Pedaling for charity

Posted: June 01, 2012

LOOKING FOR a way to raise money for your favorite charity and take a ride on the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship course? At the same time?

You can on Sunday.

New to the bicycle race, in its 28th year, Pro Cycling Tour, the organizers of the bike race, has teamed with Bicycling magazine and Charity of Choice to create a Gran Fondo or "Big Ride" that anyone - amateur or pro - can try for fun before the professional men's race starts.

Named the Bicycling Magazine Open, the ride will allow participants to see what it's like for the pros as they pedal all or just parts of the 14.7-mile circuit and get timed for up to three laps as long as riders make the 9:30 a.m. cutoff time to start a lap.

Starts will also be staggered in order of riding speed to avoid mishaps.

The entry fee is $95 through Friday, $100 on Sunday. Registration is online until Sunday.

The open ride is set to begin at 7 a.m. Sunday. The men's pro race will follow at 10:45, and the women's race, the Liberty Classic, is set to start at 10:55.

Dave Chauner, president of Pro Cycling Tour, said he expected about 2,000 riders to participate.

In addition to just riding on the closed, professionally timed course, bikers can collaborate with Charity of Choice to raise money for their favorite charity. To sign up for the open ride and learn more about the charity aspect, go to www.echelongranfondo.org/bicyclingopen.

Event organizers said that National MS Society of the Greater Delaware Valley, Cradles to Crayons, Cadence Cycling Foundation, Philabundance, Ronald McDonald House, Philadelphia 9/11, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Philadelphia, and Gearing Up are expected to have riders on the course.

To make time for the open ride, the distance of the men's pro race has been reduced from 156 miles to 124. The route will remain the same, but there will be fewer laps.

The men's race opens with parade laps on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway around Logan Circle, near the Art Museum. Then it's off for the 14.7-mile main circuit that heads north on Kelly Drive along the Schuylkill toward Manayunk and the Manayunk Wall.

More than 180 riders from 30 countries are set to ride in America's biggest single-day cycling race.

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