On Sunday, tens of thousands of bicyclists and their fans will converge in Philadelphia for the annual International Cycling Championship.
The is 26th year of the nation’s largest single-day bike race up the infamous Manayunk Wall. Ride organizers learned a few things after last year’s close shave with cancellation.
Last year it was down to the 11th hour when Governor Rendell stepped in to bolster the race with state money and corporate sponsors. This year executive director Dave Chauners says organizing sponsors was smoother, and he added more money-making elements.
As in years past, anyone can sign up to ride the 15-mile loop after it has been closed to traffic and before the race begins. But this year there will be a fee. People can still have lawn parties up the Manayunk Wall, but at the top will be a VIP tent for ticket holders.
Chauners says the city has been as accommodating as possible.
“The city can no longer give free services like in the past with in-kind support and cash. Now they can’t do that – we understand. Now they carefully control the costs of the city’s element. We’re appreciate of it. They can’t give this stuff to us for free.”
Several American bike races have been canceled recently due to budget problems. Just a few weeks ago the Tour of Missouri – a major mid-west race scheduled for September – bit the dust.