The 27th annual TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship is finally here.
This Sunday, nearly 200 of the world’s top male professional cyclists will pedal through 10 laps of a 14.4 mile circuit through the city, which includes a grueling climb up the 17-percent steep grade of Lyceum Avenue, AKA the Manayunk Wall.
The 156-mile men’s race kicks off at 9 a.m. at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and is expected to wrap up around 3:30 p.m. More than 100 of the world’s best female cyclists will tackle four laps of the same course in the Liberty Classic, starting at 9:10 a.m.
If you’re looking for a front row seat, our best advice is to get there early. The best viewing locations will be at the “Feed Zone” near the starting (and finishing line) on the Parkway, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Main Street in Manayunk, the Manayunk Wall, and Lemon Hill in Fairmount Park.
Shortly before the race starts, many Northwest Philly exit ramps on the Schuylkill Expressway (Interstate 76) will be closed. The only way into much of Manayunk, Roxborough and East Falls will be by train or on foot.
SEPTA will be nearly doubling its normal Sunday service on the Manayunk/Norristown Line for race day. Trains on the Manayunk/Norristown Line will run every 30 minutes beginning with a 7:48 a.m. train from Elm Street-Norristown and a 7:20 a.m. train from 30th Street Station. Those trains will be running until about 8 p.m. on Sunday. Fans can hop off at any of the stations on the cycling route, which are East Falls, Wissahickon and Manayunk station.
Bike race fans may find it most convenient to get off at the Manayunk Station, at the corner of Carson and Cresson streets, which puts you right on Main Street and within walking distance to the Manayunk Wall.
Parking on race day will be limited in the immediate event area. The earlier you arrive, the better the chances of finding a spot. Street parking is available on Pennsylvania Avenue between N. 27th Street through N. 24th Street. Parking is also available at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts.
The following streets will be closed from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 5.
Ridge Avenue – School House Lane to Hermit Lane
Main Street – Ridge Avenue to Green Lane
Levering Street – Main Street to Tower Street
Lyceum – Tower Street to Pechin Street
Pechin Street – Lyceum Avenue to Roxborough Avenue
Roxborough Avenue – Pechin Street to Manayunk Avenue
Manayunk Avenue – Roxborough Avenue to Ridge Avenue
The entire length of Kelly Drive will be completely closed to all traffic (park trolleys included) and parking. The Benjamin Franklin Parkway will be closed from 18th Street to Eakins Oval.
VIP tickets are still available on the race’s official website. The VIP Champions Row package gets you free remote parking and shuttle service to the area, all day seating at the Start/Finish line on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and catered breakfast, lunch and beverage service for the entire day. The $95 tickets also include a chance to meet the teams and racers in addition to free roundtrip shuttle bus service to the Manayunk Wall throughout the day.
There’s also the Top of the Wall Club Package which includes a free buffet (burgers, hot dogs and drinks) and table seating under a tent at the summit of the Manayunk Wall. This ticket costs $55.
Race Day activities
For those of you feeling adventurous on race day, you might want to try the Wellness Challenge at 7:15 a.m. in which cyclists of all ages get a chance to ride the same course as the pros. Tickets are $45 in advance, $55 on the day of the event.
Looking for something fun to do with the kids between laps? Check out the TD Bank Family Fun Zone located at the base of the Art Museum steps. Here you’ll find activities for the whole family starting at 8 a.m.
The 8th annual East Falls Bike Race Block Party will be held at Midvale and Ridge Avenue down to Kelly Drive along East River Road. The event includes children’s activities, food vendors, live entertainment, a health fair and a beer garden.
Get those cowbells ready, dress comfortably and enjoy one of the most anticipated bike races in the country!