 15 at 11 a.m. at Race Street Pier for a celebration of the return of trail season and the unveiling of our new look!

There’s more to love than ever before. Throughout the weekend there will be events across the region to celebrate the opening of trail season.  Visit our events page to find out what is happening on the Circuit Trails during Opening Weekend (April 16 & 17) and get out on the trails this season!

    • circuit trails save the date

Advocating for Trails: Bike Bucks County

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Our friends at Bike Bucks County are making great strides in 2016 for bicycle advocacy across Bucks County. Bike Bucks County, an affiliate of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, started last March and is quickly gaining support from many advocates across the region. Their current mission is focused on making the Newtown Rail Trail a reality.

The Newtown Rail Trail is a proposed 8.4-mile trail that will connect users from the Newtown Borough all the way to the Pennypack Trail in Philadelphia, creating a vital link in the Circuit Trails. Bike Bucks County has been working with the Penn Tammany Greenway Coalition (PTGC), a volunteer group of residents in Bucks and Montgomery Counties whose mission is to transform SEPTA's Fox Chase - Newtown Line into a multi-use recreational trail.

Recently, the Bucks County Commissioners offered their support to design and engineer a plan for part of the Newtown Rail Trail. The cost for the design and engineering of the Upper Southampton part of the trail will be paid for through grants from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and the William Penn Foundation. However, without the support of citizen and officials in each of the five municipalities, the complete trail will not be possible.

Over the last few months the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors delayed voting on a resolution to the formation of the trail. The reasoning behind the delay is wanting to hear from neighboring municipalities and area property owners near where the trail will run.

So far, Middletown Township and the George School are positive toward the idea, nevertheless there are still many others that have not voiced their opinions yet. This is why Bike Bucks County needs your help!

There are several ways residents are encouraged to get involved. One, sign the online petition here to ask the Bucks County Commissioner to implement the County Bicycle Master Plan that includes the Newtown Rail Trail. Another option is to attend a panel discussion this Wednesday, January 27th at 7 pm at Northampton Twp. Public Library, 25 Upper Holland Road, Richboro, PA 18954. For more information about the next panel discussion click here. Get involved to help make this incredible trail project a reality!

Philadelphia’s First-Ever Vision Zero Conference

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By Sarah Clark Stuart, Acting Executive Director, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is teaming with Thomas Jefferson University Hospital for Vision Zero Philadelphia, the first-ever Vision Zero Conference in Philadelphia. It will take place at Thomas Jefferson University on December 3, 2015.

Vision Zero is a policy that seeks to reduce all traffic deaths in a given area to zero in a given amount of time, and we believe many citywide organizations — City Hall, the Philadelphia Police Department, and hospitals, among others — have an important stake in this important issue. Guests and speakers will join us from all over the country to tell us about what works, and what doesn’t, to create a safer Philadelphia for people on bikes, pedestrians and people in cars.

Philadelphia’s new administration is committed to reducing road injuries and deaths through implementing a Vision Zero policy.

Vision Zero is based on the concept that road crashes are not accidents, but are preventable events.

Through education, engineering and enforcement, road deaths, currently totaling nearly 100 per-year in Philadelphia, can be reduced to zero.

National experts in safety, design, engineering, education and enforcement from both the public and private sectors will share their expertise and experience to help lay the groundwork for a goal and action plan that is tailored to Philadelphia and employs best practices. Join us for a day of speakers, panels and break out-sessions focused on this crucial safety issue.

If you would like to be a part of Vision Zero Philadelphia, please click here.

Enjoying Cooler Weather #OnTheCircuit

    • jed kornbluh fatbiking to easton

By Steve Taylor

The arrival of cooler weather can give new perspectives on The Circuit Trails. For Linda McGrane, President of the Bicycle Club of Philadelphia, getting out in the later months is about enjoying “the crisp, refreshing autumn air, as well as the colorful fall foliage. As long as the roads are clear and dry—that is, free of snow and ice—I continue to cycle into the winter months.”

Jed Kornbluh, national sales manager for cyclewear company Verge Sport, is also a year-round cyclist. His favorite Circuit segments to ride this time of year are both on the Delaware and Raritan Canal Trail. “The first is from Stockton to Milford (and on to Easton if you cross the river into Pennsylvania), and the second is Lambertville to Kingston. These are two very different trails. The first section starts and finishes along leaf-swept gravel and cinder with the river on the western edge and rolling country highway Route 29 on the east. The other stretch starts in the bustling village of Lambertville, rolls along through historic Washington Crossing State Park and eventually goes from country to urban just after the Trenton Country Club section.”

