Trails are essential for the health and vibrancy of any neighborhood, offering space for social connection and proximity to nature that, according to a mounting body of scientific research, humans need. But in many of our cities and towns, multi-use trails offer more than leisure time outdoor recreation for people walking and biking — or have the potential to. As part of a Complete Streets approach that also includes protected on-street bike lanes and accessible, convenient pedestrian infrastructure, trails can be vital transportation links that help ease traffic congestion, reduce air pollution, curtail climate-changing carbon emissions, support public health, and improve livability.
In the same way that everyone deserves access to the outdoors and the benefits that come with it, PEC believes that everyone should be able to safely ride a bike to work or transit, no matter where they live. It’s one reason we led the development of the Gap Analysis of the Circuit Trails, a tool that analyzes unbuilt segments of Greater Philadelphia’s Circuit Trails network and prioritizes them by social impact. The Gap Analysis tool allows advocates to identify trail development projects in the region that would, for example, connect the most people to employment or to transit, highlighting the trail projects the Circuit Trails Coalition should elevate for funding and design. It’s also why PEC led Coalition partners in developing the new Community Grant Program in early 2023, which has already awarded a total of $150,000 to organizations that increase a sense of welcome and belonging on the Circuit Trails, focusing on historically disinvested communities and underserved populations. While these projects broadly emphasize outdoor recreation, community-building, and the arts, they also help to create an inclusive environment, making sure that everyone feels welcome and motivated to use their neighborhood trail, including to ride to work.
In that spirit, we join other groups advocating for active transportation in celebrating Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 19. Here’s a roundup of rides and events happening across the Commonwealth:
- Meet up: Reading Hospital, 7th Avenue parking lot at the Scottish Rite Cathedral parking lot.
- When: 7 a.m.
- Route: 6 miles, finishing at the start point.
- *Must be 18 years or older.
The Delaware County Transportation Management Association is partnering with the Bicycle Coalition to provide guided rides through new bike infrastructure in Lansdowne.
- Meet up: Lansdowne Public Library, 55 S. Lansdowne Ave.
- When: 9:30 a.m.
Two group rides will take place in Harrisburg at 8 a.m.
- East Shore: Meet at the Susquehanna Township Building, 1900 Linglestown Road and ride to 3rd Streets and North Streets.
- West Shore: Meet at the Goodwill Store at State and 12th Streets in Lemoyne to ride to Front Street in Harrisburg.
Get your “I Biked to Work Today” badges at 3rd and North Streets from 7-9 a.m. Roxy’s Café will be offering offering free beverage to all riders.
At night, join Harrisburg Bicycle Club on its Friday Night Social Ride at 6:15 p.m. Riders will meet at the HACC Midtown Campus parking lot on Reilly Street between 3rd and 4th streets. They’ll take a 15-mile tour around the city, followed by dinner at the Broad Street Market. Bring a folding chair.
View a full schedule of events, here.
King of Prussia
Greater Valley Forge Transportation is teaming up with Valley Forge National Historical Park to host two group rides in King of Prussia:
- Meet up: Taylor Alley Lot, Phoenixville
- When: 8:05 a.m.
- Route: Approximately seven miles on the Schuylkill River Trail south to Valley Forge Park
- Meet up: Norristown Transportation Center
- When: 8:15 a.m.
- Route: Approximately five miles on the Schuylkill River Trail north to Valley Forge Park
- Register here.
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is hosting a Bike to Work & Wherever Day Group Ride. A press conference at City Hall will focus on Vision Zero and creating safer streets for bicyclists and pedestrians.
There will be three group rides that will converge on City Hall in time for the conference.
- Meet up:
- Penn Museum entrance at 33rd and South
- 6th and Washington Ave with Senator Saval
- Broad and Oxford Indego Station with Representative Kenyatta
- When: 8 a.m.
- Sign up here.
BikePGH is hosting Bike to Work Day Cafés at four locations. You can stop by for a free coffee in the morning, or a free drink in the evening, along with snacks from local businesses.
Morning cafés: 7 – 10 a.m.
- Oakland (Forbes Ave near Schenley Plaza)
- Downtown (Penn Ave @ 10th St)
Evening cafés: 4 – 7 p.m.
- Sly Fox (South Side)
- Spirit (Lawrenceville)
View a full schedule here.
Don’t have a bike? Take advantage of free, 30-minute trips on Pittsburgh’s bike share network, POGOH on May 19.
No matter where or when you’re biking, remember to wear a helmet and practice proper bike etiquette. We can’t wait to see you out there!