Temple University Bike Tour
Temple University Ambler, the Temple University Office of Sustainability and the Temple University Office of the Provost will host the first ever Temple University Bike Tour on Sunday, April 28, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

On Sunday, April 28, Rebecca Collins, Director of Temple University's Office of Sustainability, will be getting her new e-assist cargo bike and essential biking partner — her son — ready to experience a new trail.  

"I'm looking forward to getting out onto the greenway that makes its way through Fairmount Park, Wissahickon Valley Park and Fort Washington State Park. I've never taken this stretch of the greenway before," she said. "I'm really excited to be with a group of people and try out a new route."

Collins will certainly not be alone. Temple University Ambler, the Temple University Office of Sustainability and the Temple University Office of the Provost will host the first ever Temple University Bike Tour on Sunday, April 28, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Bike Tour is $25 for general riders and $15 for Temple students — funds raised during the Bike Tour will support Temple Ambler. Transportation between campuses before and after the Bike Tour will be available for participants who request it upon registration. Register online here.

The scenic 22-mile tour will begin at the Temple University Athletic Field in Philadelphia, make its way through the Greenway and end at the Ambler Arboretum of Temple University. View the planned route for the 2024 Temple University Bike Tour here.

"The goal of the Bike Tour is to have students, faculty, staff, alumni, members of the Philadelphia and regional cycling community — truly anyone — join us on this beautiful tour and see firsthand how we can make these connections between the city and its surroundings," said Dr. Vicki Lewis McGarvey, Vice Provost for University College and Director of Temple University Ambler. "We want this to be a true celebration of Temple Ambler and the University's overall sustainable mission. At the end of the tour, there will be a community event at Temple Ambler, which is open to everyone — you don't need to be a cyclist to participate in the campus celebration."

According to Dr. McGarvey, the idea for a Bike Tour between Main Campus and Temple Ambler was first developed by Carter van Dyke, a longtime member of the Temple University Ambler Board of Visitors and founding partner of Carter van Dyke Associates - Planners/Landscape Architects.

"We started talking about it as a greenway tour from the beginning and how you could travel between the two campuses essentially within a greenway with only one or two of the 22 miles on regular roads," said McGarvey, who will be driving one of the SAG (Support and Gear) vans along the route — if cyclists run into any difficulties there will be help all along the route. "It was a way that we could tangibly get people directly involved in sustainability — I don't think many people realize you can bike between Main Campus and Temple Ambler."

As part of his role on the Board of Visitors for Temple Ambler, "I'm always looking for ways to promote the campus as a huge asset to the University," said van Dyke.  

"I am a cyclist, which is where the idea of a Bike Tour between the two campuses started — I love the greenway between Temple's Main Campus and Temple Ambler," he said. "I couldn't think of a more beautiful experience than biking between these two venues. Looking ahead at the campus's future, the Bike Tour is something that can be an annual event and fundraiser — it's a lot of fun and also welcomes our larger community to enjoy and support the Ambler Campus."

Avid cyclist Chris Willard, Director of Tactical and Professional Development in Temple's Department of Public Safety, is another member of the University community who will be part of the pedaling pack for the Bike Tour.

"As people become more and more reliant on vehicles, people have forgotten what a greenway is — using the trails and the different trail systems in our area to travel. We've got some great trail systems — the Schuylkill River Trails, the Chester Valley Trail, the Perkiomen Trail — and I don't think they get the exposure that they should. People don't realize they can get from point A to Point B using the walking and biking trails," she said. "I think the Bike Tour is a perfect platform for what Temple Ambler stands for with the Arboretum and the Temple Ambler Field Station and Park Service training."

Between the Office of Sustainability, Temple's Division of Health and Wellbeing, Recreation, Outdoor Education & Wellness (ROW) at Temple Ambler, and numerous departments engaging in research and activities related to sustainability, environmental responsibility, health and wellness, "the Bike Tour is a unique platform to tie all of that together," Willard said.

"You see this important push throughout the University — students with bicycles, the Independence Blue Cross electric bikes that they can rent from the racks," she said. "It ties in with so much of what we are trying to achieve as a university. If just one person or one family gets back on the bike again because of this tour, that's a win."

There are so many benefits to biking regularly "for mental health, physical health, general wellbeing and building connections together," said Meghan Duffy, Senior Director of Health and Wellbeing Operations for Temple's Division of Health and Wellbeing, which was created in 2023.

