How to Go Cycling in Pennsylvania

by Aaron Charles
Pennsylvania supports both leisure and competitive cycling.

Pennsylvania supports both leisure and competitive cycling.

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In terms of cycling grounds, Pennsylvania has a prime estate. Published by the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, "The City of Philadelphia as it Appears in the Year 1894" says that when America's cycling history is written, it will be known that Philadelphia has had a leading position in what is now so popular a pastime: cycling. Within and beyond Philadelphia, you can find numerous Pennsylvania mountain biking and road cycling trails, bike tours and other opportunities to enjoy the Pennsylvania scenery.

Step 1

Choose your cycling style. Among Pennsylvania styles are mountain biking, road cycling, cyclocross racing, velodrome track racing, local or long distance touring, leisure riding and road racing.

Step 2

Choose your bike. Make sure the bike you have fits the cycling style you want. Some styles, such as mountain biking, are self-explanatory, but cyclocross, long distance touring and velodrome bikes are lesser known and have more particular features.

Step 3

Go mountain biking. The website American Trails (americantrails.org) lists at least seven mountain biking trails in Pennsylvania. Insure that your tires are properly inflated (correct pressure range noted on the tire). Your wheels will have more traction with lower pressure.

Step 4

Go road cycling. Nearly anywhere there's a road, you can ride. Pennsylvania law requires road cyclists to obey all road laws applicable to motorists. Riders can ride on any road (except freeways, unless given special permission) with the flow of traffic and as far to the right as possible. A higher tire pressure is best for road riding.

Step 5

Go touring. Numerous companies, such as Pedal PA Bicycle Touring (pedalpa.com), offer long or short distance cycling tours. You can also go on your own and choose your own route. The organization Bike PA (bikepa.com/routes) outlines several long distance routes that cover the state from east to west and north to south. Bike manufacturers offer a wide variety of touring bikes for serious riders.

Step 6

Try velodrome, cyclocross or other forms of racing. Velodrome cycling involves racing around a track with no brakes. Cyclocross is a form of racing that combines off-road cycling and running while carrying your bicycle. Road or mountain bike races take place on predesignated routes throughout Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Cycling Association (pacycling.org) maintains the latest updates about all of these forms of racing.

Step 7

Remember safety. State law requires that all children under age 7 wear a helmet. Anyone riding between sunset and sunrise must have a headlight and rear red reflector plus two yellow reflectors on each side. For road riders, no more than two may ride abreast.

References

Photo Credits

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