More than 350 cyclists celebrated the fall season with bikes, bands and beer at the 4th Annual Ride for the River on Sept. 28.

The Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area organizes the fun, cycling event which takes place along a stretch of the Schuylkill River Trail between Pottstown and Reading.

The ride is held in conjunction with the Sly Fox Brewery’s Annual Can Jam Music Festival.

The round-trip ride began from Circle of Progress Drive in Pottstown, near the brewery, and ended at the same location. Participants crossed the finish line right next to the Sly Fox festival which featured eight hours of free, live music along with food and beer.

“The ride is very relaxed and not a race. People are able to enjoy beautiful views of nature and the towns alongside the Schuylkill River Trail while also supporting a regional resource,” said Schuylkill River Greenways NHA Executive Director Elaine Paul Schaefer.

“Ride for the River is an annual fundraiser to help build, improve and promote the Schuylkill River Trail,” she added.

Sly Fox Brewery makes a special “ale for the trail.” Every time someone purchases SRT Ale, a portion of the proceeds goes toward ongoing maintenance of the Schuylkill River Trail and signage.

Sly Fox presented Schuylkill River Greenways which a check for $7,763 during the 2019 Can Jam Music Festival which were the proceeds from this year’s SRT Ale sales.

Before Ride for the River participants relaxed at the music festival, they completed either a 16-mile or 35-mile route along the trail. With hundreds of participants, a variety of cycles were used during the event. The traditional two wheels weren’t the only way people joined this year’s journey along the Schuylkill River Trail.

From stand-up bikes to attached trailers, the 2019 Ride for the River participants showcased the diversity in cycling options available today.


Marie Haigh, of Pottstown, completed this year’s ride on her bike but with the addition of her 5-year-old son Malcolm attached in a trailer. Haigh said she’s always liked bicycling and when she had children, she had to figure out a way to still be able to enjoy the outdoor activity. She did some research and found that a trailer which attaches to the back of her bike suited her safety needs.

“It has a mechanism where it allows it to twist. The bike can twist over and the trailer stays upright,” Haigh said.

Haigh has been participating in Ride for the River since 2016 which was the first annual event. During that year, all three of her children joined her. Her two youngest children were in the attached trailer while her oldest daughter was on a standard tag along bike.

A tag along bike is also known as a co-pilot bike trailer. It can be used to teach children how to bicycle. The tag along attaches to an adult bike and is like a regular bike. It has a traditional bike seat, handlebars and pedals but only has one wheel. There are also recumbent trailer bikes which attach to an adult bike like a standard tag along does but has an actual chair with pedals instead of a bike seat.

Haigh home schools her children and they are often with her throughout the day. She said if there’s an activity she wants to do, such as bicycling, then she must figure out how to make it work with her kids which is why she uses the bike attachments.

“That’s what I love about it, the fact that I can take my kids with me,” Haigh said.


This year’s Ride for the River event even included cyclists who stood up the whole time. The stand-up Ellipitgo is exactly what it sounds like, an elliptical bike. At first glance, the cycling product may look like a scooter but upon closer inspection, the similarities to an elliptical are seen. An Ellipitgo is basically an elliptical exercise machine on wheels with handlebars. To move it, the person uses a running motion.

The Ellipitgo website list several benefits for the stand-up cycling device. It’s considered low-impact and gentle on the knees, hips, ankles and the back. Since people are in a standing position the whole time, they get a full body workout by engaging the core. The website also stated that the Ellipitgo is heart healthy.

It “burns 33 percent more calories than a traditional bicycle, providing a better workout in less time,” stated the site.


Several people at the ride were on three wheels instead of two. These types of bikes are known as recumbent tricycles or trikes. Users sit in a reclined position with their legs in front of them. This helps to distribute weight more evenly which prevents certain parts of the body from becoming overly stressed, according to the RAD Innovations company website. The company makes custom and adaptive cycling products.

Tricycles also provide more stability since there are three wheels. There is a handlebar next to each arm instead of a set in the front. Recumbent trikes are often used as adaptive cycles. People unable to use traditional bikes because of a disability or injury can often use a tricycle.

“Whether your back and knees just don’t bend the way they used to, or your balance isn’t what it used to be or your mobility is limited by conditions like paralysis, stroke, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s, a recumbent trike can be adapted to fit your unique needs,” stated the RAD Innovations website.


Electric bikes, often referred to as e-bikes, are becoming more and more popular. Ride for the River participants had the opportunity to view and test ride these bikes during this year’s event.

Trek Bicycle Pottstown provided the test rides along with bike safety checks during registration.

“The e-bikes that we sell are all pedal assist, meaning there’s no throttle,” said Jeff Adkins, store manager of Trek Bicycle Pottstown. “When you stop pedaling, the motor shuts off.”

The motorized bikes have several levels of assistance. Users can choose to keep it in the off mode, so it operates like a traditional bike. They also have the option to use assistance gradually from a little bit of help to a lot of help. Adkins said the motor becomes handy when cycling uphill.

Adkins explained that there are all types of e-bikes including full-suspension mountain bicycles and high-end carbon fire road race bicycles.

“Almost every type of normal bicycle has an electric pedal assist equivalent,” he said.

People interested in learning more about e-bikes are encouraged to take advantage of free test rides at Trek Bicycle.

“We’ve been trying to get anybody and everybody just to try them because it’s so hard to really convey how cool they are until you ride one and experience it,” Adkins said.

Whether on two wheels or three, standing or sitting, this year’s Ride for the River participants explored the Schuylkill River Trail with an exciting group ride. To learn more about Ride for the River and the trail, visit the Schuylkill River Greenways website at

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