The name — the Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic — wasn’t the only thing new about this year’s bike race. Some observers have said that they noticed a shift in focus among spectators this year from drinking and partying to the watching the racers.
The race in years past has brought out a festive, inebriated atmosphere that sometimes teetered from overenthusiastic to downright rowdy. “Over the years we’ve done a much better job of dealing with that,” Mayor Michael Nutter said. “We want people to have a good time but, you know, just don’t get in trouble.”
What were your impressions of the race this year?
To help avoid trouble this year, the East Falls bike race block party placed a stronger emphasis on hosting a “family-friendly” event. They got rid of the beer garden and hosted a series of events for kids — trike races, a kids carnival, a science experiment booth — along the cheer zone on Kelly Drive.
In Manayunk, there was a big family-friendly event on Saturday to get momentum going for bike race weekend. It was called the Fit Fest, and it challenged locals to walk the wall to help raise money for some local organizations. It also hosted a free series of fitness-related events.
Two years ago, the Manayunk-Roxborough bike race coalition was formed to help bring the race back to its calmer roots. They made some pretty big strides in enforcing a zero-tolerance policy for out of control drunkenness over the years.
On the day of the race in Manayunk, there were cops at almost every intersection along the wall to curb drunken race day shenanigans. There was still a fair share of drunks roaming Main Street after the race was over, but anecdotes from race day suggest it was nothing like it used to be.
Is this all for the better? Let us know in the comments below.