On the evening of Oct. 25, Wonder Woman and many other pop culture characters will be cruising through the city on bike.
Bike Temple, a university-wide program sponsored by Temple University’s Office of Sustainability, will commence its annual Halloween Bike Ride as a part of Campus Sustainability Week – a weeklong celebration held annually to promote green living in the Temple community.
Bike Temple has recently been heavily involved with the Temple community through its new Bike Surplus program, which debuted this fall as a way to provide low-cost bikes to Temple students.
Blake Larson, the Bike Temple Coordinator, said he hopes to see an increase in students participating in the Halloween Bike Ride this year. Larson said Campus Safety is providing participants with free helmets they will be able to decorate to their own preference.
“The Halloween Bike Ride gives bikers a way to get out and have fun while looking goofy,” Larson said. “I love seeing people watching who are getting a kick out of a guy dressed as a dinosaur on a bike.”
Larson said the riders will meet at the Temple Bell Tower on Main Campus and will embark on a 12-mile ride to the Laurel Hill Cemetery.
“What most people don’t realize is that we actually ride through the cemetery,” Larson said. “It’s beautiful – most people wouldn’t expect it to be so scenic.”
Although the ride attracts experienced bikers, Larson said the route is also friendly to beginners.
“There are a minimal amount of obstacles, and everyone is easily able to dodge the buses,” Larson said. “For 12 miles in the city, there’s no real training.”
Though Larson said he plans to grab his costume, put on his helmet and meet at the Bell Tower, other bikers who may participate prefer a more extensive training regimen.
John Giordano, the 35-year-old founder of Big Blue Bridge, a technology consulting firm based in Philadelphia, is one of them. Giordano was able to learn more about the event
through the Halloween Bike Ride’s Facebook page.
“Long, strenuous bike rides and bicycle races are a very common event in my life,” Giordano said. “I always take the time to stretch patiently, drink plenty of water, before during and after the rides, and to pack a few Kind bars and energy shots in my jersey.”
Giordano said that a nervous, stiff or hungry rider can be a very dangerous one. Giordano began cycling when he was a little boy and became more competitive in his teenage years. Currently, he said that he is an amateur competitive cyclist.
“I ride and train at least three times a week on and off the road,” Giordano said. “Cycling is an incredible way to cross cultural and age borders. The Halloween Bike Ride seemed like an excellent activity to support here in Philadelphia and participate in wholeheartedly.”
Carolyn Thorn, a Temple alumna who majored in music therapy, hopes to participate in the Halloween Bike Ride as a way to stay connected to the university. Thorn also discovered the event through Facebook, like Giordano.
“I started cycling my sophomore year of college as a means of transportation,” Thorn said. “Not only am I interested in celebrating the holiday, but I am also interested in group biking.”
After graduating in May, Thorn said that she recently experienced a hit-and-run while biking. Though she said that the incident caused her to become more nervous while riding, she believes that this Halloween Bike Ride will help her overcome her fears.
“The Halloween Bike Ride should help my nerves in a community sense, and give me a chance to bike in a cape as Wonder Woman,” Thorn said. “I also think that it is important that I’m staying involved with the Temple community.”
Katherine Ament, a senior environmental studies major and outreach assistant for the Office of Sustainability, said that most participants should feel comfortable during the ride since it is medium paced and geared toward beginners.
Ament began biking her freshman year at Temple after attending an Urban Riding Basics course sponsored by Bike Temple. Since then, Ament has commuted every day from her homes in South Philadelphia and Fairmount for the past few years.
“I’ve done the Halloween Bike Ride for the past few years, and it’s really fun,” Ament said. “It’s really cool to see people around campus out of their work and school clothes. Some people even decorate their bikes.”
Larson said that the participants in the ride are a spectacle.
“It’s really an attraction for everyone—you get a ton of people watching,” Larson said. “The bikers are also really able to see the city.”
Larson said riders will pass by historic sites in Philadelphia like the Art Museum and Boathouse Row. Giordano said he will surely take advantage of the beautiful scenery and hopes that other participants will also.
“The Halloween Bike Ride seems like a great alternative to self destructive behavior people participate in by drinking excessively, causing mischief and standing around pretending to party on Halloween,” Giordano said.
“One thing we can all agree on is that a bicycle is a simple, cost effective and fun way to get around and see the sights of this incredible place where we live,” Giordano said. “Philadelphia is an incredible city filled with incredible diversity. I am looking forward to the ride.”
Sienna Vance can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org