Jed has this cool weather tip: “Remember to layer. This time of year can be tricky, with mornings in the 30s and afternoons in the 50s. It's best to pack a variety of clothing but the best options include vests, light jackets or convertible items (with removable sleeves). When I travel on the canal paths I generally ride a bike equipped with a large handlebar bag, which has enough space for tools, food and spare clothes.”

To this, Linda adds, “Remember also to cover your head, hands and feet adequately. Body heat escapes most quickly through the extremities. Another important point: Even when the temperature is cooler, you still need to stay hydrated.”

When the temperatures get wintry, John Boyle, research director for the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, uses some special gear for his often windy bike commute across the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, including handlebar mittens and a face-shielding balaclava. In the coldest weather, he breaks out his ski helmet, goggles and electric socks.

On the weekends, John enjoys getting out with his family for walks on The Circuit in less specialized attire. “The Pennypack and Perkiomen are great walking trails, but the D&L Trail may be the best. I like the Nockamixon Cliffs / Palisades section.”

Linda also enjoys the Pennypack Trail, especially the hillier part between Bustleton Avenue and Pine Road. She appreciates trails that allow her to ride parallel to busy and non-bike-friendly roads. “I like the Chester Valley Trail, since it allows me to cycle safely up and down the Route 202 Corridor. The Leiper-Smedley Trail near Swarthmore lets me ride near and over the Blue Route.

“Continuing to cycle outdoors, regardless of the cooler temperatures, provides a therapeutic dose of daylight and allows you to remain connected with other people and with the environment.”

Photo Credit: Photo 1 Jed Kornbluh (on D&R Canal Trail); Photo 2 Howard Hess (on Chester Valley Trail)

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Bridging Gaps High Above the Schuylkill

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Hundreds of community members, trail advocates and officials convened in the middle of the Manayunk Bridge on Friday to witness a historic moment – the opening of the iconic Manayunk Bridge as a bike-ped bridge.

The new 0.6 Manayunk Bridge Trail connects Lower Merion Township and Philadelphia high above the river and the highway, creating a key link in the Circuit Trails that connects the Cynwyd Heritage Trail with Main Street in Manayunk and the Schuylkill River Trail.

When speaking about the first exclusively pedestrian and cyclists bridge over the Schuylkill River, Jorge Brito of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, said, “the saying ‘never say never’ comes to mind. Projects like this make the city of Philadelphia a landmark.”

Officials, including Mayor Michael Nutter and Elizabeth Rogan gave remarks at the ribbon cutting and reflected on the impact of the project on the region and how it serves as a symbol of the power of collaboration. Mayor Nutter commented “the $5.76 million project revitalized an almost-forgotten bridge and transformed it into a functioning public space that expands and encourages recreational use.”

The story of the Manayunk Bridge Trail is a story of willpower and collaboration. To really appreciate this historic day, one needs to know how we got to this point:

1918 – Manayunk Bridge was built by the Schuylkill Valley Division of Pennsylvania Railroad.

1976 – Bridge was acquired by SEPTA.

1986 – Bridge was closed due to low ridership on the Ivy Ridge Line.

2008-2010 – SEPTA removed the tracks on rail bed and community groups held clean ups, to raise public awareness about restoring the rail line.

Commissioners of Lower Merion Township leased the rail bed from SEPTA and raised the funds to construct the Cynwyd Heritage Trail, which opened in late October 2011.

2008-2009 – The Manayunk Bridge became one of the nine identified gaps in the Complete the Trail campaign that the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia launched with the Manayunk Development Corporation and other organizations.

2010 – The bridge was included in a large proposal written for six counties by the Coalition and Pennsylvania Environmental Council that was submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation for a grant to build 17 trail segments.

The William Penn Foundation and Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) awarded grants to the Manayunk Development Corporation to conduct a feasibility study of the Manayunk Bridge and Ivy Ridge Trail. These two grants brought all of the stakeholders together to make the project possible.

Late 2010 – The Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities applied for a $1.3 million grant from PennDOT’s Pennsylvania Community and Transportation Initiative for the Bridge, allowing consultants to start designing the bridge trail.

October 25, 2011 – Official opening of Lower Merion Township’s adjacent Cynwyd Heritage Trail.

October 28, 2014 – Officials and residents gathered for the groundbreaking of the Manayunk Bridge Trail. 

