Manayunk Development Corp. responds to bike race cancellation

January 22, 2013 7:15:04 AM PST
The International Cycling Championship, Philadelphia's premiere bike race, as of now is canceled for this year.

Late Monday evening, the Manayunk Development Corporation says it is trying to broker a meeting this Friday between city officials, race officials, and Congressman Bob Brady in an effort to salvage this year's race.

Race officials pointed to the high costs to the initial cancellation of the event.

Producing a major race costs a million dollars plus with the city now charging more for special event services such as police and TD Bank opting out as the prime sponsor, race officials say the numbers just didn't work.

"Without a title sponsor going into 2013 and increasing costs to produce the event, we decided to step out for a year," race organizer David Chauner said.

These days it seems cycling is part of Manayunk's trendy DNA, but 30 years ago Manayunk struggled. Many believe pro cycling helped in a major way.

"It put Manayunk on the map," White Dog Caf? spokeswoman Nancy Miller said.

"In 1984, when that little bike race came and the phrase Manayunk Wall was used, it ignited a spark that was the spark that ignited the reinvention of Manayunk that you see here today," Jane Lipton of the Manayunk Development Corporation said.

At the Cadence Bike Shop, they say the Manayunk Wall and its 17-percent climb is a major draw.

"We get people all year, we'll get people from Europe who can't speak a lick of English, and the only thing they can say is 'the wall' and ask me to point them to it," Cadence General Manager Brady Gibney said.

But not everyone is saddened by today's news.

Some neighbors say despite improvement, partying by spectators can get out of hand.

"Liquor control started coming around and there's more police. It's been better, but still people associate it with drinking," Helen Mangelsdorf of Roxborough said.

Officials say they are reorganizing the event and it will return to Philadelphia in 2014.

The International Cycling Championship has been a summer fixture in the city for the past 28 years.

The race has brought more than 100,000 spectators and cyclists from more than 30 countries.

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Jane Lipton, Executive Director of The Manayunk Development Corporation, released this statement Monday regarding the bike race cancellation:

"The decision by the organizers of the Philadelphia International Cycling Championship to cancel the 2013 event caught us completely by surprise. We were given no inkling that there were any issues that would lead to the cancellation of this year's race and we're understandably stunned and saddened by their unilateral decision. For the past two years, the Manayunk Development Corporation (MDC) has worked extremely hard and collaboratively with all parties to make the bike race a more family-friendly event and believe we succeeded in that goal. It has always been our desire to strike a true partnership with the race organizers for the benefit of the race, the spectators and the entire Manayunk community. We are reaching out today to race officials to determine if there may be a way of salvaging the 2013 event and to ensure that all future Philadelphia International Cycling Championships stay here in Manayunk, where they belong. Only this community has the iconic 'Manayunk Wall' and it's not going anywhere. The MDC staff and board are exploring all options to either save the 2013 bike race or plug this one-year gap with a family-friendly event that will retain the excitement and spirit of the race. We will provide the press and public with details of these plans as they develop."

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