Philly Bike Race Sought New Home in Conshohocken

From late 2017 through the summer of 2018 there was an effort to bring the now defunct professional bike race in Philadelphia to the streets of Conshohocken and nearby communities. The bike race was first held in 1985 and ran through 2016. It was traditionally held on the first Sunday of June.

The effort was led by suburban Philadelphia-based Richard Adler, a sports marketing executive with experience in tennis, beach volleyball and most recently cycling and endurance races. Disclosure, Kevin Tierney, that’s me, use to work with Richard Adler.

Adler was involved in the Philadelphia bike race in two of its last few years of existence. He, along with some partners, had run the successful Philadelphia Triathlon (along with other races), and were approached to run the bike race when the former operator ran into financial trouble.

The race was eventually taken over by the City of Philadelphia, which operated it for two years. Mayor Kenney chose not to continue operating and financing the race after the 2016 edition.

Late last year Adler contacted me and said there was some interest in moving the race to Montgomery County (mostly driven by the expense of doing it within the city). He asked me my thoughts on Conshohocken hosting it. I thought it was an interesting idea that would generate a lot of economic impact and buzz for Conshohocken. The target year to relaunch the race was 2019.

Adler had two potential courses created. Each included Conshohocken as the center of the race, but touched portions of Plymouth and Whitemarsh Townships. One course crossed the bridge and went into West Conshohocken. The course that crossed the bridge was considered the best course, but likely unfeasible due to the need to close the bridge.

Please note that at this point the potential race was at the juncture where there was some general interest from organizers and sponsors, but it needed a home to take the first step to reality. Once a home was found, further vetting would need to be done to finance the race through sponsorship (the municipalities involved were not going to be asked to contribute financially and would be paid for their services). Even if a municipality embraced the idea, there was still the possibility that it wouldn’t happen.

I attended three meetings with Adler. One with Conshohocken’s Borough Manager, one with the Township Manager of Whitemarsh and the Chief of Police and one with the Township Manager of Plymouth Township and several members the staff.

From there Adler was asked to make a presentation before Conshohocken’s Borough Council. Adler’s request of Borough Council was to instruct its staff to meet with Adler and determine if the race was feasible and how the Borough’s police, public works etc., would be involved. The big issue was of determining a viable course that met cycling specifications that the Borough was comfortable with. After that process was complete, Borough Council could vote to approve or deny the event.

Borough Council chose to deny the request to meet with staff. So any potential for a race hosted by Conshohocken died that night in August.

Please note, myself, or my company, did not have any financial interest or role in the potential event. That may have changed, but at the time this was being pursued, we just wanted to see a great event in Conshohocken. We know of at least one other town that Adler talked with and we did not attend those meetings.

No race is currently scheduled.

Let us know what you think. Would you have loved for Conshohocken to host an international professional bike race or would have closing roads, etc., been to big a burden? Let us know in the comments.