October 30, 2015 – Opening of the Manayunk Bridge.

The project, which broke ground last fall, is a visible reminder of the power of a strong vision and collaboration. As Elizabeth Rogan said, “the achievement is a testament to the leadership of individuals and the power of partnership.”

Alas, one more critical piece of the Circuit puzzle is complete, with 450 miles to go to reach 750 miles of interconnected trails in the nine-county region. The next bike-ped bridge over the Schuylkill will not be far behind.  

Barry Seymour, executive director of the Delaware Valley Reginal Planning Commission, put it best when he said the bridge will make us “healthy, wealthy and wise.” So, get out #onthecircuit and use the trail!

For the best route to bicycle to the Manayunk Bridge Trail, explore the Google Map here

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Don’t Miss the Manayunk Bridge Opening Tomorrow – 11am

The long-awaited event is finally here! The Manayunk Bridge is opening tomorrow after 30 years, and whether you’re a walker, runner, cyclist, or just want to enjoy the city from a new vantage point, join us at 11:00am in the middle of the Manayunk Bridge for the ribbon cutting and ceremony #onthecircuit!  For cyclists, the Bicycle Coalition staff will lead a ride from Cynwyd Station to the Manayunk Bridge opening ceremony at 10:00am tomorrow.

The new Circuit Trail over the historic Manayunk Bridge connects the Cynwyd Heritage Trail with Main Street in Manayunk and the Schuylkill River Trail. The new trail is the first pedestrian and cyclist-only bridge over the Schuylkill River, and opens an inactive railroad asset for public use providing spectacular views of the Schuylkill River valley.

Hope to see you there!


WHEN: Friday, Oct. 30 at 11:00am

 *Note: There ceremony will take place on the county line in the center of the bridge. Please arrive early to reach the location prior to the start of the event.

WHERE: Middle of the Manayunk Bridge; Parking is at church parking lot at Baker and DuPont

Join the Two Rivers Wild Ride!

On Saturday, November 7, join the LandHealth Institute and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, for the Two Rivers Wild Ride urban bike tour.  This city-wide tour will examine the ecology of the grittiest parts of the city while experiencing first-hand the state of bicycle connectivity in Southwest Philadelphia. 

The tour will begin at the South Street Bridge, continue south to the Grey's Ferry Crescent trail, then cross over the Schuylkill River to southwest Philadelphia where a long stretch of trail is proposed to connect Bartram's Garden to Ft. Mifflin. The group will then continue back over the Platt Bridge, through FDR park, and north on Columbus Blvd. to contrast the waterfront of the central Delaware. To conclude, the tour will finish at Washington Avenue Green, approximately two miles east of the starting point. 
This unique, urban tour through Philadelphia is for confident riders ages 16+ and we encourage you to register in advance. The tour is about 16 miles and refreshments will be served along the way. Come out join us! You can register here

Cadence Youth Cycling Meets the Mayor!

Last week, the Cadence Youth Cycling Cycle Squad signed up to attend City Hall for Lobby Day with three goals in mind: Get the mayor and City Councilmembers to listen to them regarding the Delaware Watershed, The Circuit, and a Vision Zero policy for Philadelphia. Students Coleman Milligan, Tamia Santiago, Sykheem Adams, Marlina Hardy, Joshua Walton, Krystal Philson, Taevon Oliver, and Allen Williams, then, were largely successful in their endeavors.

Throughout the day, students met with Mayor Michael Nutter, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, and the staff of Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown, to speak about the issues with which they were concerned. Among them: Wanting to make the roads safer, cleaning up the pot holes, cleaning up the roads, (sometimes broken glass will steer them into the middle of the road, students said). They also spoke about the ideas behind Vision Zero and advocated for that to the city’s leadership. Click here for the full story.

DVRPC Shares Data, Revealing Which Philly Streets Cyclists Use Most

CyclePhilly – an app produced by Code for Philly, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, DVRPC, Septa and the City of Philadelphia – logs voluntarily-shared cyclist trip data. DVRPC recently released six months of that data, revealing which routes cyclists like best. The data was gathered from 220 unique CyclePhilly users and 8,340 individual trips.

Some highlights include:

Activity Number of Trips         Top Philly Street
Total Trips 866 Spring Garden, between 9th & 10th
Commuting 672 Spring Garden, between 6th & 7th 
Doing Errands             68 Pine, between 15th & 17th 
Exercise 65 Schuylkill River Trail, between Art Museum & 25th
Social  99 Spring Garden, between 9th & 10th 

Read the full article on Plan Philly here to learn more about the app and what’s in store for the future of biking in Philadelphia:

National Bike Month Calls for Bike To Work Day!

