RIP, Jerry Casale - Philly's Bike Race King

jerry casale

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.

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.