After David Chauner, founder of Philadelphia International Cycling Championship, announced there would not be a bike race in Manayunk this year, people in the community sprung together to come up with a solution.
Congressman Bob Brady announced earlier in the month Manayunk will have its annual race but with a new name and new sponsors.
The 2013 race, scheduled for June 2 awaiting city approval, will be named the Philly Cycling Classic and will be organized by sponsors like every year in the past.
Jane Lipton, executive director for Manayunk Development Corp., said the sponsors will come from “top tier title sponsors all the way down to smaller media partners.”
One big difference this year is how the race is being put together.
“We are putting it together as a nonprofit where it has been for profit for the last 28 years,” said Lipton. “The culture of the management will be different.”
Bicyclists coming to Philadelphia for the race each year were not the only ones who would have been affected.
Devon Chaban, of Roxborough, said she views the race as a family tradition where she gets quality time with her friends and family, along with meeting new people.
“When hearing that the race was canceled I was upset and disappointed, not only does it mean so much to my family and the community, it also brings awareness to Philly,” said Chaban.“When hearing it was back on we were all excited and relieved to hear it was back.”
For some businesses the race is also an economic driver, bringing in not just bicyclist but also tourists into the restaurants and shops on Main Street.
“It is an economic driver but is also an economic driver the week of the bike race,” said Lipton. “There are a lot of people that come here to train. They run the course, eat, shop and stay in Philadelphia. It’s a big deal.”
Some businesses disagreed, staying they actually close their shops during the race.
Pat McGonagle, owner of Gourmet Foods Market on Main Street, has been in business for eight years but has closed her store for the past three or four years during the race.
“We didn’t benefit at all from it,” said McGonagle. “It would all be people down here to drink and party but that didn’t bring anyone into the neighborhood that would come into this type of store.”
So far, Parx Casino will give $250,000 each year to sponsor the race, along with $100,000 by New Penn Financial for this year. Other named sponsors are Philadelphia Federal Credit Union with $50,000 this year and Sunoco will contribute $25,000.