Since August, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
has been putting on monthly "fun rides" for anyone who wants to partake. Every month a different route is chosen, all with the same mission of highlighting the region’s bountiful infrastructure and programmatic pieces for local cyclists. This past Friday, the latest ride showcased another one of the city’s most cherished assets: South Philly’s famed holiday lights displays.
According to the Bicycle Coalition's Diana Owens, the latest ride had the best turn out yet. "Typically we get two dozen or so participants," she says, "but on Friday we had 125 people sign up and 80 actually show up."
Owens attributes the large turnout to the appeal of biking itself, but also credits the light displays in South Philly. "Biking has definitely become sexy in Philly," she says. "By now, everyone’s heard of the South Philly lights displays and people seemed excited to see them."
Because of the large turnout, the mass of bikers split into six groups, some of which ended up taking slightly different routes. But not to worry—Owens said the light shows in the neighborhoods surrounding Packer Avenue were enjoyed by all who participated.
"It was a wonderful evening," she recalls. "All types of people came out for the ride and we got the attention of so many people on the street asking what we were doing."
The rides are the latest effort by the Bicycle Coalition to engage the public. Two other programs, Safe Routes Philly
and Bicycle Ambassadors
, both promote biking and walking as fun, healthy forms of transportation in Philadelphia Elementary Schools and other forums. The Fun Rides connect riders with city neighborhoods, and take the Bicycle Coalition’s message to the streets.
Because the rides have been so successful, they’ll continue to happen every month. While the Bicycle Coalition has yet to decide on where the next ride will be, Owens says to expect one right after the New Year.
To take part in one of the fun rides or another one of the outreach programs, visit the Bicycle Coalition’s website
: Diana Owens, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
: Greg Meckstroth