In it’s 27th year the Philadelphia International Cycling Championship returns on June 5th to the city of cheesesteaks and apparently bicycles. For a city that is considered one of the most friendly and forward towards bicycles as daily transportation, it can also boast one of the top rated cycling challenges in the world by professional riders themselves. What’s attracting the top riders from all corners of the globe to ride around the Art Museum along the Schuylkill River up into Manayunk and back? I don’t think it’s the cheesesteaks or the early American History. It’s out there in freakin’ Manayunk, yup it’s the “Manayunk Wall” an intense half mile 17 percent grade incline that has to be climbed during each 14.4 mile lap, a total of 10 times. It’s hard to describe “The Wall” or get across how steep it is. I once tried to rollerblade down it. Yes besides being old and reckless I was once young and reckless. I barely made it down a tenth of the hill before grinding my brakes to nubs and struggled to stay under control only to swerve and grab a fence that runs along one side of the street and inch my way down to the bottom of the hill…… the race finishes with three laps around Lemon Hill and Logan Circle and will have logged 156 miles.
At the same time over the same course will be the Liberty Classic consisting of more than 100 professional and international women cyclists. This race is four laps and logs 57.6 miles.
In Manayunk unless you get out there early it will be difficult to get a spot to watch the race, but around the Art Museum, Ben Franklin Parkway and along the Schuylkill River there are many spots to watch.