Q: I perceive the world strictly through symbolism and metaphor. The event is called "Bike Philly." I don't get it.
A: We don't mean to make it tough for you Haverford-educated types. It's a day where people get to ride bicycles through Philadelphia.
Q: Um, I can bike through Philadelphia all year round. Why do this "Bike Philly"?
A: Three reasons. Firstly: the 10 and 20-mile routes are closed to cars. You can't bike down the middle of the Parkway, Columbus Blvd, and Kelly Drive with nary a worry for cars except during Bike Philly. B: your registration is a donation to the Bicycle Coalition, who use the money to be bicycling's best regional advocates. So you're making bicycling better as you do it. III: you get to ride with thousands of your fellow Philly-area bicyclists, which is pretty sweet and allows you to pretend you're in an enormous bike gang.
Q: You listed your three reasons as, "firstly, B, and III." I am offended.
A: We're sorry.
Q: I'm new to the city and have not yet built up the sense of invincibility that allows me to ride on streets without bike lanes. My gut says Bike Philly is for me.
A: Listen to your gut. You get to check out Philly neighborhoods like Chinatown, Queen Village, and Fairmount Park without worrying about crazy taxis cutting you off.
Q: Bike Philly is on September 11th. Is that a coincidence?A: Yes. In its fifth year now, Bike Philly always happens on the Sunday after Labor Day. Should you want to honor the day by wearing something or decorating your bicycle in a certain way, please feel free to do so.
Q: You say the cost of registration goes to support the Bicycle Coalition's advocacy work. What does that mean?
A: Think of it as hiring your own specialized team of razor-smart, fiercely loyal, and surprisingly athletic men and women to aggressively and unrelentingly persuade Philly-area decision makers to make the area a better place to ride your bike. A pretty good value for $50, don't you think?
Q: Sounds impressive. Can you give an example without so many adjectives?
A: Fine. Remember when City Council considered bogging bike lanes down in unnecessary bureaucracy? We were obnoxiously loud about it, and the bill didn't pass. That kind of stuff.
Q: I have a custom bicycle. It's made by Ford, it has a unique 4-wheel design, it weighs about 2,500 pounds, and has a special 325-horsepower "hill assist" motor for really tough climbs. Can I ride it in Bike Philly?
A: Nice try. No. Bike Philly is Philadelphia's day for bikes. "Drive Philly" happens the other 364 days of the year.
Q: What kind of bike can I ride in Bike Philly?
A: Road bikes, mountain bikes, recumbent bikes, track bikes, tandem bikes, folding commuter bikes, bikes with trailers, trick bikes, the list goes on. The whole route is paved.
Q: I get winded just thinking about bicycling, but am considering dragging my fetid bulk off the couch for Bike Philly. Do I need to be in shape for the ride?
A: If you refer to your body as a 'fetid bulk,' it's probably too late to get in shape, but you do not need to be in great shape for Bike Philly. The first ten miles are capped at 12 mph to allow riders of all skill levels to ride comfortably.
Q: I signed up for the 20-mile ride but now I want to do the 35-mile option. Is it too late?
A: Nope! We ask riders to pick one to get a sense of the numbers doing each route, but you can change your mind mid-ride. But once you're on a longer loop, no going back.
Q: I have an asymmetrical haircut, ride a purple track bike with suicide bars and no brakes, and believe following traffic laws takes away the point of riding a bike. Will you yak my ear off at Bike Philly with stodgy moralizing?
A: No. We maaaaay try to convince you that following traffic laws makes your life easier (really, it does!), but you can and should ride Bike Philly.
Q: I read that Bike Philly supports the Complete The Trail campaign. What is that?
A: It is the combined effort of a lot of groups, including us, to connect the region's many bike paths and trails. We rally support, secure plans and funding, get new trails built and improve existing ones. Imagine biking from Valley Forge, through Philly, and into Jersey or Wilmington! There's a website and everything!
Q: Can we blast Ride of the Valkyries as we ride down the Parkway?
A: Amazing idea. Why didn't you suggest this a month ago?
Q: This post has been kind of all over the place. Anything else on-topic you want to share?
A: If you want to do one thing this year to support bicycling in the Philadelphia region, ride Bike Philly. We've come a long way since our early days, but there's much more work to be done. Register today, and we'll see you Sunday morning!