Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What Happened to the Philly Bike Party?



In 2012 a new player arrived on the social bike ride scene in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Bike Party. A social ride modeled after the San Diego Bike Party, a monthly low speed ride attracts hundreds of cyclists. At about the same time the Philly Bike Party formed so did the Baltimore Bike Party. The Baltimore rides have attracted around 500 to 700 participants per ride every month and on Halloween 1300. Even their most recent ride in January had a few hundred in spite of a snowstorm. 

The organizers for the Philly Bike Party seemed to have all of the needed background; experienced cyclists who were part of the planning team for the Philadelphia Naked Bike Ride. Which gave them the experience to plan the rides and the network needed to create a following. Rides like this do require commitment and volunteer help. Route planning, setting up a final destination where people can hang out, and sweep riders to make sure no one gets lost.

Regrettably the Philadelphia Bike Party rides were few and far apart and that they never built a following, because there was nothing to follow. Perhaps this was just one project to many for the planners who are full time students, working part time jobs, and volunteering within their community.

Compared to so many other cities Philadelphia seems to be always behind the curve when it comes to concepts like this. With several colleges and universities in Philadelphia, the 2000 participants in the Philadelphia Naked Bike Ride, along with professionals of all ages living in the area you would think that there is a built in audience for this type of ride. I can only hope that in time someone else will work on reviving this concept.

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