In early August Alexandra Schnieder posted an event to Facebook to invite her friends to go for a bike ride through Center City when it was free of cars. Fast forward to Saturday, September 26, 2600 people had signed up on Facebook and 3000 rode through the streets of Center City.
During the ride I saw riders of all ages and families riding together. One of the most unique family bikes was a father riding with his two children on a triplet. An adult bicycle built for three modified to fit two children and one adult.
After the ride ended I spent several hours wandering through Center City and the surrounding area by bicycle. Without having to compete with cars for space on the road or worry about aggressive drivers who view cyclists as an impediment. I was able to see things and go places I normally would not have. Including unique insights into early American history.
One stop was at the Old Pine Church cemetery where I saw the headstone of the man who rang the church bells so the residents of Philadelphia could hear the first live reading of the Declaration of Independence. Another was at the Old Pine Church cemetery. A small Revolutionary war era Jewish Cemetery. Which included the grave of Nathan Levy at Mikveh Israel Cemetery A Jewish merchant who owned the ship which transported the Liberty Bell from the foundry in England to Philadelphia.
I encountered many Philadelphia residents out enjoying car free streets. One of the most memorable moments was watching A mother and father riding their bicycles in street with their 6 year old daughter in the middle. I could hear the daughter asking with great excitement how many miles had they ridden.
#Popenstreets was a unique opportunity for everyone on Philadelphia. One that I hope will happen again.