Featured in a new guide called "Laini's Little Pocket Guide To Bethlehem," is a section entitled "Bicycle Heaven In Bethlehem." This section of the guide features photos and words by members of the Valley Mountain Bikers and provides a nice illustration of the healthy bike culture here in the Lehigh Valley...
(Reprinted with permission of Laini Abraham)
For the biking enthusiast, Bethlehem might as well be Heaven on Earth. Whether you like pedaling around town, conquering challenging trails or just cruising the suburbs to unwind, there’s a place for you and your bike here. But don’t take it from us – hear it straight from some of the most avid bicyclists around.
Anne Felker, Bethlehem Attorney
I like the easy independence of bicycling in Bethlehem. With my bike and a little equipment – fenders, panniers, decent lights – I have no need of a car to live a full life in this city.
I get where I want to go – to meet with friends at coffee shops, restaurants and pubs around Main Street and South Side. I ride to my Center Street office, City Hall and other work meetings, plus the college campuses, grocery or hardware store and the bank.
Biking in Bethlehem allows me to travel without the burden of finding a parking space and feeding the meter.
Bicycling allows me the most immediate experience of the day. I know from years of riding in every season that what looks like the worst of weather to a car driver – cold rain, blustery wind and even slushy snow – is when I am most content on my bicycle. I warm up quickly from the exercise and I feel great traveling by means of my own easy exertion.
Riding off road is an easy entry to nature both in and surrounding the city, whether along the paths bordering the Lehigh River and Monocacy Creek, or on the awesome trails in the surrounding mountains. Bicycling is my cheap and reliable thrill every day.
Onto the Beaten Path
Doug Pinkerton, President, Valley Mountain Bikers
Off-road adventures are immediately accessible from Bethlehem and can be combined with bike trips around the city to refuel at lively local restaurants, coffeehouses and bars – a two-wheel experience typically associated with such renowned cycling destinations as Denver or Portland.
The beginner-friendly Delaware & Lehigh trail, affectionately known as “the towpath,” connects Bethlehem with the Lehigh Valley’s other major cities, Allentown and Easton. Originally a path created for mules towing coal-carrying barges along the Lehigh Canal, this trail is full of history and features commanding views of the former Bethlehem Steel property. The towpath is relatively flat and is popular for cyclists, joggers and hikers alike. Pick up the towpath at Sand Island, near the southern end of Main Street. It’s approximately a 12-mile trip one way to reach downtown Easton if you head east. Allentown is about 5 miles west.
For the more skilled off-road cyclists, Walking Purchase Park features 10 miles of exhilarating singletrack. Built and maintained by the Valley Mountain Bikers, this is an advanced-rider trail network with challenging hills and extremely rocky terrain. Maps and directions are available at Valley Mountain Bikers web site: www.bikevmb.com.