Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

RIP, Jerry Casale - Philly's Bike Race King

This week brought sad news to the family and friends of Chestnut Hill's wonderful Jerry Casale, co-founder of the T.D. Bank Philadelphia International bike race.

RIP, Jerry Casale - Philly's Bike Race King

This week brought sad news to the family and friends of Chestnut Hill's wonderful Jerry Casale, co-founder of the T.D. Bank Philadelphia International bike race. According to Velo News, Jerry died Wednesday evening after a long battle with prostate cancer.

(That's Jerry on the right, with bike race co-founder Dave Chauner)

The last time I spoke with Jerry was three years ago, when it looked like money woes would sideline the annual bicycle race through Center City, Fairmount Park and, of course, Manayunk (where steep Levering and Lyceum streets were re-christened "The Wall"). You can read my column about it here.

Then, at the eleventh hour, funding came through. Jerry, whose best characteristic was his infectious joy, was over the moon with happiness and relief. So were were pro-bicycling fans and Philadelphians who couldn't imagine the city without an annual event that signaled the start of summer as surely as the first Eagles game signaled summer's end.

More coverage
 
Blinq: Peter Bergman, R.I.P.

Heartfelt condolences to all who knew and loved Jerry. And gratitude to Jerry, for the gift he gave Philly, year after year. Rest in peace, friend.

Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
About this blog

When my phone rings here at the Daily News, nine times out of ten the caller begins the conversation with, “Yeah, so what happened was…”.

Because this is Philly, the caller doesn’t say, “My name is Bob” – or Mary – “and I wonder if I could have a moment of your time?” Philadelphians are too direct for that. They just say, “Yeah, so what happened was…”, and then tumble into a tale they think oughta be shared with a wider audience. I love getting these calls (even the ones where it becomes clear, after 30 seconds, where the caller sowed the seeds of his own misery), because they give me chance to connect with fellow citizens in a way that no other job allows. Well, okay, no other job for which I’m remotely qualified.

That’s why my blog is titled “So What Happened Was…”. To me, it’s the quintessentially Philly way of saying, “Once upon a time.” When I hear it, I know a good story is coming. And I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Ronnie Polaneczky has been an award-winning columnist for The Philadelphia Daily News since 1999, offering a front-steps perspective on every aspect of city life, from the sublime to the stupid. In her past life, she was the editor-in-chief of Atlantic City Magazine, associate editor at Philadelphia Magazine and a fulltime freelancer published in Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Reader's Digest, Men's Health, MarieClaire and others. She lives with her husband, daughter and various pets in the city's Fairmount section, where she dreams of one day singing The National Anthem at an Eagles game. In addition to her column and blog, you can enjoy Ronnie's musings in podcast form here.


Read more from Ronnie Polaneczky at Earth to Philly, the Daily News blog on anything and everything "Green Reach Ronnie at polaner@phillynews.com.

Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
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