Manayunk, East Falls, Fairmount Park and Kelly Drive come alive with energy as the annual Philly Cycling Classic presented by Parx Casino races to town next Sunday, June 1.
The Block Parties
Every year, the official race turns into an unofficial block party throughout the 12-mile circuit course complete with eating, drinking, hanging and celebrating in the streets.
The energy is felt throughout town on the day of the race, as a number of homes open their doors for house parties, streets close for block parties and local vendors set up shop outdoors for family-friendly shopping and activities.
Main Street Manayunk is completely closed to traffic, but a number of restaurants and businesses move outdoors so guests have a front row seat for the race, which sprints down the Main Street portion of the course.
Every year, the East Falls Block Party shuts down Midvale Avenue at Kelly Drive to allow for spectating opportunities in addition to a kid’s carnival, food trucks, music and more.
The Course Route
Hundreds of bicyclists head for the hills of Manayunk to participate in the race, which was formerly known as the Manayunk Bike Race. The Cycling Classic brings professional cyclists to the 12-mile circuit course that winds its way through Manayunk, East Falls, Fairmount Park and Lemon Hill, with a large portion of the race taking place along scenic Kelly Drive and the Schuylkill River.
The race begins and ends at Lyceum Avenue in downtown Manayunk — the top of the famous Manayunk Wall. The steep hill is not only a huge factor in the multi-lap race, but it also creates a dramatic end to the race as riders make their final push for the lead up the hill.
The race beings at 6:45 a.m. with the Velothon, a 30-mile amateur race along the same course as the Philly Cycling Classic. The women’s race follows the Velothon with a start time of 8:30 a.m. and the men’s race concludes the Cycling Classic with a start time of noon. The women participating in the race ride the 12-mile circuit five times for a total race of 60 miles, and the men ride the 12-mile circuit ten times for a total race of 120 miles.
Best Places To Watch
Cheer on the participants from a number of ideal vantage points throughout the course. By far the most popular place to catch the peddling is along the Manayunk Wall. The Manayunk Wall is the start and finish of the race, so is home to tons of block parties and high energy participants and spectators. The Wall offers some of the best vantage point for watching the race, with unbeatable proximity to the riders.
The East Falls block party is an ideal spot for those looking for family-friendly activities in addition to great race views.
Lemon Hill and East Fairmount Park provide a more relaxed spot to watch the action and Kelly Drive is a great location for those looking to have a picnic on the grass and watch the annual bike race.
Stay tuned for our full spectator’s guide to the race which will include details on the best places to watch.
The course map is available, below.
Parx Casino’s Philly Cycling Classic
When: Sunday, June 1; Velothon, 6:45 a.m.; Women’s Race, 8:30 a.m.; Men’s Race, noon
Where: Spectator areas line the entire course, stretching from Manayunk to Lemon Hill
More info: www.phillycyclingclassic.org