We tried to book passage on the train to take us 25 miles uphill (so we could ride down the whole way….) but it was full by the time we called. Once a month, starting in May, the train is full of cyclists and their bikes . This ‘Bike Train’ leaves the depot in Jim Thorpe at 9:30am and again at 12:30 pm and it drops the cyclists off 25 miles up the rail trail. Once the seed was planted — we were determined to make this happen. In the end, Beth decided to take a day off from riding and shuttle Leo, Randy and me to the summit (36 miles up the trail, not just 25 miles). There was a touring company dropping off about a dozen cyclists when we arrived at the summit. We were quick to unload the bikes and managed to hit the trail before they did.
It was fun, fast, easy riding as we sped down the trail. There were a few other folks that we passed in the first 10 miles but only a few. When we got to the trailhead where the Bike Train unloaded its passengers (and bikes) it was a ZOO!! There were novice riders in small and large groups everywhere! Our group stopped to use the bathrooms — and we took our places at the back of the long lines. The train passengers had arrived before us and apparently needed to use the facilities too. By the time we left there was an entire Bike Train of riders in front of us. I took it as a challenge to see how many of them I could pass (safely!) before getting back to Jim Thorpe. Some of the groups/families were scarier than others. In the end, we were able to pass all of them well before we got back to town. That’s even with numerous photo stops!
The route went through the Lehigh Gorge State Park and along side a river the entire way. The river was packed with rafts, kayaks and canoes. There were back boards at several spots along the trail which I assumed were for assisting in a river accident rescue (since I’ve not seen them on any of our land-locked rides).
We rode through a gorge and past numerous waterfalls. The gorge was nothing compared to Royal Gorge in Colorado, but it was still cool and the riding was a blast.
The path went right next to the active train tracks for quite a ways as we approached town. The rock work supporting the tracks looked like it was in need of attention and some parts looked like they could give way at any moment. Made me glad the Bike Train was sold out and that we did our own thing instead!
Close to town and the depot we saw a tunnel. I didn’t get a shot of the front side, but got a shot inside from the back side. Bike shoes are not recommended for walking/hiking on wet, slippery rocks so I didn’t venture inside the tunnel either.
Given it was a Saturday — the town was packed with people and crazy busy. We opted to get out of there as quickly as we could. Our escape route took us past the Jim Thorpe remains and memorial. He was an impressive athlete and I’m glad his life is being celebrated — but the whole story of how the city changed its name and put up this memorial still has me scratching my head.