Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Forbidden Drive

Views from the trail

Unfortunately, this is not a story about skiing. I made a mistake, did not do my research. I am on a business trip through Stockholm, London, and Philadelphia. And I failed to look up possible skiing destinations along the way, missing the fact that there are indoor ski areas in the UK. If I had more time between my flights in and out of Heathrow, I could have visited one of them and collected yet another country that I have not skied in. Doh! Oh well, maybe next time.

Boat race next to a balloon from the zoo

As a result, this blog is about biking. As you may know, I don't collect only ski destinations. I also collect cities that I have biked in. Today's tour was in Philadelphia. The city itself is not that friendly for bikers (but certainly easier than New York or Paris). But there are plenty of park areas that are great for biking. I made a 50 kilometer tour through the Schuykill and Fairmont parks, ending up in the Forbidden Drive, a winding dirt road along the Wissahickon Creek. This was a nice bike tour, with plenty of nature, forest, rivers, but also people and interesting buildings and cafes. The name "Forbidden Drive" comes from the many attempts to open this trail for vehicles. I am very glad that they have not done it and it remains a quiet, beautiful park area today.

Biking towards the Forbidden Drive

I rented by bike for 50$ per day at the Breakaway Bikes, on the corner of 19th Street and Chestnut. Their service was friendly and hassle-free, and the bikes were in excellent condition.

Schuykill river views

I ate lunch at the Valley Green Inn, which was a friendly place, albeit with a somewhat US-centric and limited menu mostly consisting of sandwiches. For comparison, their soup of the day costs 5$.

Chamonix? Not quite...

Photo credits (c) 2011 by Jari Arkko

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