Today was the first good day of summer we’ve experienced this year, and we decided to take advantage of it. With my newly acquired bike and Chris’s long-lasting memento bike he bought with his Dad, we hit the dusty trail, starting at the popular walking spot called Forbidden Drive in Philadelphia. We snagged a parking spot on Bells Mill Road, smeared on the sunscreen (SPF 30) then hopped on our bikes with one water bottle between us.

Along the generously wide path, you’ll see bikers, walkers, runners, dogs, horses (and horse… poo), chipmunks, squirrels, cardinals, sparrows, beautiful remnants of colonial Philadelphia, and all kinds of trees and bushes. We got to the Valley Green Inn, where there is a map and a public restroom, and realized that we could probably–if we felt adventurous and tried real hard–make our way to the Conshohocken Brewery in Conshohocken, PA. Well, we felt adventurous, and we felt pretty good about trying hard to make this good day a great one.

We rode from Valley Green Inn down the rest of Forbidden Drive, a gorgeous and peaceful ride, all the way to the Wissahickon Trail. Once we were at the end of Forbidden Drive, we turned and rode down a new path that was so beautiful it made me gasp. (pics and map to come) We went over bridges, rode alongside a stream, and went under another bridge.

Then, we arrived at Ridge Avenue on the edge of Manayunk, surprised to see traffic and a lot of people after such a peaceful and idyllic ride. We turned toward Manayunk and rode under the famous “Welcome to Manayunk” sign. The next mile and a half or so was on the city street, which isn’t my favorite. But Manyunk is used to bikers, so I felt pretty comfortable there.

Shortly after we passed the Manayunk Brew Pub (also a cool place to visit), we saw the little green bike sign telling us how to hop back on the Wissahickon bike trail. Along there, we saw geese, fuzzy goslings, algae-covered turtles, and tons of people. The Manayunk trail runs along the canal, and is a nice, smooth ride (although not quite as peaceful as the other part of Wissahickon Trail). Eventually, we came to an area that had less traffic, and we knew we were at the end of Manayunk.
We stopped at a map and tried to figure out how far we had to go, and another biker overheard us and told us it was about three miles. She was pretty much on the dot, and we finally made it to Conshocken Brewery, where we tried a Blueberry beer, a Blood Orange IPA, a super strong Pineapple IPA, and their Blonde Weisse. We also grabbed a taco and a pretzel, played Connect Four, snapped a few fun photos, admired no less than five precious pooches, and chatted briefly with some very nice people.

But, the fun didn’t stop there. Since we parked on Bell’s Mill Road, we had two options for our return trip: 1. Go back from whence we came, which would probably be about a fifteen mile bike ride, or 2. Go back a little ways, then go straight uphill for a whole mile from the place we’d gotten directions from the other biker. We opted for number two, even with our bellies full of beer. Once we got to the bottom of the hill, we snapped our gears as low as they could go, and trudged forward. It was a challenge, to say the least, but we both agreed we’d do it again.

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