Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Race-day rowdyism takes hit in Manayunk

The locals cheered in their hearts as the team climbed the legendary Manayunk Wall yesterday - and it wasn't even riding bicycles.

The locals cheered in their hearts as the team climbed the legendary Manayunk Wall yesterday - and it wasn't even riding bicycles.

Instead, this breakaway group was comprised of officers in blue with bulletproof vests that read "State Police" in front and "Liquor Enforcement" in back.

One by one, the pack of 20 walked up Levering Street and Lyceum Avenue - a/k/a the Manayunk Wall - looking for any lawbreakers among the crowds at the TD Bank Championship Bike Race.

The law officers asked for ID from some potential underage drinkers. And, according to resident Dawn Andrews, ordered a group of race revelers drinking out of open containers to empty their drinks out on the sidewalk.

They moved on their way and into the hearts of many Manayunk residents and event organizers.

"It's definitely a big improvement" over last year, Andrews, 38, said outside her home and the barricades erected for the race. In past years, Andrews said, the prestigious bike race was "just a drunken party."

Authorities pledged last week to carry out a "zero tolerance" policy against rowdy, partying behavior.

They also said that a night bike court would be held, similar to the Eagles court a few years back, to deal with offenders.

Police spokeswoman Officer Jillian Russell said night bike court wasn't held, but the regular Nuisance Court took place at the Fifth District headquarters, on Ridge Avenue and Cinnaminson Street. No arrest information was released.

On Saturday night and yesterday morning, state police cited some bars along Main Street for serving underage patrons and for selling alcohol before 11 a.m., said Manayunk volunteer coordinator Terri Bateman.

During the day, attendees were openly drinking out of open containers as they walked outside. One young woman walking down the Wall fell on her face and spilled her beverage. Another group of race attendees climbed onto the roof of a Levering Street house and drank from open containers.

For some Manayunk families with young children, the event's reputation preceded it. And that's not a good thing.

"We were scared at first [about attending] because we thought it would probably be more youth-oriented and rowdy," said Andrew Manning, 30, who took his family to Main Street. "But nobody's being rowdy. Nobody's being crazy."

His wife, Kate Manning, said, "We thought we'd be the only stroller, but we've seen lots of family and kids."

Bateman, the volunteer coordinator, has worked each race since it began in 1985 and, after the race, she said the atmosphere had moved in the right direction.

"It was a lot better. I felt better about it compared to last year's race because of the extra police and city officials that helped us get more barricades," she said. Bateman and other folks hope race day can return to a more family-oriented event.

Last year, for instance, partyers along Manayunk Avenue actually interfered with the race, Bateman said. They moved into the street and when volunteer marshals whistled - a signal to clear for incoming cyclists - they didn't hear the sound because they were making so much noise, she said. Cyclists then had to maneuver their way through the crowd, Bateman said.

Barricades were erected along the street this year, keeping spectators from going into the road, she said.

"It's not gonna happen in one year," Bateman said of a culture change at the race. "But it's a little dent."