"Temple's wellbeing mission is just getting started. Last year, the University community participated in a wellbeing survey and one of the main requests from people was opportunities to be more physically active. The Bike Tour is a great opportunity to participate in an activity to feel good about within a great environment with good guidance," said Duffy, who plans to ride in the Bike Tour. "I hope people feel proud of themselves for being able to do it. I hope that they feel connected to the other participants and to the University and that they feel that they are supported in these initiatives to be healthier."

Celebrating Temple Ambler at the Ambler Arboretum

At the finish line, Bike Tour participants and the general public are invited to a celebration of Temple Ambler at the Ambler Arboretum!

Celebration activities will include tours of the Arboretum, the Temple Ambler Field Station and Outdoor Education and Wellness spaces; craft activities for children; inflatable games and bouncy houses; music; free refreshments; and food available for purchase from El Toro Serrano food truck.

"The celebration is an opportunity for the community to come to Temple Ambler and learn more about the many community and educational programs we offer. We invite anyone to be a part of these festivities," said Dr. McGarvey. "My hope for the day is that participants have an enjoyable ride and that they realize how easy it is to go between the Main Campus and the Ambler Campus — we did a practice ride in 2019 and my at the time 12-year-old did the ride and truly enjoyed it. We look forward to everyone seeing our beautiful campus and everything you can experience here."

During the celebration, Steve Sassaman, Assistant Director for Recreation, Outdoor Education & Wellness (ROW) at Ambler will be providing various activities "to highlight all of the great things we having going on at Temple Ambler, including some or our team-building experiences and some of our contemplative practices."

"I think this event is a really critical part of Temple's overall mission of promoting awareness advocacy and also leveraging some of the research that is going on through a lot of different colleges at Temple around topics like nature-based wellness, the things in our lives that impact our social and emotional wellbeing," he said. "This event is a really good catalyst program to create some positive community relations been Temple and the surrounding communities — it's a terrific way to bring the greater community together in a way that is fun for everyone."

The Bike Tour, Sassaman said, "reflects an integral part of our mission to inspire holistic health and wellness."

"Cycling is a great way to live a healthy, active lifestyle. Just shifting your habits once a day, that can make some pretty significant changes to your overall health and wellbeing," he said. "I'm hoping the tour inspires people to get out there and really experience our wonderful community by taking more time and being able to appreciate the nature that surrounds them. Hopefully it will also inspire more advocacy to ensure bike lanes in all of our neighborhoods."

Supporting Temple's Sustainable Mission

According to Collins, Temple's Office of Sustainability is "focused on achieving goals that are outlined in our Climate Action Plan."

"A few of those goals are focused on transportation and making people comfortable and confident in biking in an urban environment and biking to commute. As part of our greenhouse gas emissions inventory, we calculate the emissions that are a result of student, faculty and staff commuting to and from campus," she said. "Ideally, we would like folks to consider no or low carbon modes of transportation when feasible for them. For those who could integrate different modes of transportation, like public transportation, walking or biking to and from campus, we really want to provide those resources and information to be able to support that choice."

The Bike Tour, Collins said, "is a natural collaboration to support not only the connection between our campuses but also supporting our community and making biking more accessible to folks that are both seasoned riders and new riders that are maybe just considering it and need this extra little nudge to actually try it out."

"I think this tour is a direct response to requests from community members — students, faculty, staff, alumni and folks that just love Temple. I think that it speaks volumes for the type of commitment from Temple Ambler in supporting the Office of Sustainability to be so responsive to what our University community is looking for in terms of sustainable experiences," she said. "When you hear about a 22-mile bike tour, it might sound a little overwhelming to tackle that yourself, but we are providing guidance and support — this is one of the best bike tour opportunities to get involved with if you've been thinking about doing something like this for a while because of the level of support you will have. Twenty-two miles on a bike is very manageable."

Find out more about the tour and register to ride.

The Temple University Bike Tour is being generously sponsored by the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation; WRTI 90.1; Tabitha Heit - Heit Homes, Berkshire Hathaway Fox and Roach; the Schiel Family Foundation; Carter van Dyke Associates; Tague Lumber; and Target. Learn how to become a sponsor here.

Download our fundraising kit and rally your friends, neighbors and local businesses to sponsor your ride. The kit includes information for sponsors and a letter demonstrating the University's nonprofit status.