A Bike Ride to Remember

The Holiday Lights Ride is a roughly seven mile bike ride that exposes riders to all the best holiday scenery Philadelphia south of South Street has to offer.

The Miracle on 13th Street will be just one destination the holiday lights ride passes through.

South Philly residents and beyond are invited to take part in the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia’s annual Holiday Lights Ride, a roughly seven-mile bike ride predominantly through South Philadelphia that exposes riders to all the best holiday scenery Philadelphia south of South Street has to offer. The event will begin at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 12, at Performance Bicycle at 1300 S. Columbus Blvd.

“A holiday lights bike ride is a long tradition,” said John Siemiarowski, a Philadelphia resident who is largely responsible for starting the ride. “We decorate our bikes and go out and look at our wonderful displays and look at all the tiny streets that [decorate for the holidays].”

The BCGP has only been involved with the ride for the past seven years.

“Biking in the winter isn’t the most fun thing to do, but when you get in the spirit it becomes really enjoyable,” said BCGP Development Associate Amanda Ruffner, who is working to help organize the event. “It became really popular.”

Ruffner said the route for the ride changes every year, and isn’t unveiled until right before the event starts to keep it a surprise. The one thing the routes all have in common, however, is they always seek out the most festive areas of the city. The Miracle on 13th Street, for instance, is almost always a part of the route.

According to Siemiarowski, there’s an informal competition among the bike riders regarding who can decorate their bike or body the most. In the past few years, Siemiarowski has dressed up as Santa, but with different themes. This year’s theme is to be determined, but previous years’ themes have been Disco Santa, 1960s Santa and Santa Goes to Mars.

Ruffner said the event typically draws between 100 and 200 people.

Siemiarowski recommends wearing one more layer than you think you’ll need due to the cold. The ride is free, but Ruffner recommends you RSVP in advance. More information about the event, in addition to RSVP information, can be found on the Holiday Lights Ride Facebook page.