by Jim Harris
Congressman Bob Brady is bringing big-time bicycle racing back to our city. The Philly Cycling Classic will take place in Manayunk (the Indian name for “Where we go to drink?”) on June 2. The course will cover much of the same ground as the now-defunct Philadelphia International Cycling Championship (which ran out of banks to sponsor it), including the notorious half-mile climb up Lyceum Avenue, known as “The Wall.” In response to Manayunk residents’ complaints and reports of rowdyism in the past, this new race is being touted as more family-friendly and heavily policed.
So it is with great bluster and bumptiousness that I announce the founding of my own race, the 2013 “Bike for the Booze,” which is also being held on June 2. In contrast to Brady’s race, though, mine is a “non-family” event, and we’re hoping to attract the drunk and disorderly types who may be put off by the righteous rhetoric coming from that other event across the creek.
The route for my race will begin at the Chestnut Hill Local office, where riders can fuel up on free donuts, then continue once around the block, ending back again at the Local office, where the awards ceremony will take place. Course hazards will include “The Bump,” a speed bump on Shawnee Street, and “The Hole,” a gigantic pothole which, coming right after “The Bump,” will probably eliminate 90 percent of the riders right there.
For added fun, some racers will be blindfolded, and some will have square wheels as well. Taunting, dirty tricks and foul play will be encouraged. I’m also trying to get New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to participate because I know people will come out in droves to see him on a bicycle.
So far, the only racing team to sign up is the one representing Larry’s Liquor Warehouse on Admiral Wilson Boulevard, but we expect many more, possibly from as far away as Conshohocken. We’re sorry, but non-smokers will not be permitted in the race, and riders will also be required to fail both a urinalysis and a sanity test.
If any of the cyclists should stray off course during the race (and we expect that they all will) there may be long periods where no riders are in sight, so we’ll have plenty of alcohol-related activities to keep the spectators occupied during those times. These will include precision projectile vomiting, fighting and … more fighting. And, if you like to drink alone and can’t “handle bars,” then you’ll love our race. We’ll be selling moonshine from the back of a pickup truck circling the course. No need for crowded taverns or idle small talk, just sit on the curb and chug from a jug.
If and when any entrant reaches the finish line, he or she will be declared the winner, given oxygen, taken to the awards platform and presented with over 100 coupons good for discounts on dry cleaning, electrolysis and of course, booze. As a special treat, internationally acclaimed rap artist “Li’l Brain” will then perform an anthem he wrote especially for the occasion. It’s called “Amonna Gammana,” (or something like that; it doesn’t matter because no one can understand rap lyrics anyway), and Li’l Brain has assured me that it really does have something to do with cycling.
Funding for this event has been provided in part by “Short Mort” (that guy who always hangs around outside the WaWa in Mt. Airy) and the John D. and Catherine T. McBoobyhatch Foundation, The race is fully accredited by the Bike America Racing Federation (BARF). Written accounts, first-hand descriptions, smoke signals, marble sculptures, dance impressions or finger paintings of the goings-on are strictly forbidden without greasing the proper palm (mine).
If you’re planning to attend, be aware that you can park pretty much anywhere in the neighborhood. Residents won’t mind if you park on their lawns or in their driveways, and there are also plenty of good spots right in front of the firehouse. If someone does object, tell him or her that you’re attending “Bike for the Booze,” and that Jim sent you.