May is Bike Month and to celebrate, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is hosting their 20th Annual Bike to Work Day Friday, May 15. The Bike Coalition is dedicated to making 2015’s Bike to Work Day the biggest ever, complete with six energizer stations (more details below) with free swag, including Kind bars and Peet's Coffee. Stations will be located conveniently around the city. Later in the afternoon, there will be a Happy Hour at Yards Brewery with half-priced drafts!
So, what can you do to participate? Pledge to bike to work by registering or signing up to volunteer! Then download the Bike to Work poster, print it, and share it with your colleagues at work.

See additional details below. We look forward to seeing you!

AM Energizing Stations from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

  • LOVE Park
  • Clark Park
  • The Penn Museum
  • 13th and Spruce Streets

PM Energizing Stations and community events from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Chew Playground (18th and Washington)
  • 44th and Walnut


Last week 250 involved citizens, many of them arriving on bikes or on foot, joined together for the Better Mobility 2015 Mayoral Forum, organized by the Better Mobility Work Group. Mayor Nutter has long been a proponent for bike lanes and multi-use trails, support which has helped catalyze efforts to develop the Circuit in the region, yet the arrival of a new Mayor raises questions.

Will the new Mayor support cycling infrastructure, pedestrian accommodations, traffic enforcement and the other agenda items that make this city safe for cyclists and walkers alike?  Will the new Mayor support "Vision Zero," the idea that traffic fatalities can be eliminated through better planning and design? Will the Circuit find support from the next Mayor?

The forum indicated that, perhaps, the new mayor will be forced by public demand to continue the trend of support for forward-thinking mobility efforts. While specific thoughts and opinions varied widely among candidates, overall every candidate pointed to mobility issues as important for the city (including the neighborhoods) and pointed to the bikability and walkability of the city as a key amenity.

Check out the Bicycle Coalition’s website to learn more about the forum and read the region’s press coverage of the event.  

First Public Look at Future Bartram's Garden Trails This Weekend

An exciting new development in Philadelphia's ongoing reclamation of old industrial land will be on display this weekend. The parcels of land on the north and south sides of Bartram's Garden, dubbed "Bartram's Mile," will be converted into trail connecting the Garden to the Schuylkill River Trail and The Circuit. These parcels will be open to the public for the first time this weekend.

Join us this Saturday for a guided bike tour of these future trails and the adjacent 58th St Greenway. On Sunday, you can take the same guided tour by foot.

Saturday, November 3rd - Guided bike tour
Start: 1:30 pm
Starting location: Bartram's Community Farm
Locations visited: Gypsum site, 58th St Greenway, Schuylkill River Trail at Bartram's, and National Heat & Power site.

Sunday, November 4th - Guided walking tour
Start: 2:00 pm
Starting location: Bartram's Garden trail head
Locations visited: same as above

Take the tour to learn how the Parks and Rec. Dept will develop the off-road route from the Gray's Ferry Bridge to Bartram's Garden, and from Bartram's Garden south along the Schuylkill.

The northern parcel is formerly known as the "National Heat and Power" site and the southern plot is the "Gypsum/Transmontaigne" site. Both are owned by the Philadelphia Development Industrial Corporation, which is deeding river frontage over to the Parks and Rec Dept to create new trails.

Note: the original version of this post was published on the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia's blog.

