Well, it's not really the Trexlertown Turnpike. I began the day hoping that my sister, Betsy, and I would take our dad to the Great Allegheny Passage at Rockwood and ride about 12 miles to Fort Hill. But he said he was too tired to ride (he is 85) and I had kept him out late past midnight at the Pittsburgh Steelers' game.
|Pumping Station Road Entrance|
Betsy previously had expressed interest in riding the Abandoned Turnpike at Breezewood. Fresh off buying lights for her bike last week at the 25 Hours of Booty, we both drove to Breezewood.
|Entrance off Pumping Station Road|
It is not marked
I had my Trek Domane and a Trek MTB with me. The pavement on the Pike2Bike ranges from average to poor, with a lot of poor. All things being equal, I would choose a mountain bike over a road bike but it's not bad on a road bike. It's just better on fatter tires. However, since I had both with me it meant I had to leave one in the car so I chose to leave the MTB in the car instead of the road bike.
|Entrance off Pumping Station Road|
Entering from Breezewood, and after climbing the steep trail up to the start, you have your choice of four lanes of pavement, although it is often hard to tell. You start out in the left "lane" - that is where the entrance puts you. My experience is to ride the left lane to the Rays Hill (first) Tunnel. After exiting the tunnel, ride the left lane for a couple of miles but then switch over to the right lane before reaching the Sideling Hill (second) tunnel. After exiting the second tunnel, stay left. These are my suggestions only and know and there is no perfect line to follow.
|Eastern entrance to Sideling Hill (second) Tunnel|
I flatted after exiting the Sideling Hill Tunnel. I couldn't find any glass in the tire but there is a little bit of glass on the trail. I think it was probably a pinch flat from the rough pavement.
|Closest intersection to Pike 2 Bike|
Once out at the far end, we rode another mile just to see where the roads lead. Then we
turned around and went back.
|Exit of Sideling Hill Tunnel, looking west|
After our ride I drove to Trexlertown. The last couple of years, the cancer support group, Spokes of Hope, was at Trexlertown to honor pediatric cancer survivors. This year, the invitation did not come until Wednesday, so we scrambled to get participants, both big and small.
|Valley Preferred Velodrome|
I arrived at 3:30, we took some practice rides on the track at 4:00 p.m., coached by Cindi Hart. The kids stayed down (on the track). The grownups stayed up. Cindi ran us through some drills but in the end I think it was just the two of us.
After the practice ride I went on to over to the Bob Rodale fitness track. Three lanes: slow bikes on left, roller bladers in the middle, fast bikes on the right. What a great track to ride.
|Cancer Survivors and Warriors|
At 7:00 p.m. (scheduled) or 7:15 or 7:20 (actual) we were introduced to the crowd at the Valley Preferred Velodrome. We took 3-4 laps and the crowd cheered the entire time for the survivors and cancer warriors. It warmed my heart.
The races are a blast to watch, especially the Madison where teammates take turns and sling their partners ahead when they make the exchange. The German-Austrian duo of Marcel Kalz and Andreas Graf killed the field, lapping them in both the 50 and 100 lap races although American and local favorite, Bobby Lea, was not there.
My dear cousins, Stacey and Gary Gravina, came over from Phillipsburg, New Jersey to see me (or maybe just see the races). It was so great to see them and their boys.
|Barry and Stacey|
Abandoned tunnels in western Pa., velodrome in eastern Pa. - I'd say it was a good day.