June 01, 2016
Thousands of political delegates will descend on South Philadelphia when the Democratic National Convention commences in late July.
So, too, will a massive group of bicyclists extolling various political opinions.
At least 130 bikers are expected to participate in RideDNC, an 11.5-mile trip down Broad Street to FDR Park on Wednesday, July 27, the third night of the political convention. Event organizers anticipate many others – if not hundreds more – will join.
Throughout the ride, bicyclists will carry glowsticks, blare music and express various political opinions. The fanfare is all in an effort to champion the political process rather than support one particular viewpoint or candidate.
"This is a ride celebrating the political process," Schneider said. "The closest that we come to a political viewpoint is that we love bikes."
Schneider and fellow organizer, Maria Serrahima, have hosted large-scale bicycle events in the past. Schneider organized the PopeRide, a 10-mile ride within Center City during the papal visit in September. Serrahima serves as the lead organizer for the Philly Naked Bike Ride.
"I'm very proud that we're infusing part of our Philadelphia culture," Serrahima said. "We've been growing the cycling scene and have a lot of people who are very excited about it. Those people also happened to be very motivated and involved with the political process. Everybody is looking for a very fun and peaceful event."
While various groups will protest during the Democratic convention, RideDNC organizers have billed their event as "antiprotest." Instead, they are hoping the bike ride will be an inclusive experience where people can respectfully express their political opinions, whatever they may be.
"People are coming and they're looking forward to bringing their messages and their T-shirts," Serrahima said. "We're going to be respectful of other people's views. Everyone is welcome. If people want to have a conversation about it, as long as it's a positive and respectful conversation, we're definitely open to that."
The bikers will gather at Broad Street and Cheltenham Avenue at 6:30 p.m. on July 27 before embarking an hour later. Organizers encourage riders to join up with them throughout the trip.
Once the bikers reach FDR Park, the event will turn into something of a dance party. The organizers hope some delegates will wander over from Wells Fargo Center.
"We're going to be using the speakers ... on the bike trailer," Schneider said. "We're going to be pumping out tunes there."