The Challenges And Rewards Of Family Vacations On Two Wheels

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By Katie Monroe
When my family goes on vacation together, we ride bicycles. And I don't mean cruisers at the shore – we pack padded spandex shorts and get up every day and ride around 35 miles, working our way around a new country for a few weeks, staying in B&Bs, taking in the scenery from our saddles. Over the past decade or so, I have been lucky enough to pedal my way through parts of the Netherlands, the south of France, the Veneto region of Italy, western Ireland, and, this summer, Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia. We always go through some kind of tour company (International Bicycle Tours, for example), so someone moves our luggage from place to place for us. We’ve done these trips with and without guides, and in groups ranging from just the four people in my immediate family up to a record seventeen extended family members.
It is safe to say that at this point we are completely sold on bike touring. A lot of people have told me that they think we’re crazy, that there’s nothing relaxing or vacation-like about our trips, and I’ll admit: there’s a lot of sweating involved, and rain pants are unquestionably the least attractive garment every invented. (see above image: Netherlands) So why do we do it?
Biking gets you off the beaten path. 
Our bicycle trips, without fail, include exactly those “not in the guide book” experiences seasoned travelers crave. It’s true that we saw St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, Roman Arenas in Provence, and the Cliffs of Moher on the Ireland coast – but I appreciated just as much the chance to glimpse something of the fabric of daily life in these countries, and it’s a lot easier to explore outside the tourist areas if you’re on a bicycle. An older Frenchman out in his garden in overalls, Italian teenagers playing soccer in an empty lot, a Dutch mother of two towing her kids to the playground on a bike – these are the sights I treasure from our trips. Moving at a pace that’s faster than walking but not as fast (and hermetically sealed-off from the world) as motorized travel allows for all sorts of surprises. On our last trip, we stopped for a water break at a quirky Cape Breton hat shop and chatted with the friendly seamstress inside. As we were leaving, we learned from her neighbor  that she was something of a local celebrity, and had recently crafted several hats for Elton John!
Biking forces reflection.
I love my family deeply, but anyone can tell you that family vacations often entail Too Much Togetherness. Bike trips, for us at least, strike an ideal balance between the joy of shared experiences and the necessity of meditative alone-time. Instead of being at each other’s throats after a long day of constant chatter and collective decision-making, at the end of a biking day the various members of my family are excited to sit down and really appreciate each other’s company. We each notice and ponder different things as we pedal through these landscapes – my dad, the plant biologist, always admires the flora, for instance, while I am easily entranced by Europe's elegant transportation infrastructure. The rhythm we achieve between thinking to ourselves and talking to each other is one of my favorite aspects of our bike tours.
Biking is physically invigorating.
I haven’t always been perfectly comfortable on our bike vacations. My sister once composed a eulogy to her frozen toes while riding in Nova Scotia; we found it challenging to carry enough water to stave off dehydration in the Italian sun;  climbing the 14% grade of North Mountain in Cape Breton was among the greatest physical challenges I’ve ever undertaken. Despite all this – or perhaps because of it – I feel like we have forged a real intimacy with the places we’ve traversed by bicycle, climate and topography definitely included. In addition, nothing quite justifies stuffing your face with Italian gelati, Dutch stroopwafel, French pastries, or Irish Guinness quite like a full day of bicycling. We’ve enjoyed massive amounts of delicious, rather unhealthy food on each of these trips, and invariably come home in better shape than when we left. Not to mention acquiring some really cool bike shorts tan lines.
Of course, my point here is not merely that biking is a great way to go on vacation. My experiences with biking around the world have fed directly into my passion for urban bicycling advocacy right here in Philadelphia. Much is made of the distinction between “transportation” and “recreation” cycling, but many of the rides I've taken to work or the grocery store or a friend’s house in West Philly have felt as much like "recreation" as the vacation bike trips I love so much. It's fun to experience the world from a bike seat - to be active, out in the fresh air, making eye contact with people – and that's no less true in the Pine Street bike lane as it is in the Italian countryside.
About the author
Katie Monroe is the Education and Safety Intern at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.
Photos by Jon Monroe.

Big Trails Announcement Happening Thursday

The picture of bicycling in the Greater Philadelphia Region is going to look much shinier by the end of the day tomorrow. Why is that, you ask?

There is a big, Dreadnought-class press conference steaming up the Schuylkill River tomorrow at 2:00 PM (it's our understanding that press conferences share a classification system with naval warships).

The specifics of the press conference are embargoed until 2:00 pm tomorrow (that's a fun word, 'embargo'). But we can say that there is a special project we've been building in the Bicycle Coalition dry dock over the past 8 months. Tomorrow, we'll break bottles against its hull, kick out the wooden fastenings, and slide it into the water.

If you like press conferences, or like hearing Mayor Nutter and Mayor Redd of Camden talk, come down to the Schuylkill River Trail below the Walnut Street Bridge at 2:00 pm tomorrow!

The above is reprinted from the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia's blog.

DRPA Green Lights Ben Franklin Ramp Design Money

At a Finance Committee meeting this morning, the Delaware River Port Authority approved $350,000 to design a bicycle and pedestrian-friendly ramp for the Camden end (south side) of the Ben Franklin Bridge. The ramp will replace an existing three-story set of stairs.

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and the Tri-State Alliance have been lobbying DRPA to build this ramp for some time. The Bicycle Coalition's blog has more information about the decision and the lobbying efforts that led to it.