There Won’t Be a Manayunk Bike Race This Year
The Manayunk bike race, most recently known as the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic, will not be run in 2017. The race posted the news on its website on Friday morning.
The race sponsors passed along a statement from the City of Philadelphia: “Regrettably, even after extensive fundraising efforts, we were not able to find enough sponsors interested in covering the $1 million cost of the bike race to host it this year. While we are disappointed, we remain committed to working with Councilman Jones as well as the East Falls, Roxborough and Manayunk commercial corridors on other events, including a Free Streets event in that area.”
The Manayunk bike race was first run in 1985, when promoters Dave Chauner and Jack Simes got CoreStates Bank to sponsor a European-style bike race in Philadelphia. It also doubled as the US Pro championship until 2006. The highlight of the race is, of course, the 10 trips up the Manayunk Wall, but the race would circle all the way to Logan Circle on the Ben Franklin Parkway as well. The course changed in recent years, and had dropped in prestige.
Billy Penn noted that the race was tweeting at potential competitors as recently as two weeks ago, so the official cancelation appears to be a recent decision.
The race was scheduled to be canceled in 2013, until Rep. Bob Brady organized a coalition of local leaders who would form a new race to keep the tradition going. (The old race owed the city several hundred thousand dollars.)
Rep. Brady, in an interview with Philadelphia magazine, says he’s going to try to make sure the race goes off again. “I’ll be with the mayor tonight,” he said. “I’ll see what I can do to be helpful — see how much money they need and see if we can get it done again.”
Brady said the problem with the race last time is it had racked up that large debt to the city. The group he put together shortened the race and cut costs. He says he’s sure there are more costs that can be cut, and will try to organize local political and business leaders to get the race going again.