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.