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The Philly Bike Ride is coming on Oct. 15, 2022. Photo: Philly Bike Ride.
The Philly Bike Ride is coming on Oct. 15, 2022. Photo: Philly Bike Ride.

What to expect at the inaugural Philly Bike Ride

It’s not a race, but a time to enjoy the sights and sounds of the City of Brotherly Love on two wheels.

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On Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, Philadelphia will host a bicycling event unlike any that’s ever passed through its streets. The Philly Bike Ride is both a celebration of cycling for participants of all levels, and of the city, as its route passes some of its most iconic landmarks.

“We are a ride, not a race,” Chris Browne, managing director of American Bike Ride, told AL DÍA in a recent interview. “Whether you're on a road bike or a beach cruiser, the event is for you in a lot of ways.”

Browne’s company started its bike rides in Washington D.C. with the DC Bike Ride. A professional with 20 years of experience organizing major city events like marathons and the like, he didn’t see anything honoring the growth of bicycling in the city.

The idea for the ride was to make it both safe, and accessible to a wide array of cyclists with an emphasis on highlighting and giving back to the community.

“It's a pretty simple idea. You close the roads, you make it safe, and you open it up for everyone to ride at their own pace,” said Browne.

In six years, the DC Bike Ride has transformed into one of the East Coast’s biggest bike gatherings, bringing thousands to the nation’s capital on an annual basis. The hope is the inaugural Philly Bike Ride can do the same for the City of Brotherly Love.

“When we had an opportunity to expand into a new city, Philadelphia was number one,” said Browne.

Like D.C., he said Philly has also seen an increase in bike ridership due to more bike-friendly policies and practices over the last decade.

At the forefront of that change and advocacy is the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, which is a founding partner in organizing the inaugural Philly Bike Ride. The event also falls within the organization’s 50th year of operation, and some of the proceeds will go towards the coalition’s Youth Cycling program.

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“I guess better to be lucky than good. We did time it fortuitously,” said Browne.

When it comes to the ride itself, the Philly Bike Ride offers two course lengths — at 20 miles and a little more than six. Both will start and end at the Philadelphia Art Museum, with a festival taking place on the museum’s iconic steps to cap off the event. The ride’s start time will be 7:30 a.m.

The 20-mile track will loop Center City through Old City and South Philly before heading back north on Kelly Drive all the way to Manayunk, and then back to the Art Museum. In total, the full ride is expected to take between an hour and hour and a half for riders with music, local food vendors, water and more along the route. The little over six-mile track has riders completing the loop of Center City.

Registration for the ride opened in May, and is still going strong. If potential riders don’t have a bike, they can also rent one during registration for an additional cost. 

Those registering can also donate additional funds to sponsor a rider that can’t afford the registration cost to also be able to participate. As of June 20, 2022, 31 riders have been sponsored for the Philly Bike Ride. If in need of sponsorship, reach out to [email protected] for more information.

“The great part about what Philly bike ride will become is a memory maker,” said Browne. “It's something that we're seeing people come back to as a tradition year over year… The thing that I love most about the bike ride is that we are kind of changing perception of what a bicycle experience can be, and making it fun and social and for everyone.”

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