Monthly Archives: August 2015

Papal enCYCLEcal – Get thee on a bike!

You may have heard that Pope Francis will be in town in a few weeks. All the media attention has been around the frustrations of limited car access to Center City Philadelphia. Our City’s Commerce Department has even opened a help desk for businesses to continue to flourish during the Pope’s visit. All understandable.

I’ve noticed, however, that many fellow cyclists have a different perspective, feeling this is a great opportunity to highlight the Pope’s message of the moral urgency to act on climate, and to care for the poor.  Many of us already choose to get around by bike or transit, whether we leave the car parked at home or simply can’t afford one.  For the rest of you, I invite you to try a few days of car-free living.  It’s quite catching, I hear!

So when the City begins closing down much of Center City to car traffic, let’s claim the streets for people-powered mobility! I’ve read about the Critical Mass movement, where cyclists spontaneously claim the streets, and the more planned  Open Streets project, which temporarily closes streets to automobile traffic so people can use the streets for walking, bicycling, dancing, playing and socializing. Just what the Pope ordered!

Open Streets isn’t new to Philly. The MLK drive is closed down each week, since 1980, I discovered. For years, there was annual BikePhilly every September, which invited cyclists to pedal through Center City with a rolling police escort, savoring the streets and the fine old architecture.

Like me, if you’ve never pedaled over the Ben Franklin Bridge, I hear there’s a bike & pedestrian lane.  On Friday September 25th, when the whole Bridge is shut down to car traffic, join us for the Ben Franklin Bridge Ride, which begins at Washington Square Park at 9pm.  Make sure your bike is well-lit & visible.

On Saturday September 26th, there’s the PopeRide, starting at The Porch at 30th Street Station at 10:00am. See coverage by NBC.

46354_bike_sharefIf you don’t own a bike, I highly recommend you explore our City’s bike-share system: RideIndego.Pedal-powered-Popemobile-web

If you’re unable to ride a bike, I hear there will be pedicabs for hire. There’s Velo-Ride and others.

Our own Bicycle Coalition is building a map listing routes to enter and exit the City via bike.  It’s called the PopeMap, and also lists the handful of places that’ll remain open and rent you a bike for that weekend, PHEW! being one of them.

PHEW! encourages everyone’s efforts toward a car-free Philly for this one weekend in September and more.

The Power Riders at Bike MS: City to Shore

2015bike_logoFor years, I’ve heard of a bike ride called Bike MS: City to Shore, from Philly to the Jersey shore. Although I own a bike shop, I rarely venture on group rides. And this one, with thousands of riders, of all ages and endurance, going the 150 mile distance, was unfathomable to someone happy enough with her daily rides to work and on local errands.

This year, encouraged by Eric Smith, I’ve stepped up to join a team that Eric set up: The Power Riders.

It’ll help to know that I own a shop specializing in electric-assist bikes & folding bikes. And that Eric is a long-time e-bike customer, and now friend.  Last year, Eric experienced the City to Shore ride for the first time. He had a blast, and later realized that his might have been the only electric-assist bike amongst the thousands that day.

So this year, we decided to create our own team, mainly for e-bike riders to experience the Bike MS: City to Shore ride. Own an e-bike? Join our team.  Think a little assist might be good, but don’t already own an ebike? Maybe you didn’t know that you could rent one from us for the day.  Just want to keep a friend company, but don’t think you need the assist? You can still join our team.

CTS_Map_2014_-_largerTerrified that I couldn’t possibly ride for 150 miles, I learned that most people
ride only on the first day. And can choose to ride 25 miles, 45 miles, 75 miles or
100 miles.  PHEW!  I know I can ride 25 miles, so I’ve signed up for the 45 mile ride.   Here’s a route map from last year.

I also found that each rider needs to register for this ride. And that registration costs you $65. Each rider is expected to raise at least $300, and it seems $750 is the average amount that each rider raised. Eric raised $1,600 last year, and has quickly surpassed that this year, so he tells me it’s easy.

When is this ride? Saturday Oct 3rd, 2015.  Save the date. And Join our Team!

Questions? Call 215.821.9266 or write info [at]