We regret to inform you that we will not be putting on Bike Philly this year.
Five years ago, I joined with two volunteers, Rich and Hans, to realize our dream of biking through a car-free Center City with thousands of other bicyclists. Each year, the sight of all of you riding has been a heartwarming thrill. But the event no longer makes organizational sense for the Bicycle Coalition.
Unfortunately, Bike Philly has not grown in the way we needed in order to offset its rising costs. Bike Philly took everyone and everything we had to put on every year, and we loved doing it. But as an event it has grown harder, not easier, to pull off. After intense deliberation, we have determined that we cannot sustain the event.
But take heart! This is not the end of family-friendly bicycling events in Philadelphia. Every major American city has a ciclovia (aka Summer Streets) event except us. More festival than ride, a ciclovia is a block party in motion stretching over several miles. So, we are redirecting the work we put into Bike Philly to bring a ciclovia to Philadelphia in 2013.
Why a ciclovia instead of Bike Philly? Closing the street is less disruptive because cross streets still work with participants following the lights at intersections. By making it free -- and not a fundraiser -- we build more civic support and the opportunity to find municipal, civic and corporate partners who will take on more of the effort of putting on such a big event. (If you have any ideas on what we can do to build support for a ciclovia, please let me know!)
Thank you for having ridden Bike Philly! I hope to see you on a car-free street -- in Philly or a visionary suburban town -- as part of a ciclovia in 2013.
Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia