Lehigh Valley Ride: Rodale Fitness Park

I was still craving more Trikke action after my exploration of Cedar Beach Park last Monday, so instead of doing more laps there, I headed to Bob Rodale Cycling and Fitness Park in Trexlertown.  I had biked here a few months ago, and it has been on my radar since then as a good riding place for the Trikke.
This trail is located across from the Lehigh Valley Velodrome on Mosser Road.  It has ample parking and porta-johns on site.  The trail is open from dawn to dusk, but sometimes is closed to the public for special events.  I have not yet located a schedule for these closures, but I believe they still run bicycle criterium races every Thursday night.
At all other times, you’ll find this to be one of the most delightful places to Trikke due to its unique design.  Although the Trikke friendly inner loop is a mere 0.6 miles long, the trail is very wide with individual lanes for walkers/joggers, inline skaters and bicyclists.  Traffic flows in one direction around the track; clockwise.  Because the Trikke moves at about the same pace as a skater, I selected the middle lane for my ride.  This layout almost eliminates the worries of being held up by slower traffic or by constantly having to watch your back for cyclists coming from behind.  That said, where the inner loop diverges and re-converges with the outer loop, it is necessary to check for upcoming bicyclists as you cross their path.  Due to the proximity to the velodrome, any bicyclists you encounter here are likely hardcore road racers doing 20+ mph, so safety is the key as you cross over.
The Rodale map describes the inner loop as “flat”, but whether you are on a bike or a Trikke you’ll likely disagree with this label.  From the starting point, it is a steady incline towards the southwest corner.  You get a slight breather around the corner itself before the trail climbs more significantly towards the northwest corner.  The level app on my iPhone showed this to be about a 3 degree incline, which for me is the maximum I’m able to handle right now.  From here, there is a short decline down to the junction where the inner and outer loop diverge.  Stay on the inner loop for a relatively flat ride back to the starting point.
The 1.3 mile outer loop lives up to its “hill” designation.  I have not attempted this on the Trikke, and would only recommend it to the most skilled and experienced riders out there.  I have biked it before, and it is a true challenge for me to get up it even using the so-called “granny gear”.
So if only 0.6 miles of this trail is Trikke friendly, why am I recommending it?  There are several good reasons.  As I mentioned earlier, you’ll likely have an unobstructed run in the roller blade lane.  Secondly, it is a great place to begin learning basic climbing techniques on the moderate inclines of the “flat” loop.  Finally, because of its short laps, you can vary your ride to whatever length fits your fitness level and mood of the day.
Because I had Trikked in Cedar Beach Park earlier in the day, I kept my ride here short.  It was a hot and humid day, so it was also pushing the limits of my endurance.  I did 5 laps for a total of 3 miles.  If you add the path to and from the parking lot the total ride was likely closer to 3.8 miles.  Despite that, I was able to complete 3 of those 5 laps without stopping on the inclines.  I was really proud of myself, because until last month’s Riding Clinikk in Philadelphia, I was rarely able to tackle even the smallest incline.
Overall this is a fun place to ride, and may be an ideal spot for some mid-week rides after work, provided it isn’t closed for a bicycle race.  I will continue hunting for this closure schedule so I can share it with you.

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