With the arrival warm weather you see a rapid explosion of century rides, rides that are 100 miles. The most prevalent are century rides designed to raise funds for a non-for profit. They all require a great deal of planning and logistics to execute these rides. But none more than the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia Bike Philly ride. Which includes 20 miles of car free streets in Philadelphia and thousands of riders. Over the years there have been growing problems the expense of permits and police to control traffic and deal with street closures. The added problem was the entry of $50.00 per person, made this event impossible to participate for the majority of Philadelphia residents.
So the BCGP is working on a new solution, a Ciclovia or as it is more commonly none in the United States, Summer Streets. Having attended Summer Streets in New York City on several occasions this is a much better solution than yet another century ride. Summer Streets are not a bicycle ride, they are street fair that stretches over miles full of activities. Its open to the public, is draw for tourists, and by leaving key cross streets open has a limited impact on traffic. If they start early in the morning there may be a chance to ride through the empty streets like I did at 7am at New York City's Summer Streets, but by 10am the streets were packed with wall to wall for the entire 7 mile length. An amazing sight that you have to see to believe.
I wish the BCGP good luck and hope that they are able to find the sponsorship to make this Ciclovia a success. As well as a new Philadelphia tradition.