Events and Environment Attract Amateurs and Professionals
King of Prussia, Pa. -- Rolling hills, lush countryside, and the scenic Valley Forge National Historical Park are just some of the reasons Valley Forge and Montgomery County are favorite destinations for cyclists, both amateur and professional.
Fifty-five miles of interconnected trails, including 20 in the Park, let visitors exercise their freedom to explore history, leaf peep, discover local lore, and even trek down to Center City, Philadelphia.
Cycling events showcase the lightly traveled tree-lined roads in the rural northwestern end of the county. They include the River-to-River Heritage Bicycle Tour along historic Rt. 413; the annual Livestrong Challenge, which benefits the Lance Armstrong Foundation; and the upcoming September 17 Univest Grand Prix men's professional road race, sanctioned by USA Cycling.
This world-class race takes off from Souderton Main Street and traverses Bucks and Montgomery Counties. Early in the morning amateur riders of all ages and abilities can race the same classic route as the pros. The Cycloportif 100K provides tech support, feed zones, and even chip timing in a professional race environment. And its proceeds benefit the Penn Foundation.
At Valley Forge National Historical Park, the 6.6-mile paved Joseph Plumb Martin Trail provides the perfect picturesque path through this Revolutionary War icon, once the site of George Washington's pivotal winter encampment. It passes the Muhlenberg Brigade replica huts, the National Memorial Arch and the Grand Parade area where Baron von Steuben trained the troops. Bike rentals are available from late spring to early fall.
Some of the Park trails link with the 18-mile paved Schuylkill River Trail, which winds southeast through urban and suburban neighborhoods all the way to Center City, Philadelphia. The two-mile Audubon Loop takes cyclists to the wildlife sanctuary at John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove from the Perkiomen Trail.
The 20-mile mainly crushed stone path runs along the Perkiomen Creek and passes through Collegeville, Schwenksville, Spring Mount and Green Lane. Within Green Lane Park, a new 9-mile paved multi-purpose Green Lane Loop completely encircles the placid reservoir.
Montgomery County also boasts a community bike share program in historic downtown Pottstown that helps reduce traffic and promote exercise. About 30 bikes are available through Bike Pottstown at Tri County Bicycles Monday through Saturday until 5 p.m. The historic town's riverfront is visible from the Schuylkill River Trail, a great choice for a scenic autumnal peddle.
A hardcore adrenaline rush awaits enthusiasts at Launch Bike Park at Spring Mountain Adventures, open weekends until late fall. There's a new trail for beginners, but the 16 others, like Walt's Erector Set -- full of bridges connecting large boulders -- are for serious cyclists.
So whether it's an exhilarating ride, the challenge of a race or a scenic amble, cyclists can experience it all in Valley Forge and Montgomery County. For information on how to make a two-wheel adventure a weekend escape, visit www.valleyforge.org