Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Highlights from Ride for the River

On September 24, we teamed up with Sly Fox Brewing Company to host Ride for the River, a bike ride that took place on the Schuylkill River Trail while also benefiting the Schuylkill River Trail and gets people out on the trail. We had an amazing turnout, with over 300 cyclists participating in either a 16 or 40 mile ride. In addition to riding along a beautiful section of the trail, participants ended the day at  the Sly Fox Can Jam Festival with free live music, great food and, of course, Sly Fox beer! Here are some of the highlights.

We had great volunteers:
We assembled an incredible team of volunteers who kept the ride running smoothly all day long. They managed to keep check-in lines moving quickly, assisted with parking, helped cyclists through road crossings and refilled snacks at rest stops. We also had cyclists from the Bike Sport/Sly Fox racing team providing ride support throughout the day, and we were fortunate to have Tri County Bicycles offering free bike safety checks before the rides.

A rainy start but a pleasant ride:
Not sure if you can see the rain drops in the photo below, but I hope you can see the smiles. Just as participants lined up for the first ride (the 40-mile round trip ride to Reading and back) they were caught up in a sudden cloud burst. Fortunately, the rain stopped fairly quickly, but not before many riders were drenched. No matter, people maintained their good spirits and enjoyed the ride.  

A beautiful trail:
Many of the participants told us how much they enjoyed riding on the Pottstown-to-Reading section of the the Schuylkill River Trail. We were pleased to hear that. This is a section of the Schuylkill River Trail that our organization--the Schuylkill River Heritage Area--owns and maintains. We know it is among the most scenic sections of the trail, and we were happy to be able to introduce more people to it through Ride for the River.

It supported the Schuylkill River Trail:
In 2015 the SRT was named the Best Urban Trail in America by USA Today.  The proceeds from Ride for the River will enable us to make the trail even better.

The fun continued at the Sly Fox Can Jam Festival: All participants received a voucher for free Sly Fox beer and food at the Can Jam Festival. Many stayed to listen to the terrific live bands that played throughout the day.

We accepted a check from Sly Fox Brewery: A portion of the proceeds from Sly Fox's seasonal SRT Ale goes to support the Schuylkill River Trail. At the Can Jam Festival, Brew Master Brian O'Reilly presented our Executive Director Silas Chamberlin with a check for $4,711. We are grateful to Sly Fox for this very generous donation and we extend our thanks to everyone who drank SRT Ale this summer! This marks the second year in a row that Sly Fox Brewery has presented us with over $4,000 for the trail. That money goes toward our Safe Crossing program to make road crossings along the trail safer for trail users.

We raffled off a kayak!
Our goal in organizing Ride for the River is to help connect people to the Schuylkill River. A bike ride along the river is a great way to experience the beauty of this region. And so is kayaking! We raffled off a bright-red Emotion kayak throughout the Can Jam Festival. Congratulations to Rose Walters, whose name was chosen randomly from hundreds of raffle tickets at the festival. We wish her many happy hours paddling on the river!

We can't wait to do it again next year.
We surveyed ride participants and asked them if they would be likely to participate in Ride for the River next year. The vast majority, 95 percent, answered affirmatively. Many of them also gave us tips on what they'd like to see us add in coming years. We intend to take that advice to heart, and make this an even better ride next year!

Visit our website to learn more.