With much of the major riding season over until the spring its time to take a look back at some of the highlights and lowlights of the past year. While there are plenty of alley cats, charity rides, races there are some that stand out more than others.
The most questionable ride that happens is the Philadelphia Naked Bike Ride, PNBR. While the ride has grown since its inception whether it achieves any of it broad based and nebulous goals remains highly questionable. The only people who benefit from the PNBR are the owners of the nearby bars at the Piazza at Schmiddts where the ride ends and after parties are held.
There are rides that are building a sense of community through good deeds and others through good fun. Examples of rides built through good fun include the Bilenky Junk Yard Cross is an unsanctioned cyclocross where nothing about the course or the participants are regulation. It draws a very eclectic group of participants and spectators for a day of friendly competition.
The Philly Tweed ride is also a great example of good fun builds a community. The Philadelphia Tweed Ride is a vintage themed bicycle ride where the participants dress in early 1900's style clothing and take a leisurely ride through Philadelphia with a stop for a picnic lunch and dinner. Attracting over 100 participants per year of all ages this ride gives participants a chance to exercise their creative abilities as well as create the opportunity to dress up for a unique social setting.
While Philadelphia has its share of charity bicycle rides most of them are century rides run by a non for-profit that have the resources and the staff to execute such an undertaking. There are two rides that I am aware of, that have been created through the hard work of individuals who make time outside of work, school, and other commitments to plan these rides.
Philly Cranksgiving is an alley cat race where participants navigate to a series of grocery stores to purchase items from a list that are brought to a final destination. Organized by two local residents, Gary and CJ, all of the proceeds go to Philabundance a food bank that helps Philadelphians in need. The 2012 ride raised 800 pounds of food and $1200.00, $1000.00 of which was donated by Tattooed Mom's matching the amount spent by the riders who donated food. This helped feed 2000 residents of Philadelphia.
There was a new addition this year, Gears for Gifts. An organized bicycle ride with the proceeds going to Toys for Tots. Traditionally motorcycle and car clubs holds rides of this nature so it’s always refreshing to see a new twist on an existing concept. I can only hope that this ride becomes an annual event and may some day rival the Midnight Ridazz All City Ride.
I'm looking forward to 2013 to see how many of these rides will cotinue to grow and evolve. As well as what new rides will develop.