PopeRide Route Change — And Other Need-to-Know Logistics for This Weekend’s Massive Bike Ride

UPDATE, 11:08 a.m.: Quick change to the Friday night Ben Franklin Bridge ride, folks. (As with all things Pope-related, this is a moving target.) A ride is still happening — meet at Washington Square Park at 9:30 — but you won’t be going over the bridge. I got an email from the DRPA regarding the Bridge Ride,” Schneider tells me. “There will be heavy machinery on the bridge all night, and it will be unsafe for bikes and pedestrians, so the ride is just a social ride through the city.”

The plan is to ride around the security zone, instead. Glowsticks and light-up gear are still encourage. Details on this ride are here.


ORIGINAL: The PopeRide is ON this weekend, people! If you’re inflating your tires as we speak and decking out your bike in appropriate Pope-related paraphernalia (I’d like to see a picture, please), you’ll want to read on for a few updated logistical items for Saturday’s massive group bike ride inside the mostly-closed-to-cars traffic box. 

The biggest change is the that the route has been altered so, um, no one gets arrested. Organizer Alexandria Schneider was informed by Pennsylvania State Troopers that despite the fact that 76 and the Vine Street Expressway will be closed to cars, bikes are still not welcome, as per PA law. “It is against Pennsylvania state law to use a non-motorized vehicle on an interstate,” she wrote in an update to ride participants. “State Troopers will respond to any attempts to ride on [76 and 676].”

The new, slightly shorter route — now at 7.95 miles, down from the original 10.23 — can be found here. You’ll still start at 30th Street Station and end at Washington Square Park. The ride gets underway at 10 a.m.

Another new addition to the ride is how participants will be grouped according to experience level. There will be two “categories” of riders: Local and Express. Local riders are the more casual, leisurely ones, while the Express folks are the faster, more experienced cyclists. You can join whichever group you’d like, but just be prepared to ride at the speed of the group (faster for Express, slower for Local).

With the number of cyclists expected to join the ride — the count is up over 2,000 on the Facebook invite — there will be multiple groups to accommodate each category of rider. Each group will have about 100 cyclists and will be led by an official (well, volunteer, but still) PopeRide Group Leader. You’ll be able to identify them by the bright security vests they’ll be wearing.

Note that the route is subject to change, day-of, based on additional, unforeseen security measures in place for the Pope’s visit, or to avoid roads that are clogged by pedestrians. So be sure to stick with your group leader to stay on track.

If you’re interested in the Friday night Ben Franklin Bridge ride, that’s still on, too. Cyclists will gather at Washington Square Park on Friday night at 9:30 for a glow-in-the-dark ride over the closed-to-traffic Ben Franklin Bridge. The ride will set off at 10 (when the bridge closes), and you’re encouraged to bring blinky lights, flashlights, reflective gear, and glowsticks for optimum visual impact. You’ll ride over the bridge and back, then head out as a group for a celebratory beer.

All the details are over on the Facebook page.

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