Home > Uncategorized > Week 12: Ride the Perkiomen Trail

Week 12: Ride the Perkiomen Trail

Lower Perkiomen Valley Park Trailhead

Well, I have ridden on the Perkiomen Trail before, so this isn’t completely new. But on Sunday I rode on a piece I’d never tried, and I went with a friend I’d never biked with before, so that seemed to fit my mission of trying something different for the week. In any case, it was a chilly spring morning, so it definitely woke me up!

Here are ten things you might be interested in knowing about my experience:

1.  We started in Oaks: According to the Perkiomen Trail Website, the trail runs 19 miles from Oaks (where it connects with the Schuylkill River Trail) to Green Lane. I’ve ridden several sections of the trail in the past, each time starting from either Green Lane or Schwenksville. This time, we opted to start at the Lower Perkiomen Valley Trailhead, which is easily accessible from Route 422, and a good meeting point for my friend and I, who were coming from opposite directions. The trailhead was easy to find, well maintained and had lots of parking.

2.My sense of direction. If I’m being honest, I have to admit I haven’t actually got a sense of direction. So, of course, since I was leading, we headed in the wrong direction, which leads towards Valley Forge. Therefore, I’m grateful that there were signs posted along the trail that quickly informed us, after maybe half a mile, that we were not, in fact, en route to Collegeville.

3.Trail maps. The trail website has plenty of useful information, not the least of which was a trail map with distances to trailheads and towns.  For a variety of reasons, we knew we wanted a shorter ride. It was cool and breezy and we were definitely not doing the full 19 miles–and back. So we decided on a more manageable five-mile trip to Collegeville.

4. A word about my friend and I. I went with my very good friend Beth, who bikes so infrequently that she had to borrow her teenage daughter’s bike to accompany me on this adventure. We’ve known each other since college (so, you know, a few years) and we live an hour apart, so we try to get together a couple of times a year.  Beth, who is a runner and in very good shape, knows I’m an avid cyclist so she bravely offered to ride with me one morning.  I didn’t want her to regret her decision, so I tried to choose a trail that was not too difficult but still fun.  I feel like I definitely made the right choice. The gravel surface was sometimes rough, making it a bit hard to manage at times with my road tires, but overall, it was a pleasant place to ride.

We saw some beautiful wildflowers

5. About the trail. The Perkiomen Trail was built on an abandoned railroad  bed, so it’s kind of fun when you are riding on it to imagine what it was like when the trains went through there.  In any case, it is an interesting route, with a nice mixture of sceneries. It’s mostly treelined and woodsy, with some steep slopes along the sides of the trail, but we passed by some cute old houses and crossed a few streets before we came into Collegeville. It’s also a scenic trail, because it follows the Perkiomen Creek and offers some pretty views of the water. Despite being a chilly morning, there were quite a few other people on the trail, although it was never crowded.

This isn't us. I forgot my camera so I got pics off the Internet.

6. Riding with a friend. I love to bike–I almost always find it fun and refreshing and great exercise. I also love to talk and spend time with friends. So biking with a good friend is, for me, the quintessential activity, since I get to do two things I really enjoy at one time!

7. Collegeville. Possibly I was enjoying the talking part of this experience too much because we kind of wound up off the trail in Collegeville. Nevertheless, the short trek we took into a residential area was nice, and included an obvious trail connection.  But because of that I’m not sure what route the trail actually takes through Collegeville. Still, it was a nice stopping point and good spot to turn around.

8. The return ride. The way back was easier. I’m not sure why that was–perhaps the wind was less gusty, and there may have been a very slight downward grade. Or maybe we were just warmed up at that point. I usually think the first five miles of every ride is the most difficult, because it generally takes me about five miles to warm up.

9. Pizza. All good riding experiences end with good food experiences. After the ride we drove a short distance to a nearby shopping center (we probably could have biked there) and found a great little pizza place. We each ordered a slice and the food was very good. I never quite get used to being out in public in biking clothes and helmet hair, so it was nice that there weren’t too many people there!

10. We’re definitely doing this again.  Next time, we’re setting our sites on riding to Schwenksville, which is about 10 miles from the Oaks starting point.  We figure we’ll be hungry by the time we get there, so we’ll stop for lunch before turning back.  I think it will be a great 20-mile ride.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Alan MacBain
    May 6, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Ride into Schwenksville and have lunch at Mocchia’s in the old train station. They have a trail entrance off the porch dining area and the food is good. It’s an ice cream parlor as well so have some desert while you’re there, you can work it off riding back on the trail.

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