On June 1, bikers will meet at Race Street Pier to begin a wild race through the city to benefit Neighborhood Bike Works, a non-profit which uses bikes to empower and support urban youth in underserved neighborhoods.
The race is called The Works: Volume III and is a hoagie-themed alleycat style bike race followed by an after party at the Beaumont Warehouse in West Philly. Alleycats are informal races which include checkpoints all over the city. Bikers can choose their own adventure either by racing to find the fastest possible route between all checkpoints, or by collecting points by performing fun activities at checkpoints. Meant for cyclists of all types, there are all sorts of prizes to be awarded from local shops such as Bells Bike Shop, Bicycle Therapy, Firehouse Bikes, Trophy Bikes, other Philadelphia bike shops and notable local sponsors including Wawa, Peanut Chews, La Colombe Coffee, and Pizza Brain. For the last two editions of the race, The Works has gotten a reputation for being fun, exciting, and a great way to explore the city by bike.
All proceeds from the race benefit the Neighborhood Bike Works Earn-A-Bike program. Earn-A-Bike is an after-school course where youth learn the basics of bike repair, safe riding, health and nutrition. Participants can earn the very bikes they repair by participating in classes. The program is completely free for the 12 youth enrolled in the course, but costs $5,000 to operate. Organizers of the race aim to raise enough funds through the event to fully fund at least one Earn-A-Bike course for the coming season.
The race and party event keeps the pressure low and the enthusiasm high. “The Works combines my three greatest loves in life: bicycles, dance parties, and hoagies. Only in Philly could you find 150 other people who think that’s a pretty good idea too. Plus it’s all for the kids,” says Sean Gleason, who started the race three years ago.
Registration for the race is $10 per rider and starts at 3pm at the Race St Pier with the race beginning at 4pm. The after party, featuring live music, arts and crafts, and food and drink, is free for riders and a $5-15 suggested donation for non-riders. You can also learn more about the Neighborhood Bike Works and donate through their website.
SARAH E. ADAMS is the editorial intern at Grid and can be found working for Bennett Compost at a farmers market near you.