Cycling Plan May Move Manayunk Bike Race to Saturday

Neighborhood groups concerned of partying, economic fallout.

The Manayunk bike race may move to Saturday.

A plan presented by officials from the Philadelphia International Cycling Championship could move the Sunday June bike race to Saturday in 2012, according to local organizations.

Delivered in a meeting with community leaders Monday, the plan, according to Manayunk Neighborhood Council President Kevin Smith, is "not a rumor, but also not a done deal...

"The basic plan they gave us is to move the race to Saturday to save money on police, as they'd pay time-and-a-half verses double time," Smith said.

City officials, however, haven't signed off on the plan yet, and the hopes to keep it on Sunday.

"I understand the position of the bike race. They are having a hard time making it financially sound, but the change is at the risk to the neighborhood and the business district," Executive Director Jane Lipton said.

Though race officials were not immediately available for comment Wednesday, four local officials confirmed the plan to Patch. According to Smith, the Saturday race would:

  • Cut men's Manayunk laps from 10 to seven times up the famed Manayunk wall.
  • Diminish the race's total distance form 156 to 122 miles.
  • Institute an amateur race that begins at 7 a.m.

A Philadelphia tradition for 28 years, the Philadelphia International Cycling Championship starts downtown, travels along Kelly Drive and into Manayunk by way of Main Street; it then turns up Levering and Lyceum streets via the steep hill called the Wall, before winding through the narrow neighborhood streets and returning to Kelly Drive.

In Manayunk, it's becomes a day of loud partying and drinking, often to the chagrin of local businesses and residents.

"I'm only hoping that they don't move forward without more conversation. (The business district) loses the whole weekend, and we believe the partying could become more excessive," Lipton said.

In 2011, resident Don Simon organized the to cut down on the partying. Through the cooperation of residents, civic groups, Philadelphia Police, both the Manayunk and and the (D-4), Simon said it was much more manageable last year.

"We do have some concerns about moving it to Saturday, because on Sunday, there was a limit to the alcohol-fueled partying. People had to get up for work on Monday... We're concerned it could easily get out of control," he said.

However, Smith and Simon said the coalition had yet to take a position, either for or against it.

"It could be a whole different dynamic of Saturday night verses Sunday night," Smith said. "It could make it much, much worse—or they could get burned out and stop."

Executive Director Bernard Guet from Roxborough Development Corporation along with Lipton, Smith and Simon said they felt race officials implied the change was the city's idea. A spokesperson from Councilman Jones' office said it didn't come from them.

"We have not received anything from the managing director's office, so we really can't comment on it," Jones' aide Michelle Wilson said. "Our goal will be to continue working with community to continue and improve the race, and return it to the family race it once was."

Lipton said she'll work with officials, but a Saturday race is tough.

"I understand they have a plan, and that's what it is: a plan. I'm trying to float anything I can to keep it on Sunday," she said.

On the tour's official website, the race was still slotted for June 3, 2012—a Sunday. In 2011, race organizer Dave Chauner told Patch he was more than onboard for turning the focus from drinking to cycling.

"Only in recent years has the rowdiness gotten out of hand... A message needs to be conveyed that lawlessness and excessive rowdiness can't be tolerated," he said. "Let's all work together to make sure all people can enjoy the race."

Lipton said the Manayunk Developement Corportation is planning on meeting with the Managing Director's Offfice and Coucilman Jones, among others, in the coming weeks. She has already surveyed her merchants.

Stay with Roxborough-Manayunk for updates on this story.

Donna January 11, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Seriously? These idiots will just carry the party on until Sunday? Whose bright idea was this. Take it to another neighborhood!
Pat January 12, 2012 at 06:32 PM
If the city is making so much money from this event, why don't they offer a discount to the bike race? Business would then be at a lost for two days instead of one.
Roxe January 14, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Enough with the bike race.....it ony attracts more "drunksters" to our already alcohol saturated neighborhoods. Start fining the landlords for allowing their tenants to carry on as they do......City could make more money on fines! Manayunk Ave. is awful and needs to be repaved between Ridge and Roxborough Ave....how about some attention for the everyday neighborhood tax paying commuter and not just for the cyclists the week before the race?? Roxe
Alex Valentine January 15, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Thousands of people come to the area to watch the race spending lots of money on food, hotels, etc. People need to look at the big picture instead of focusing on a few idiot kids who are looking for a good excuse to get wasted. Most of the people who watch the race don't even drink a drop.
R January 17, 2012 at 08:07 PM
I'm always shocked at how hated the bike race is by locals. Its a great event and Manayunk/Rox is a great venue for it. It brings familys, sports enthusiasts and of course a large dose of partying and FUN (oh no!) as well as REVENUE to local businesses. Sure there are a few idiots, and there will be red cups to clean up, but all in all is it that terrible of a inconvenience 1 day a year? What were the actual documented negative results from last years event? fines, arrests, property damage etc? Drive out all of the fun and hated "renters" from manayunk/rox and your property values will drop, then see what kind of neighbors you get and the real trouble you will have, 365 days a year. Relax. Former renter and current HOMEOWNER


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