Third an­nual Ride the River draws hun­dreds

The Community Connection - - LOCAL NEWS -

POTTSTOWN >> The sun-filled fall day on Sept. 29 did not go to waste for the 300 bi­cy­clists that spent it out­doors on the Schuylkill River Trail as part of the third an­nual Ride for the River.

The day was just about per­fect with blue skies, sun­shine and tem­per­a­tures in the 70s which many would say was much needed af­ter the re­cent sum­mer of tor­ren­tial rains and flood­ing.

“We couldn’t have asked for bet­ter weather for the ride. The beau­ti­ful day al­lowed bi­cy­clists to truly en­joy the trail and see all the ef­forts that have gone into mak­ing it a recre­ational re­source for the re­gion,” said Schuylkill River Green­ways Na­tional Her­itage Area Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Elaine Paul Schae­fer. “We are very grate­ful for the many spon­sors and vol­un­teers who made this amaz­ing event a suc­cess.”

The Schuylkill River Green­ways NHA or­ga­nizes the an­nual ride which be­gan and ended at Sly Fox Brew­ery’s Can Jam Mu­sic Fes­ti­val in Pottstown.

The first wave of riders com­pleted a 40-mile route by trav­el­ing to Read­ing then re­turn­ing to Pottstown.

The sec­ond wave of riders did a 16-mile route where they stopped in Union Town­ship be­fore head­ing back to the mu­sic fes­ti­val. Demo­cratic con­gres­sional can­di­date Chrissy Houlahan, state Sen. John Raf­ferty, R-Mont­gomery and state Rep. David Maloney, R-Berks, came out to wish the riders well be­fore they headed out on their jour­ney.

Raf­ferty spoke about how the Schuylkill River and trail are im­por­tant re­sources for the com­mu­nity as well as the ef­forts that have been made to im­prove the wa­ter qual­ity of the river.

“I be­came very mo­ti­vated hav­ing been born and raised next to the Schuylkill River all th­ese years … to make sure I do ri­par­ian buf­fer leg­is­la­tion ev­ery year to pro­tect our wa­ter­ways,” Raf­ferty said.

The Schuylkill River Trail runs along­side the river and bi­cy­clists that par­tic­i­pated in the ride got to en­joy both at the same time.

“It’s re­ally a mes­mer­iz­ing sight to be on the trail and view the flow­ing river right next to you at the same time,” Schae­fer said who joined the 16-mile riders. “I was so ex­cited to be able to join hun­dreds of bi­cy­clists on a very scenic stretch of the trail and those that went to Read­ing got to ex­pe­ri­ence one of the largest fin­ished sec­tions we have to date.”

This year, the 40-mile riders stopped at the Berks Na­ture ed­u­ca­tion cen­ter in Read­ing. Ac­tiv­i­ties at Berks Na­ture and Ride for the River were both part of the third an­nual River Days se­ries which is or­ga­nized through the Al­liance for Wa­ter­shed Ed­u­ca­tion of the Delaware River.

The event se­ries takes place from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. It in­cludes a va­ri­ety of events through­out the re­gion that en­cour­age com­mu­ni­ties to ex­plore lo­cal trails, rivers and streams.

Ride for the River not only high­lights the trail and river but t’s also a fundraiser for the trail. There are cur­rently 75 miles of the Schuylkill River Trail com­pleted and it will to­tal 120 miles from Frackville to Philadel­phia when fin­ished.

Af­ter riders re­turned from their 16-mile or 40-mile cy­cling jour­ney, they were able to en­joy the free mu­sic fes­ti­val at Sly Fox Brew­ery. Sly Fox has part­nered with Schuylkill River Green­ways for the past three years by pro­duc­ing SRT Ale, an ale that ben­e­fits the Schuylkill River Trail.

Dur­ing the mu­sic fes­ti­val, Sly Fox pre­sented rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Schuylkill River Green­ways NHA with a check of $5,630 from the sales of this year’s SRT Ale. Sales from the beer have to­taled more than $18,000 and the money is used to sup­port main­te­nance and im­prove­ments to the trail.

The ale has been a sea­sonal of­fer­ing but at­ten­dees of the mu­sic fes­ti­val were the first to find out SRT Ale will now be avail­able all year long.

“We’ve de­cided that it’s such a great beer and we also want to make sure we con­tinue rais­ing money for the trail so start­ing to­day that beer is never go­ing to dry up again. It’s a year-round beer,” said Corey Reid, Sly Fox Brew­ing Com­pany sales man­ager.

Schae­fer along with Schuylkill River Green­ways board mem­bers Edie Shean-Ham­mond and Wendi Wheeler ac­cepted the SRT Ale do­na­tion check.

“Our mis­sion is to cham­pion the Schuylkill River wa­ter­shed and the com­mu­ni­ties in that wa­ter­shed which we do by bring­ing peo­ple to the river through the Schuylkill River Trail. We also in­vest heav­ily in wa­ter qual­ity. Sly Fox is an in­vestor in that part of our mis­sion as well be­cause clean wa­ter makes bet­ter beer,” Schae­fer said.

PHO­TOS COUR­TESY OF MIICA PAT­TER­SON

Hun­dreds of cy­clists start from Cir­cle of Progress Drive in Pottstown as they par­tic­i­pate in the 3rd An­nual Ride for the River on Sept. 29. The cy­cling event had a 16-mile and 40-mile op­tion along the Schuylkill River Trail.

Bi­cy­clists wear smiles as they be­gin a 40-mile jour­ney from Pottstown to Read­ing dur­ing the 3rd an­nual Ride for the River on Sept. 29.

A group wear­ing Bike­sport gear par­tic­i­pate in Ride for the River as bike sup­port vol­un­teers ready to help bi­cy­clists with me­chan­i­cal bike is­sues if needed. Ride for the River is an an­nual event that both high­lights the Schuylkill River Trail and raises funds to main­tain the trail.

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