Stu Bykofsky: Can Big Bob save city's bike race?

Cash-strapped event needs Rep. Brady to bring it back to life

Posted: January 25, 2013

IN THE SPIRIT of the civil-rights leader whose memory we honored this week, I have a dream concerning the just-canceled 29th Philadelphia International Cycling Championship, scheduled for June 2.

I have a dream that the event will be rescued.

I have a dream that when U.S. Rep. Bob Brady meets Friday at 11 a.m. with city, race and Manayunk officials, he will find a way to offset the rising expenses, the given reason for the cancellation.

I have a dream that the event will find a new corporate sponsor to front about $1 million.

I have a dream that Lance Armstrong, desperate to resuscitate his reputation after finally admitting that he's a cheater, a doper and a liar, will snake a hand into his Spandex bike shorts and pull out a check. It'll be his cash but the name of title sponsor will be his charity, the Livestrong Foundation.

Before I explain my dreams, give me one paragraph to address the minority of ignorant bikeheads who screech that I am anti-bike. I am anti-bike lane, yes. Anyone with eyes can see they are massively underused. I am also against bad bike behavior - riding on sidewalks, ignoring stop signs, blowing through red lights and riding against traffic. All that is against the law, and too many bikeheads think they are above the law. "Willful disregard" of the law was acknowledged in a recent post on planphilly.com by the communications coordinator of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

As for Dream No. 1, the race, which made a star out of the Manayunk Wall, is good for the city. It is prestigious, bringing in contestants and cash, in addition to massive media attention. I am for it, because it is good for Philadelphia, and I praise what's good for Philadelphia, or at least the vast majority of Philadelphians.

The star of Dream No. 2 is Bob Brady, the eight-term congressman and longtime chairman of the Democratic City Committee. If anyone in Philadelphia is Mr. Democrat, it is Big Bob. Not Fast Eddie, not Mixmaster Mike, not Johnny Doc. I'm not dissing those big guns - I'm just saying Brady brings people together like a whore at a frat party.

By bringing opposing forces together, Brady ended the transit strike, saved the Mummers and the Dad Vail Regatta, plus a dozen ethnic, cultural and civic festivals. He's been called a fixer, but I think of him as a peacemaker, a problem-solver, a blue-collar realist with iron pants.

Iron pants? Brady once told me his style of negotiating is to get both parties seated around the table, lock the doors, order bad food (like day-old coffee and cold toast) and let no one leave until there's a deal.

After Mayor Nutter threw in the towel on this year's race, and after Brady announced Friday's meeting, a clutch of power hitters reached out to Brady. If anyone can fix this thing, it's Big Bob.

Combo Special - Dreams No. 3 & 4: The simplest, but the least likely. Armstrong is worth $100 mil , but I hear some former sponsors may sue to get their money back. Plus Lying Lance might face lawsuits from people he defamed, calling them liars when they told the truth about his cheating.

His sponsors, they got their money's worth out of him, and Armstrong's self-applied slime won't tarnish them or their products. In the personal lawsuits, those defamed deserve cash compensation, but the payout should be reasonable.

What I'm saying is that Lance has the cash. It would be great if he saved the race as a step toward rehabilitating his reputation.

But I'm not counting on Lying Lance to be the Lone Ranger. If Big Bob can't save this thing, no one can.


Email: stubyko@phillynews.com

Phone: 215-854-5977

On Twitter: @StuBykofsky

Columns: philly.com/Byko

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